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Discovery and Hypothesis-based Science Approach Essay

The article, taken from the New York Times on March 03, 2009, tackles about the possible reasons for an increase in land fires in Indonesia. It was a claim that tried to defy the common thinking that drought is usually the cause of these fires, and showed several evidences to prove it. Upon reading the whole article and the study itself, one can easily conclude that the scientists used the discovery approach. The researchers began collecting data for the sole reason of gaining a better understanding on the possible causes of land fires.

They did not formulate a hypothesis prior to data collection, nor did they think of draught as being the plausible cause. As a matter of fact, their first interpretation of their data is that low levels of rainfall correlates with increase chances of having wild fires. However, the results also show other significant data, on which the scientists draw their new conclusions from. It is then hypothesis based on the experiment already made. The researchers, in order to obtain just results, studied previous reports and cases of fires from the 1960’s to 2006.

Aside from obtaining the obvious results regarding the low amount of rainfall, they found out a big difference on fire outbreak on Sumatra and Kalimantan – that even though these islands experience the same amount of rainfall, fires became common in Kalimantan only during the 1980s. Further data led to the researchers to hypothesize that the increase of population during the 1980s posed a great threat to the environment, for the government started to switch to large agri-business, which tends to abuse the land and cause accidental fires.

Although the experiment did not use any control groups, I think that their case does not require one at all. The only possible question is whether the data they obtained were as accurate as possible. They mentioned that data obtained after the 1990’s were from fire-monitoring satellites, but those from the 1960s to the 1980s were merely from visibility records from airports. These can then be causes of discrepancies, since the method for data collection is not the same for all. Further more, what may be a fire signal for a fire-monitoring satellite may not be as such in the view from an airport.

Aside from these, the report and the scientific approach seemed to be done well. They were able to obtain results that would significantly change man’s outlook on the environment. Article 2. Theory and Experiment Meet, and a New Form of Boron Is Found In this article, published in the New York Times last February 4, 2009, a great discovery was mentioned and brought up to the world. It is the isolated or creation of a new kind of boron. This element, as the article explains, have been studied by many scientist for around 200 years.

Several boron compounds have come into existence, but it was only in 1909 where an almost pure, about 99%, boron was isolated. This then triggered the continuing study to locate other kinds of boron, such as what was done with carbon and hydrogen. In 2004, two researchers were able to produce a new kind of boron, one that is very stable and almost as hard as a diamond. It was done on super high pressure, and is very heat resistant and remains its hardness even after removing the pressure.

Although the facts seem to state that this is a discovery science, the presence of the history and previous studies suggest this to be a hypothesis-based approach. They knew before hand that it is possible for boron to undergo different forms, and that the first three was not as stable as it should be. With this under their belt, they proceeded into testing new variables that would create the super-stable boron. And by altering the pressure, they were able to do that. The experiment was simply straight forward, done independently by the researchers only with no sponsors or any product endorsement.

It was a simply experiment backed up by hypothetical information and theory from previous studies. The experiment was valid, since the product was also tested via several laboratory procedures to confirm its identity as boron. Computer-based crystallography analysis was also done to corroborate the stability of the element. As far as the experimental method and the results, the researchers were able to do a perfectly valid scientific experiment. Article 3. From Tons of Manure, a Growth Industry This final article, also from the New York Times newspaper, was published on March 1, 2009.

It is about how two researchers were able to convert their farm cow manure into something more efficient and useful. The whole project took about 8 years, and a $72,000 grant from the Agricultural Business Cluster for the Cowpots to be born. These are flower seeding pots made directly from the manure of cows. Today, the industry has bloomed to its fullest, being able to produce several pots and attaining the interest of many costumers. As suggested by the facts and figures above, the researchers used a hypothesis-based scientific approach in this project.

The mere fact that a grant was given means that a proposal was submitted to the grantor. It is then possible that within this proposal, the proponents of the project already outlined their possible hypothesis and even the methodology to attain answers to their problem. It is then a pre-planned idea, which began with a question and a hypothesis. Although the paper did not specify the exact procedure undertaken by the researchers in creating the Cowpots, the process seemed to be a combination of trial and error testing on the product’s ability to grow plants.

It is then possible that a company, particularly those that are from or connected in any way to the Agricultural Business Cluster, could benefit from the project itself. But nothing was explicitly said on the paper. In addition to this, the study also used control groups, particularly in testing their pots. They mentioned of side-by-side comparison with normal seeding pots. These are entirely valid, and are in fact a great way to test the effectiveness of their product. Works Cited All articles were obtained from the New York Times Newspapers dated March 03, 2009, February 4, 2009 and March 1, 2009.


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