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CHEM 1500 (14)
Chapter 1


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York University
CHEM 1500
Valeria Tsoukanova

CHEM CHAPTER 1: MATTER - ITS PROPERTIES AND MEASUREMENT 9/9/2012 11:26:00 AM - by manipulating materials in their environment, people have always practiced chemistry earliest examples: pottery, smelting ores to produce metals, tanning of ides, dyeing fabrics, making cheese, wine, beer, and soap, etc. - today with modern knowledge, chemists can decompose matter into its smallest components (atoms) and reassemble those components into materials that do not exist naturally and often exhibit unusual properties modern chemical knowledge is needed to understand the processes that sustain life Also to understand and control processes that are detrimental to the environment (ex: formation of smog and the destruction of ozone) - chemical knowledge is grounded in principles and theory - scientific progress depends on the way scientists do their work asking the right questions, designing the right experiments to supply the answers, and formulating plausible explanations of their findings We must begin by taking a closer look into the Scientific Method. The Scientific Method 9/9/2012 11:26:00 AM - scientific knowledge can be used to explain natural phenomena and at times predict future events - the scientific method originated in the 17hcentury with people such as Galileo, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, etc. - the key to the method is to make no initial assumptions rather to make careful observations of natural phenomena when enough observations have been made and a pattern begins to emerge a generalization or natural law can be formulated describing the phenomena - natural laws are concise statements, often in mathematical form, about natural phenomena Example: astronomer Nicolas Copernicus concluded the Earth revolves around the sun in a circular orbit though careful study of astronomical observations even though the belief at the time was that the sun and other heavenly bodies revolved around Earth - the form of reasoning where a natural law or general statement is made based on a set of observations is called induction - the success of a natural law depends on its ability to explain, or account for, observations and to predict new phenomena Copernicuss work was successful because he was able to predict future positions of the planets more accurately than his contemporaries this is not always the case - Thus, we should not think of a natural law as an absolute truth future experiments might require us to modify the law Example: Copernicuss idea was refined half a century later by Johannes Kepler who showed that planets travel in elliptical, not circular orbits - to verify natural law, a scientist designs experiments that show whether the conclusions deduced from the natural law are supported by experimental results The Scientific Method Illustrated (page 3) - A hypothesis is a tentative explanation of a natural law. If a hypothesis survives testing by experiments, it is often referred to as a theory. - A theory is a model or a way of looking at nature that can be used to explain natural laws and make further predictions about natural phenomena the theory with the smallest number of assumptions (the simplest theory) is preferred - over time as new evidence accumulates, most scientific theories undergo modification and some are discarded - the scientific method is the combination of observation, experimentation and the formulation of laws, hypotheses and theories - paradigm when scientists develop a pattern of thinking about their field - paradigm shift some paradigms may be successful at first but then become less so later on When that happens, a new paradigm may be needed, this is referred to as a paradigm shift occurring - some scientists believe that the scientific method itself is a paradigm and it too is in need of change they believe this because they feel activities of modern scientists are more complex than the simplified scientific method presented here following a set of procedures (like using a cookbook) will not guarantee scientific success - another factor in scientific discovery is chance - many discoveries in science have been made by accident scientists and inventors need to be alert to unexpected observations
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