What Goes Up... Gravity and Scientific Method

What Goes Up... Gravity and Scientific Method

by Peter Kosso


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The concept of gravity provides a natural phenomenon that is simultaneously obvious and obscure; we all know what it is, but rarely question why it is. The simple observation that 'what goes up must come down' contrasts starkly with our current scientific explanation of gravity, which involves challenging and sometimes counterintuitive concepts. With such extremes between the plain and the perplexing, gravity forces a sharp focus on scientific method. Following the history of gravity from Aristotle to Einstein, this clear account highlights the logic of scientific method for non-specialists. Successive theories of gravity and the evidence for each are presented clearly and rationally, focusing on the fundamental ideas behind them. Using only high-school level algebra and geometry, the author emphasizes what the equations mean rather than how they are derived, making this accessible for all those curious about gravity and how science really works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107129856
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/20/2017
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

Peter Kosso is a philosopher of science. He taught physics at Montana State University, and taught philosophy first at Northwestern University, Illinois and then at Northern Arizona University. He is the author of Reading the Book of Nature, Appearance and Reality, and Knowing the Past, as well as numerous articles on relativity, quantum mechanics, astronomy, and scientific method.

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Forces and fields; 3. Basic Newtonian theory; 4. Gravity before Newton; 5. Early modern astronomy; 6. Connecting physics and astronomy; 7. Connecting kinematics and dynamics; 8. Testing the Newtonian theory; 9. Challenging the Newtonian theory; 10. Geometry and equivalence; 11. The general theory of relativity; 12. Testing the general theory of relativity; 13. Using the theory to explore the universe; 14. Dark matter; 15. The structure of scientific knowledge; Glossary; Bibliography.

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