Experiments, Facts, Hypotheses and Theories

Editors, Environment

Abstract


One frequently hears it stated that "An ounce of fact is worth a ton of theory," the observer generally not understanding that the men who postulate the theory are necessarily aware of the facts. When a lot of experi-mental evidence has been collected with regard to certain events, we may become so convinced of the correctness of our observation of the effect of certain causes operating that a law is formulated, or the results may be stated as a "principle". Take, for instance, Boyle's law: The volume of a given mass of gas is inversely proportional to its pressure, provided that the temperature be coustant. We kuow that this is not perfectly correct for all conditions of pressure and temperature, and that later experiments have shown us modifications even at customary temperatures and pressures. But within the usual order of accuracy with which we are concerned, if we double the pressure on a gas without ehanging its temperature or letting any escape, its volume is halved; and so on.

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