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"What is Science?"

Written by Paul Sutter on Tuesday, 02 May 2017. Posted in From The Desk of...The Chief Scientist

Science is not a search for truth. That's not to say that science doesn't contain true statements. For example, the data returned from a measurement are facts about the world around us, and facts are generally considered true. But Truth with a capital T isn't usually encumbered by uncertainties, caveats, and incompleteness. A "data processing pipeline" sounds perfectly reasonable; a "truth processing pipeline" seems a little fishy.

So what is science? The best definition I can come up with is the following: "Science is a branch of philosophy that uses empirical techniques - and lots of mathematics - to understand the natural world."

Any statement made by scientific inquiry is falsifiable. That's what gives science its strength - the ability to be proven wrong at any moment allows the scientific worldview to be flexible enough to gain more perceptive insights about the world when new observations are made. And a statement that can become incorrect at a drop of a hat probably shouldn't be considered Truth.

About the Author

Paul Sutter

Paul Sutter

Paul Sutter is COSI's Chief Scientist. He is an astrophysicist and offers a wealth of knowledge about our universe. In addition to his COSI position, Paul Sutter is a Cosmological Researcher and Community Outreach Coordinator at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP).