Scientifica

Scientifica is a collection of pedagogical articles outlining the epistemic foundations of modern scientific research as an aid to new and current researchers, especially graduate students. For each topic, which is to be kept as restricted as possible in scope, the Scientifica article will answer the following questions:

In what regime and under what conditions do we believe the current scientific theory to be applicable?
What experimental or theoretical evidence leads us to believe the theory to be (approximately) true?
What research avenues exist for improving the beauty, applicability, and/or accuracy of the theory?
What experimental or theoretical evidence restricts alternative avenues of inquiry?

The Scientifica article covering a certain topic will generally assume familiarity with the basics of that topic. For example, rather than teaching one how to solve certain problems in general relativity (GR) given the mathematical postulates of GR (i.e. equivalence principle, locally obeys special relativity, etc.), the relevant Scientifica article will examine the experimental evidence supporting these postulates, as well as the motivations for and problems with alternative approaches (e.g. modified Newtonian Dynamics).

An historical approach is often helpful for introducing the logical structure of ideas, but Scientifica is not a mere history of a research field. For instance, modern experiments which more accurately demonstrate the non-existence of the luminiferous aether are more epistemically compelling than the original Michelson–Morley experiment.

Finally, Scientifica covers more than just extremely well established theories like GR, although it is definitively not a platform for original research. It catalogs both research programs, like tensor-scalar cosmology, and foundational ideas, like the holographic principle. The goal is to get new researchers up to speed on the "lore" of their subject as quickly as possible. Further, Scientifica articles serve as a guide to the literature. References to original publications and review articles are crucial.

ArticlesEdit

Black Hole Thermodynamics

Last modified on 20 October 2010, at 18:10