Scientific Method: What is it? Who Invented It?
What is the Scientific Method?
What do teachers always tell to include in a science experiment? They
tell stuff like the purpose, hypothesis, materials, procedure, etc. These are all parts of
the scientific method. The scientific method is learning science through observation and
experimentation. Before the invention of the scientific method, people used to make
guesses, could not prove or disprove any thing, and had vague theories. The scientific
method changed all that. That is why all these inventions are here.
The first step in the scientific method is to ask a question that you
will do the experiment to solve. The next step is to gather information, which you will
use to make a hypothesis. You predict what will happen in the results. Next, you do the
experiment, gather data, etc. After that, you draw a conclusion out of all your work, in
which you answer your question and find out if your hypothesis is correct. Lastly, you
report the results so that other people may verify your results as well as get the
knowledge that you learned during the whole experiment.
The difference between a hypothesis and a thesis is that a hypothesis
is a possible explanation to an event or a possible solution to a problem. It is based on
information gathered and is done before conducting an experiment. A thesis on the other
hand is an explanation of an event or a solution to a problem formed after many repeated
carefully controlled experiments' results are examined.
Who Invented It?
The credit of this important invention usually is given to Western
scientists such as Roger Bacon. However, the Muslims really invented it, perfected it, and
presented it to the West. Al-Biruni (d. 1050 CE), the Persian genius of the time perfected
it. He conducted precise experiments on laws of gravitation, momentum, and motion. Among
his successful experiments, were the most precise measurement of the specific gravity of
precious stones and metals, mathematical calculation of earth's radius, mathematical
determination of earth's solar orbit, and the measurement of the height of mountains by
seconds and degrees. He also discovered the First Law of Motion.
Ibn Sina (Avincenna) (d. 1037 CE) and other Muslims of the Islamic Era
relied on carefully constructed experiments to prove their theories. These developments
were made at the Bayt Al-Hikmat (House of Wisdom) in Baghdad, Iraq. Ibn Sina also made an
accurate description of the geological origin of mountains and was the first to construct
the theory of the formation of sedimentary rock. Ar-Razi (Rhases) (d. 925 CE) used the
scientific method to find out the most hygienic places in Baghdad to build hospitals by
hanging chunks of meat in different places. The place where the meat decayed the least
over a period of time was the place where the new hospital would be built.
Will Durant writes that the Muslim scholars "introduced precise
observation, controlled experiment, and careful records." George Sarton and Max
Vintejoux both describe the era of scientific achievement that started after the
development of the scientific method as a miracle.