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Creating knowledge

One of the differences between physics and non-science subjects is the remarkable character of the knowledge framework of physics.  There are great discoveries and revolutions but, if they are soundly based, they eventually become part of a framework accepted by physicists everywhere. The scheme of concepts and ideas in physics is a fairly unchanging, at least in the timescale of  pupils and teachers.

When there are disagreements in physics they can often be settled by one series of measurements, which both sides in the dispute agree will be decisive one way or the other.  Some disagreements are harder to settle.  For some years it was not clear whether or not global warming was happening but it is now agreed that the evidence  is overwhelming.  That evidence is based on observations of the real world.

Professor Sir David King
What is science?

Sir David King, chief Scientific adviser to the government explains how science knowledge differs from other forms of knowledge.
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This is not to say that false claims are never made.  The point is that it will not be  long before they are questioned, tested and thrown out. 

scientists ethical code Contravening the scientists' ethical code

In 2001 a nuclear physicist,  Dr Victor Ninov claimed he had found evidence for a new element in the Periodic Table, element -118.  The experiments could not be repeated and when all the data was re-examined it was found that there was clear evidence of fabrication.

The importance of peer review

It was peer review of Korean scientist  Hwang Woo-suk's articles about his research into cloning human embryos to create stem cells that uncovered the fact that he had made much of it up.

Next: IoP's Code of Conduct

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