Article Title

Scientists as People


From our first course in science, we begin to learn about the "scientific method" as if it were some sort of magical technique. We are told that a scientist must first make observations, then formulate an hypothesis, design and conduct experiments to test the hypothesis (to test it, not to prove it), construct a theory supported by adequate experimental or observational proof, and finally, if there is adequate support from many sources of evidence, add another principle to the discipline. Yet there are few, if any, scientists in my experience who think much about such a structured procedure in their work. The so-called scientific method is more often found in general textbooks than as a consciously utilized technique.

Note on the Author

James Brennan is chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences.