Science is in the news every day. You’ll hear about the discovery of a new organism, of a new food to help you stay healthy, or new information about the way in which atoms and molecules act. You’ll also learn of inventions that use scientific discoveries to build technology: smartphones, medicines, and genetically modified food. Science and technology touch every aspect of our lives, but a lot of us don’t really understand why scientists believe what they believe. Even worse, sometimes it appears that a discovery announced one month is contradicted by another announced the next!
Scientists spend many years studying their disciplines, getting to the point where they know more than anyone else in the world about a very specific subject. You can’t get that kind of understanding by reading a few blog posts, but you can get an idea of how science works—of why it’s different from other ways of learning about the world. That will help you understand why scientists are very confident about some conclusions at the same time as they question other ones. That will help you with the decisions about technology and science that you need to make today—decisions that will be even more common and more important in the future.
This series of blogs is designed to introduce the process of science, to outline why it has been the most successful tool for understanding the world, and to explain how scientists gather evidence and support their arguments. Even if you never walk into a lab or make calculations, you can use the techniques of science to organize your own thoughts and help yourself make well-grounded decisions.
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If you’d like to understand science, and you’re just getting started, or you think it’s beyond your reach, this site is for you. We’re also putting up resources specifically to help K-12 teachers help their students understand the foundations of science — making it easier for students to make sense of specific science content all through their careers.