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How did these old scientists do it?





likeabreeze
Sometimes, when I encountered a term named after a person's name, I would search it, and over and over again, I found that many of the scientists actually came from 19's...
It's really amazing that they made discoveries of many small things, like the gravity, bacteria...
For example, Hans Christian Gram developed the technique Gram Stain, which is now a standard procedure in medical microbiology....and everybody is using it....
Well, I find myself trying hard to learn what these old scientists created, which is not a good feeling, just like eating others' leftover...
though nowadays we have powerful computers, telephones....we ordinary people(not scientist) still can't do what these old scientists did in the past....
it's a little bit frustrating...
Ankhanu
What the hell are you talking about? We're making new discoveries all the time, just like they did.
Afaceinthematrix
The "old scientists" figured stuff out the same way that "new scientists" figure stuff out.



This method has been around quite a long time and it has a proven track record of producing results. It has been modified slightly over the years but still has the same idea. I think that the first scientist was a dude named Ibn al Haytham who was doing work in Optics more than a thousand years before.

Before that, scientists weren't really scientists because they didn't use a scientific method. They figured stuff out other ways.
ocalhoun
In a way, scientists back in the day had one advantage... There was more left to discover.
The one major change is that new discoveries are requiring more and more manpower and equipment... it isn't the kind of thing you can do by yourself in a basement anymore. (mostly)

In the early days of it, you could make new discoveries about electricity while playing around with just a few simple components... but now, if you want to make new discoveries about how electricity works, you'll need a huge and very advanced lab. (As well as an extensive education in what everybody before you has found out.)
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

Before that, scientists weren't really scientists because they didn't use a scientific method.

This, I'll disagree with.
I'd define science as the rational study of the world around you, and while it is aided by using rigid methods, that's not an absolute requirement.

Without using strict methods, scientists can be misguided sometimes... but I'd say even bad science is still science. -- Still making an effort... and that counts for something.
likeabreeze
ocalhoun wrote:
In a way, scientists back in the day had one advantage... There was more left to discover.
The one major change is that new discoveries are requiring more and more manpower and equipment... it isn't the kind of thing you can do by yourself in a basement anymore. (mostly)

seems quite reasonable..
_AVG_
One relevant point here is that with our computers, calculators and advanced technology etc. perhaps we are using our brains less (or at least some of us may have become a bit lazy). Scientists in older times exercised their mental muscles more ... that said, some of us who still exercise the mental muscles are doing good work even today Smile
Ankhanu
I'm not sure that's so true... I mean, yes, I used computers in my research, but, the time savings that it offered allowed me to pay attention to more content relevant information. Yes, I could have taken a couple more weeks to spend time on calculations, but, the statistical calculation process just wasn't important to me understanding or undertaking my research... I needed the result of the calculation, not the calculation. Less time calculating means more time thinking about what is calculated, and what that means.

The computer is a tool, it's not really helping us think, nor hindering.
Iceaxe0410
It's a progressively more complex field. The more discoveries and experiments that are done increases the amount of information to shift through. Even with computers and specialized equipment, the amount of information and time put in keeps on growing. There's also the issue of how information gets distributed. Generally, the most well known scientists are documented because of their past accomplishments which takes a bit of time. Not all scientists are immediately recognized for their inventions, experiments, or concepts. These things take time to travel down to the populace, sometimes generations of people. They need to build up a reputation in order to be recognized. That doesn't always happen overnight. The scientists you read in textbooks have already gone through that process and all their work has been documented, looked at, verified, rejected, or unverifiable with current technology.
chatrack
old days science we study in primary class today,, because they are not at all complex. As time passes science study have become more complex and need more time to get ahead. so it is not because of the ability of the scientists.
Josso
Agree with Ank's post up top but otherwise tl;dr

Just came in to point out only major difference is compartmentalisation. Also the gap between civilian and military science are more distant from each other now imho.
ocalhoun
Josso wrote:
Also the gap between civilian and military science are more distant from each other now imho.

In some things yes... there is little civilian use for developing a mach 6 rocket or railgun...

But in other areas the two work very closely together, nearly inseparable. (My old field, radar electronics, is a good example there -- the military and civilian equipment for that is identical, and they work closely together to develop new models. ... And in fact, the military and civilian branches there are moving closer together, where they used to be entirely separate.)
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