Most abused word in Science?

  • Thread starter dipole
  • Start date
  • #1
538
148
What single word do you think is used in the widest range of contexts giving it many different meanings and leading to all sorts of possible confusion?

I'd vote on the word "phase".
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
Proof.

I win.
 
  • #4
22,089
3,289
The scientific word that is most abused by non-scientists has got to be "quantum". We have quantum healing, quantum bracelets, quantum touch, quantum sounds, etc. None of these things has anything to do with quantum physics.
 
  • #5
100
2
The scientific word that is most abused by non-scientists has got to be "quantum". We have quantum healing, quantum bracelets, quantum touch, quantum sounds, etc. None of these things has anything to do with quantum physics.
Yes, but it's only a phase. :devil:
 
  • #6
4,465
72
"could" is the most beloved/abused word by alarmists. If X is true, the world, as we know it, 'could' be destroyed.
 
  • #7
arildno
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
9,970
132
Flappers is right. It doesn't win, though, due to unwinworthiness.
 
  • #8
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,847
4,669
"Theory"

Zz.
 
  • #9
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
Oh god, after reading the responses I think it's like asking which of my tomatoes in my garden looks the worse. How do you even pick a winner?
 
  • #10
22,089
3,289
Oh god, after reading the responses I think it's like asking which of my tomatoes in my garden looks the worse. How do you even pick a winner?
I don't think that they even qualify as tomatoes. So the question is void.
 
  • #11
Dembadon
Gold Member
624
89
What single word do you think is used in the widest range of contexts giving it many different meanings and leading to all sorts of possible confusion?

...
"Science."
 
  • #12
Chi Meson
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
1,789
10
"Theory"

Zz.
I'm on record agreeing with this. We ought to ditch "theory" altogether since even scientists regularly use this to mean "conjecture" or "hypothesis."

Second place is "centrifugal force." Yes, I'm one of those guys.
 
  • #13
178
0
The scientific word that is most abused by non-scientists has got to be "quantum". We have quantum healing, quantum bracelets, quantum touch, quantum sounds, etc. None of these things has anything to do with quantum physics.
Hmmm. Interesting Micromass. I’m not sure from where you get the idea that the word ‘quantum’ is the exclusive preserve of science. The quantum of money, for example, is the penny, or the cent, or whatever is the smallest unit of money in your neck of the woods. The quantum of computer data, notwithstanding the Quantum Computer which is, I understand, something else all together, is the bit. I’m not convinced that the terms you refer to ever intended to bask in the reflected glory of the world of the quantum as referenced by physical science.
 
  • #14
176
3
Energy. I have yet to meet a non-scientist who can define it in any meaningful way.
 
  • #15
42
0
Quantum! I have seen so many books and articles that say quantum has to do with peace or love or the meaning of life.
 
  • #16
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
I’m not convinced that the terms you refer to ever intended to bask in the reflected glory of the world of the quantum as referenced by physical science.
A fun past time in PF chat is finding all sorts of examples online of people doing just that, unfortunately.
 
  • #17
499
2
Energy. I have yet to meet a non-scientist who can define it in any meaningful way.
I agree with this because this word actually has a myriad non-technical definitions. Just like power, force, et al.
 
  • #18
Containment
Breakthrough every time I see this word used on a "new discovery" I'm like yeah right...
 
  • #19
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,426
562
quantum is good, but i am disgusted every time I hear I hear an engineer say "if we develop this technology, it will be a quantum leap"....
 
  • #20
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
quantum is good, but i am disgusted every time I hear I hear an engineer say "if we develop this technology, it will be a quantum leap"....
Maybe they're just being super honest and know their technology will only be a super small jump in technology :)
 
  • #21
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,221
192
I'll turn the tables for a moment since that's what I do.

Most abused in S&D... evidence. Scientific evidence is not the only form of evidence. Many times people will say there is no evidence for something, when there is, and sometimes a good bit of it, but there is no scientific evidence. The assumption here that we mean "scientific evidence" is understandable, but for the sake of accuracy, which is what this site is all about, I always felt the distinction should be made clear. I also see this error of omission applied in a wide variety of sceptical arguments generally.
 
  • #22
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2019 Award
16,536
6,902
nano - <ANYTHING>
 
  • #23
2,479
99
"Truth" as in promoting or even just implying that there are scientific concepts,theories,models and so on which are absolute immutable truths.
 
  • #24
77
0
quantum is good, but i am disgusted every time I hear I hear an engineer say "if we develop this technology, it will be a quantum leap"....
I always thought of that phrase as meaning our knowledge will grew as much as it did on the discovery of quantum mechanics. It will leap forward as much as it did with quantum mechanics.
 
  • #25
super as in super-conducting-super-cooled-super-super-heated-super-fluid-super-solid-super-symmetric-super-collider :rolleyes:
 

Related Threads on Most abused word in Science?

Replies
8
Views
807
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
57
Views
11K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
19K
Replies
24
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
4K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
483
  • Last Post
2
Replies
41
Views
8K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
44
Views
4K
Top