chapter  9
20 Pages

Kinds of experiments

WithJack Cohen, Graham Medley, Ian Stewart

Science is big business. More than half the scientists that have ever lived are alive. This is a vast market for sophisticated kits. There are clinical kits, diagnostic tests for a great variety of diseases and for hormone or antibody levels in blood or other body fluids. There are tests for genetic abnormalities in embryos, and for what precise single-nucleotide mutations individual people have. The kits do include protocol tests, and usually have positive and negative controls too. They include a lot of science and experimental design, but that is so that the person operating them need not think scientifically. Every careful observation of a puzzling or new phenomenon should be matched to similar observations of well-understood or classical material. These are the tests of experimental protocol. A few scientists have made their careers by only doing defect experiments, but most questions about nature require rather more thought. Scientists should have more weapons available than just this very blunt instrument.