Ever since I was in grade school, I memorized the scientific method and knew that it was the only way to do any type of experiment. First, you had to make an observation on something, next was to identify the question and then to come up with a hypothesis. Then the data gathering would proceed and the experiment would end by drawing the analysis and conclusions. All those things make science seem like a strict process that must be done step by step and in order. However, Percy Bridgman was able to debunk that belief made by non-scientists by telling us that there is no limitation in science; there is not one particular way on how to do science.
In his essay, Percy Bridgman gave me three new insights on science and scientists. First, I learned that science is always goal-oriented. All scientists perform experiments and studies with a certain goal in mind, whether it’s to prove that they’re correct or just to feed their curiosity. In the essay, it states that all scientists have one thing in common and it’s that “they are all trying to get the correct answer to the particular problem in hand.” Just like anyone that’s involved with a problem, there is a solution that is being sought out for. Doing science is the same in the way that it starts with a question or problem at hand and ends with a new insight from finding the solution.
The next insight I gained was that science is the pursuit of truth. When you solve a problem, debunk a belief or prove one, it’s all through finding the truth in a situation. For something to be correct and relevant, it must be something that is true.
The essay says “If the answer to a problem is correct there must must be some way of knowing and proving that it is correct—the very meaning of truth implies the possibility of checking or verification. Although what may be true to one may not be true for another, Bridgman highlights that for a scientist, he must check the results for himself if he does want to make sure it’s true. This leads me to my last insight. A scientist has the freedom to do what he believes should be done. According to the essay, a scientist is the enemy of all authoritarianism. This means that a scientist can do what they personally want to do. It is not dictated on to them by someone else.
I believe that this is what makes science so interesting because the possibilities in science are definitely limitless, just as the ways to do science are. In the essay’s concluding statement, Bridgman tied up the whole point of science as something goal-oriented, true and free very effectively. He was able to change my opinions about science as a rigorous and tedious process into one that is exciting and has various ways to do it.