chapter  1
18 Pages

The Great Universal Cook-Off

ByMelisa Buie

The object of science may be said to be to construct theories about the behavior of whatever it is that the science studies. Observation and experience, inspiration and serendipity, genius and just good guesses—by their presence and absence, in pinches and dashes—all can provide the recipes, in which the scientist provides the inexpressible human flavor. This aspect of science, the concoction of theories, has no universal method. But once a theory has evolved, perhaps from a half-baked idea to a precise and unambiguous statement of the scientist’s entry in the great universal cook-off, the scientific method may be used to judge the success or failure of a given theory or the relative merits of competing theories.