The art of scientific investigation by W. I. B. Beveridge, free PDF book

The art of scientific investigation by W. I. B. Beveridge, free PDF book

The art of scientific investigation by W. I. B. Beveridge, free PDF book


I. Preparation Study I Setting about Problem 8 II. Experimentation Biological experiments 13 Planning and assessing experiments 19 Misleading experiments 23 III. Change Illustrations 27 Role of chance in discoveries 31 Recognising chance opportunities 34 Exploiting opportunities 37 IV. Hypothesis Illustrations 41 Use of hypothesis in research 46 Precautions in the use of hypothesis 48 V. Imagination Productive thinking 53 False trails 58 Curiosity as an incentive to thinking 61 Discussion as a stimulus to the mind 63 Conditioned thinking 64 VI. Intuition Definitions and illustrations 68 Psychology of intuition 73 Technique of seeking and capturing intuitions 76 Scientific taste 78 VII. Reason Limitations and hazards 82 Some safeguards in the use of reason in research 86 The role of reason in research 92 VIII. Observation Illustrations 96 Some general principles in observation 98 Scientific observation 102 IX. Difficulties Mental resistance to new ideas 106 Opposition to discoveries 1 1 1 Errors of interpretation 1 1 5 X. Strategy Planning and organizing research 121 Different types of research 126 The transfer method in research 129 Tactics 131 XI. Scientists Attributes required for research 1 39 Incentives and rewards 142 The ethics of research 1 45 Different types of scientific minds 148 The scientific fife 151 Appendix I 60 Bibliography 169 Index 175

Review by  Maven Raven
a great overview of the reality of scientific work
The way scientific work and scientists are portrayed to the general public is grossly mistaken. This book provides the perspective of an insider who also cites many works written by others (as it is a good custom of scientific writing).

Science is not about the glory of discovery and the hoarding of knowledge even though these things matter to some degree. First and foremost it is a weird combination of great frustration and great joy that needs to be balanced. The joy comes from the freedom to play with and to investigate natural phenomena but the frustration comes from the many uncounted failed attempts to figure out why certain things are the way they are. Most scientists will probably never have a big discovery. The book gives advice on how to approach research to improve the conditions that may lead to meaningful discoveries. But in the end, there is always some luck involved.

The book also gives insight into some of the greatest scientific minds like Newton who - despite their exceptional academic achievements - still struggled with self-doubt. The book also emphasizes the importance of talking to fellow scientists about scientific matters but also about scientific practice and daily frustration. It is far too easy to be caught in one's perspective.

It's a pity that I didn't read this book earlier. It would have given me a better perspective during my Ph.D. There is a lot of valuable advice in there.

The original book was first published in 1950 and revised in 1957. It does not take into account the influences of the digital world that has emerged since then. But despite its age, it is still extremely relevant to today's scientists and will probably stay relevant for a long time, even if the artificial intelligence singularity should happen soon.
Author: W. I. B. Beveridge

Publication Date: 1950 copyright  - this copy is1957

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