Introduction to Behavioral Physics: Activity
The history of science is largely coextensive with the history of measurement. Theory existed from the time humans first began to reason, but knowledge accumulated very slowly. The supremacy of theory often led to static dogma. Subordinating theory to experience was the critical epistemological development giving rise to science and the resulting explosive increase in new knowledge. Experience is gained through the senses; we learn by observing, listening, touching, tasting, and smelling. Instruments often quantify experience into standard units of measure. Instruments can extend the senses into new domains. The telescope allows us to see farther than possible with the naked eye. The microscope allows us to visit the world of the exceedingly small. High speed cameras and lasers allow us to slow down time so that we can study sequences of events that appear instantaneous to the unaided eye and ear. Time lapse photography allows us to better appreciate dynamic changes that take place very slowly. X-ray, computed axial tomography (CAT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) scans allow us to visualize the insides of live beings without surgery. Chemical analysis of blood and other specimens has greatly advanced our understanding of disease to the modern point where disease is thought of in terms of laboratory measurements and the results of physical examination. Examples could be continued at greater length but by now the point should be crystal clear; our present scientific understanding of many phenomena is critically dependent upon instrumented measurements. Consider what the state of contemporary science education would look like if all knowledge based upon instruments were stricken from existing textbooks.
KeywordsStandard Unit Free Play Just Noticeable Difference Serial Dependency Mean Square
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