# Derivations - What's Acceptable?

• BOAS
In summary, the conversation is about a student asking for clarification on whether they need to include derivations for all equations used in their paper or if it is sufficient to reference them. The student is concerned about the word count and wants to impress their lab instructor by showing their ability to derive equations from first principles. They mention using Snell's law to derive other relevant equations, such as the lens makers formula, for their experiment.
BOAS

## Homework Statement

Hello,

this isn't really a h/w problem that fits the template, but here seems the most sensible place to post.

I am writing a paper (not original research) and part of the requirements is that I include a "comprehensive discussion of the relevant theory (including derivations of equations)". The experiment I will be writing about makes use of the lens makers formula. I know how to derive this but the derivation makes use of the equation $\frac{n_{1}}{p} + \frac{n_{2}}{q} = \frac{n_{2} - n_{1}}{R}$.

This equation in turn relies upon snell's law, which I can derive from fermat's principle.

My question is this;

If the experiment doesn't make use of the other equations, is it necessary to show their derivations, or is it acceptable to merely reference them?

I don't want to make it sound like I'm hoping you'll say 'just reference them' - I would actually like to show my lab instructor that I can derive it from first principles but I am worried that it might be viewed as unnecessary/an attempt to boost the word count etc.

What do you think?

I would start from Snell's law and use it to show all other relevant equations.

## 1. What is the purpose of a derivation in scientific research?

A derivation is a logical and systematic process used to derive conclusions or equations from existing theories or principles. It allows scientists to build upon previous knowledge and make new discoveries.

## 2. How do you determine if a derivation is acceptable?

There are several criteria for determining the acceptability of a derivation, including logical consistency, clarity of assumptions and steps, and adherence to established scientific principles and theories. The derivation should also be replicable and have a clear and sound justification for each step.

## 3. Can derivations be subjective?

While there may be room for interpretation in some cases, derivations should be based on objective and well-established principles. They should also be supported by evidence and data, rather than personal opinions or biases.

## 4. Are there any limitations to derivations?

Derivations are limited by the accuracy and completeness of the assumptions and principles they are based on. They also rely on the validity of the data and evidence used. In some cases, simplifications or approximations may be necessary, which can also affect the accuracy of the derivation.

## 5. How important are derivations in the scientific community?

Derivations play a crucial role in the scientific community as they allow scientists to build upon existing knowledge and make new discoveries. They also provide a way to test and validate theories and principles, and help to ensure the accuracy and credibility of scientific research.

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