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Science or invention, which has contributed most to human comfort?

  1. Nov 24, 2007 #1

    wolram

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    Science or invention, which has contributed most to human comfort?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2007 #2
    Well, since one can be thought of as the bastard child of the other it's kind of hard to seperate them in this sort of question. Where does one start and the other begin?
     
  4. Nov 24, 2007 #3
    Is there a difference?
     
  5. Nov 24, 2007 #4
    Science itself doesn't contribute to human comfort, it's the inventors application of science that does. Without science at even the most primitive level, there would be no inventions. As science gets more complex, so do the inventions.
    I agree, invention is the bastard child of science.
    But as far as bastard children go, it's my favorite child.
     
  6. Nov 24, 2007 #5

    mgb_phys

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    As an experimental physicist I always thought that science was a by-product of new inventions :tongue:
     
  7. Nov 24, 2007 #6

    Danger

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    Kind of a weird scenario, the way that I see things.
    No invention can work unless the science behind it is sound, but the inventor doesn't have to be aware of that science.
    In that light, I would vote for invention. Things like fire and the wheel predated any formalization of science.
     
  8. Nov 25, 2007 #7

    wolram

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    Very well put Danger, there may be a wealth of science behind an invention, but the inventor is not aware of it, for instance was the steam engine invented with the use of science or was it a progression of improvements by inventors?
     
  9. Nov 25, 2007 #8
    Science as defined by Webster's Dictionary
    Whether an inventor wants to admit it or not, even chipping out the first wheel required "the state of knowing" how to do that. Simply testing to see that a round object will roll fulfills "knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method". Therefore knowing that round objects can roll and chipping out a wheel is "a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws".

    This means that by definition, science was required to invent the wheel.
    Simply because it's not formalized science doesn't negate the fact that it is still science.
    So in my opinion: There can be no inventions without science, only discoveries.
    Although, science has played a major roll in discoveries too.
     
  10. Nov 25, 2007 #9
    Um...isn't this thread going off-track, or has it been decided that inventions have contributed the most to human comfort(whatever that may mean:uhh:)?
     
  11. Nov 25, 2007 #10

    wolram

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    Last edited: Nov 25, 2007
  12. Nov 25, 2007 #11
    At the most primitive level defined by Webster, I hate to say it but the answer would be yes. And then some people have also defined an abacus as a primitive computer. I realize how these things might hurt your ego, just like a professional wrestler watching Animal Planet and hearing them call a monarch butterfly an athlete. The problem is in the definition of what is science.

    It is said that if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it then it doesn't make a sound. I disagree with that and say that sound and sound waves are one in the same, so since it produces sound waves then it does make a sound. Noise on the other hand is personal opinion, so I say it doesn't make a noise. My problem is in the definition of what is sound.

    Now I've learned to live with what I disagree with, the established definition of sound is not my choice. I also feel insulted to think they define science as simply "the state of knowing". Now if you want to use your own definition of science then that's up to you, I have to again restrain my ego and accept the established definition.



    All I am saying is that you can't have one without the other.
    I'm standing on what I said the first time.
     
  13. Nov 25, 2007 #12

    Chris Hillman

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    Mathematics is the servant of physics (and the other hard sciences), which is the servant of engineering, whose purpose is technological innovation, which benefits civilization, whose purpose is--- to do mathematics!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2007
  14. Nov 26, 2007 #13

    wolram

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    I am amazed that a crow can use science, but it does not hurt my ego.
     
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