In our course, we learned that what we call â€˜scienceâ€™ today was known as â€˜philosophyâ€™ in antiquity. To be precise, the science which we call â€˜physicsâ€™ was known to the ancients as phusiologia, meaning â€˜the study of nature.â€™ Aristotle included physics as one of the three theoretical sciences, together with mathematics and theology. While geography studies the surface of the earth and astronomy studies the heavens, physics studies the origin, structure, and underlying forces of the natural world.
In our course, we also learned that water has been considered one of the primary elements of the natural world from the Mesopotamian cosmogonical myth to the Presocratics. Thales postulated water to be in the foundation (archÄ“) of the universe and Heraclitus allegedly said that we can never step in the same water twice. Aristotle accepted Empedoclesâ€™ theory of the â€˜four primary elementsâ€™ and paid special attention to earth and water. But he does not engage only in contemplative speculation. In his treatise On Plants, he does the best he can to explain how soil is made and how soil and water interact.
In this assignment, you will engage with the experiment stage of the scientific method. Your task is to replicate Aristotleâ€™s experiment about buoyancy and, based on your result, evaluate whether he conducted the experiment correctly and what future lines of research he could have pursued.
- Read Lindbergâ€™s chapter on Aristotle, pp. 45â€“60 to gain a broader understanding of his scientific achievement.
- Consult your notes and the powerpoint from the lecture on Aristotle in class.
- Read What is Buoyant Force? (Links to an external site.)
- Repeat Aristotleâ€™s experiment. (Do the experiment exactly as he describes it and not how you think it should be done.)
- Write a report on the experiment and your results, using the standard format for lab reports, given below.
Format of a Lab Report
The format of the lab report as a scientific piece of literature is different from the scientific essays evaluating theories and data. It includes the following elements, organized in this order:
- A title and section headings for each one of the elements below
- Introduction: State the objective of the experiment and provide enough background of the subject for the reader to understand the context of your report; here is the place for you to introduce Aristotleâ€™s scientific achievement as presented in Lindberg; then clearly formulate the question your experiment will attempt to answer.
- Materials & Methods: List all materials you used and describe precisely the steps in which you conducted the experiment. Your description has to be as precise as to allow the reader to duplicate the experiment.
- Results: Present and analyze the data collected in your experiment.
- Discussion: Explain whether your results answer the question you formulated in the introduction; Interpret your results according to the modern understanding of buoyancy; outline possible future experiments that might further clarify the subject.
Your assignment should contain the following elements and will be graded based on how well your assignment represents them:
- Clear introduction.
- Clearly formulated experiment question?
- Do you ask a question which you will test in your experiment?
- Clear use of assigned reading materials (quotes, in-line references, paraphrases, etc.), followed by source attribution in parentheses.
- Do you provide a well-documented outline of your experiment?
- Clear organization of your experiment results.
- Critical Thinking:
- Do you evaluate your results according to the modern understanding of buoyancy?
- If you think Aristotle did or did not conduct the experiment correctly, explain why?
- Does your assignment reflect your own original thoughts and words?
- Do you avoid over-relying on quotes or paraphrases of othersâ€™ words? (You should not, under any circumstances, present othersâ€™ ideas or words as your own.)
- Does your assignment make observations which are obvious?
- Does your assignment have an â€œAhaâ€ moment of discovery which you have made while working on it. A suitable place for such an idea is the conclusion.
- Grammar & Style
- Is your writing grammatically correct and fluent?
- Have you demonstrated an adequate review (i.e. proofreading) of your writing, as indicated by proper punctuation, proper spelling, etc.?
- Have you avoided repetitions such as expressing the same thought in a number of different ways?
- Word Count
- Have you written your assignment succinctly and concisely?
- Is your assignment between 600â€“700 words in length? Your assignment should naturally end within this range (i.e. do not leave an awkward ending to your essay just because you have reached the upper limit or because you just surpassed the minimum limit).
- Do you include a word count at the end of your essay?
- Do you list all sources you have used for your essay?
- A bibliography of the sources you used (such as assigned readings, articles, any other print or online sources used, images, maps, etc).
Note: In-text citations and bibliography should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style. To see examples, go to our Canvas course site (Links to an external site.) and follow the following links: Library Tools Ãž Citation Management Ãž Our Citation Ãž Research Guide Ãž Chicago.
â€¢ David C. Lindberg, The Beginnings of West- ern Science: the European Scienti c Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 b.c. to a.d. 1450, 2nd Edition, Chicago, 2007
- – ISBN-13: 978-0-226-48205-7
- – ISBN-10: 0-226-48205-7