The Scientific Method is the process by which man seeks to understand reality, and is perhaps best viewed as a way of eliminating alternative explanations for natural phenomena. It is the thing that unites all sciences, however varied they may seem. Although imperfect, as any human enterprise is certain to be, it remains the most reliable method for understanding our world. As Albert Einstein said:
"All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have."
A distillation of the Scientific Method might be presented as follows:
- Observation - Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
- Hypothesis - Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
- Testing - Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
- Debate - Publishing results and presenting findings to peers in scientific papers and journals for review