© 2009

Critical Appraisal of Physical Science as a Human Enterprise

Dynamics of Scientific Progress


Part of the Science & Technology Education Library book series (CTISE, volume 36)

About this book


The objective of this book is to reconstruct historical episodes and experiments that have been important in scientific progress, and to explore the role played by controversies and rivalries among scientists. Although progress in science has been replete with controversies, scientists themselves either ignore or simply downplay their role. Such presentations lack the appreciation of the dynamics of ‘science-in-the-making’. This book provides methodological guidelines - based on a historical perspective of philosophy of science- that facilitate an understanding of historical episodes beyond that of inductive generalizations. These guidelines suggest that progress in science is not merely based on the accumulation of experimental data, but rather dependent on the creative imagination of the scientific community. This work shows that interpretation of experimental data is difficult and inevitably leads to alternative models/theories thus facilitating the understanding of science as a human enterprise.


alternative interpretations of data dynamics of scientific progress historical reconstructions philosophy of science quantum mechanics role of controversies and rivalries science science as a human entreprise scientific progress

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Epistemology of Science Group, Department of ChemistryUniversidad de OrienteCumanáVenezuela

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

“The book is organized in 14 chapters and includes references, an author index and a subject index. … The book does an excellent job in brining to the foreground the complexity that surrounds the development of ideas in science. … Overall, the book is a valuable contribution in illustrating a face of science that is often ignored. … The book will be useful for academics, researchers and students in history, philosophy and education of science.” (Sibel Erduran, Science & Education, June, 2010)

“This 14-chapter book devotes 10 chapters to historical episodes of scientific discovery and theory development in the physical sciences. … for students of history and philosophy of science (HPS) and science education, this volume reports on important physical science episodes in the application of HPS to science education. … Niaz’s monograph is a good source for gaining insights into how history of science influenced philosophy of science.” (Richard A. Duschl, Studies in Science Education, Vol. 47 (1), March, 2011)