Tall Giraffes and Hot Coffee

In science education the concept of a physical quantity is so basic that it is rarely defined explicitly, and students’ understanding of the concept is usually taken for granted. The even more basic concept of a physical quality is discussed more rarely still, but it is an interesting exercise to unpack and explore these concepts to gain a deeper understanding of what are, after all, some of the foundational ideas in science. Continue reading

Probability and Scientific Values

Science is often described as having a set of values or rules that guide the scientist in their quest for knowledge. Through history the great figures of science, from Aristotle to Bacon, Galileo and Descartes, to Einstein, Feynman and Sagan, have championed these values. These are used to justify the methods and reasoning that scientists use to understand the world, but this leads to the question: what is the justification for these values themselves? Continue reading