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Encyclopedia > Observation

Observation may either be an activity of a sapient or sentient living being (e.g. humans), which senses and assimilates the knowledge of a phenomenon in its framework of previous knowledge and ideas, or within some scientific usages it may also refer to data or phenomena recorded or evaluated from a specific viewpoint as opposed to an omniscient or objective viewpoint. Look up observation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Not to be confused with sentience. ... Not to be confused with sapience. ... This article is about modern humans. ... For other uses, see Knowledge (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Phenomena (disambiguation). ...


Observation as Recording of Scientific Data

Observations are statements which are determined by using one of the five senses.[citation needed] Observations aroused by self-defining instruments are often unreliable­¹. Such observations are hard to reproduce because they may vary even with respect to the same stimuli. Therefore they are not of much use in exact sciences like physics which require instruments which do not define themselves. It is therefore often necessary to use various engineered instruments like: spectrometers, oscilloscopes, cameras, telescopes, interferometers, tape recorders, thermometers etc. and tools like clocks, scale that help in improving the accuracy, quality and utility of the information obtained from an observation. Invariable observation requires uniformity of responses to a given stimulus, and devices promoting such observation must not give out rebellious output as if having "a mind (or opinion) of their own". In statistics, an observation, whether of a sample or the population, measures one or more properties (weight, location, etc.) of an observable entity enumerated to distinguish objects or individuals. Senses are the physiological methods of perception. ... Observer Effect is the name of the 87th episode from the television series Star Trek: Enterprise. ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Spectrometer A spectrometer is an optical instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically used in spectroscopic analysis to identify materials. ... Illustration showing the interior of a cathode-ray tube for use in an oscilloscope. ... For other uses, see Camera (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Interferometry is the applied science of combining two or more input points of a particular data type, such as optical measurements, to form a greater picture based on the combination of the two sources. ... Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder. ... A clinical mercury thermometer A thermometer is a device that measures temperature or temperature gradient, using a variety of different principles. ... For other uses, see Clock (disambiguation). ... In the fields of science, engineering, industry and statistics, accuracy is the degree of conformity of a measured or calculated quantity to its actual (true) value. ... For the Talib Kweli album Quality (album) Quality can refer to a. ... The ASCII codes for the word Wikipedia represented in binary, the numeral system most commonly used for encoding computer information. ... Sampling is that part of statistical practice concerned with the selection of individual observations intended to yield some knowledge about a population of concern, especially for the purposes of statistical inference. ...

The accuracy and tremendous success of science is primarily attributed to the accuracy and objectivity (i.e. repeatability) of observation of the reality that science explores. In science, the ideal of objectivity is an essential aspect of the scientific method, and is generally considered by the scientific community to come about as a result of strict observance of the scientific method, including the scientists willingness to submit their methods and results to an open debate by...

The role of observation in the scientific method

The scientific method includes the following steps: Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ...

  1. 'observe' a phenomenon,
  2. 'Hypothesize' an explanation for the phenomenon,
  3. 'predict' a logical consequence of the guess,
  4. 'Test' the prediction, and
  5. 'review' for any mistakes.

Observation plays a role in the first and fourth steps in the above list. Reliance is placed upon the five physical senses: visual perception, hearing (sense), taste, feeling, and olfaction, and upon measurement techniques. It is therefore understood that there are always certain limitations in making observations. Look up Hypothesis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A prediction is a statement or claim that a particular event will occur in the future in more certain terms than a forecast. ... In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, of (or from) trying) is a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to retain or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ... Senses Senses are a UK based alternative rock band from Coventry. ... In psychology, visual perception is the ability to interpret visible light information reaching the eyes which is then made available for planning and action. ... Hearing (or audition) is one of the traditional five senses, and refers to the ability to detect sound. ... For the social and aesthetic aspects of taste, see taste (sociology). ... Somatic sensation consists of the various sensory receptors that trigger the experiences labelled as touch or pressure, temperature (warm or cold), pain (including itch and tickle), and the sensations of muscle movement and joint position including posture, movement, and facial expression (collectively also called proprioception). ... Olfaction (also known as olfactics) refers to the sense of smell. ...

Example - The Big Bang

Observation: Hubble's redshift

In the 1920s Edwin Hubble of Mount Wilson observatory [1], observed that the galaxies, on the whole, were moving away from each other. Thus we live in an 'expanding universe'. The speed of expansion was apparently constant (Hubble's 'constant'), as evidenced by light from the galaxies, which was doppler-shifted in color toward the red side of the spectrum. The 1920s they were sexy referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... Edwin Powell Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953) was an American astronomer. ... The Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) is an astronomical observatory in Los Angeles County, California. ... For other uses, see Big Bang (disambiguation). ... This box:      Hubbles law is a statement in physical cosmology which states that the redshift in light coming from distant galaxies is proportional to their distance. ...

Einstein correspondingly modified his field equation. See Cosmological constant For other topics related to Einstein see Einstein (disambig) In physics, the Einstein field equation or the Einstein equation is a tensor equation in the theory of gravitation. ... In physical cosmology, the cosmological constant (usually denoted by the Greek capital letter lambda: Λ) was proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe. ...

Hypothesis about the abundance of the elements

If the universe is expanding, then it must have been much smaller and therefore hotter and denser in the past. George Gamow hypothesized that the abundance of the elements in the Periodic Table of the Elements, might be accounted for by nuclear reactions in a hot dense universe. He was disputed by Fred Hoyle, who invented the term 'Big Bang' to disparage it. Enrico Fermi and others noted that this process would have stopped after only the light elements were created, and thus did not account for the abundance of heavier elements. George Gamow (pronounced GAM-off) (March 4, 1904 – August 19, 1968) , born Georgiy Antonovich Gamov (Георгий Антонович Гамов) was a Ukrainian born physicist and cosmologist. ... Sir Frederick Hoyle, FRS, (born on June 24, 1915 in Gilstead, Yorkshire, England – August 20, 2001 in Bournemouth, England)[1] was a British astronomer, he was educated at Bingley Grammar School and notable for a number of his theories that run counter to current astronomical opinion, and a writer of... For other uses, see Big Bang (disambiguation). ... Fermi redirects here. ...

Gamow's prediction: One consequence of this hypothesis was a 5–10 kelvin black body radiation temperature for the universe, after it cooled during the expansion. For other uses, see Kelvin (disambiguation). ... As the temperature decreases, the peak of the black body radiation curve moves to lower intensities and longer wavelengths. ...

Observation: the microwave background

In 1965, Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson announced that microwave radiation was surrounding us in all directions, at a level which was of the order of magnitude predicted by Gamow. Penzias and Wilson got the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ... CMB redirects here. ...

Big Bang Hypothesis now corroborated

After this piece of evidence, Gamow's hypothesis was now more likely. The age of the universe is currently estimated to be 13.7 billion years after the Big Bang. For other uses, see Universe (disambiguation). ...

Current observations

More refined measurements, such as those from the COBE satellite, are best fit by radiation from a pure 2.7 kelvin black body. The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), also referred to as Explorer 66, was the first satellite built dedicated to cosmology. ... As the temperature decreases, the peak of the black body radiation curve moves to lower intensities and longer wavelengths. ...

Future observations

It is, of course, entirely possible that observations made in the future may enable a different understanding. People of the future, looking back on the Big Bang theory may, perhaps, regard it with as much derision as the people of today regard the apparent geocentric universe of previous observations. All that is possible is to keep looking at the evidence as it comes in with an open mind. The geocentric model (in Greek: geo = earth and centron = centre) of the universe is a paradigm which places the Earth at its center. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...

Reference: J.A. Peacock, A.F. Heavens, A.T. Davies (eds.), 1989. Physics of the Early Universe. Proceedings of the 36th Scottish Universities Summer School in Physics (SUSSP). ISBN 0-905945-19-0.

The "Observer" Concept Within Special Relativity

The physics theory of Special Relativity describes the way that the length and mass of objects and the rate of passage of time are relative or appear to be different dependent upon the way that objects are moving and how close the difference in velocities is to the speed of light. The appearance of object length, mass, rate of passage of time, and a variety of other physical qualities depend upon the inertial reference frame that those physical qualities are measured from. A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... The word theory has a number of distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. ... The special theory of relativity was first put forward by Einstein in 1905[1]. His aim was to take care of some theoretical concerns about classical electrodynamics, but ultimately he came up with a modification of the laws of mechanics itself. ... The Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction hypothesis was proposed by Fitzgerald and independently proposed and extended by Lorentz to explain the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment, which attempted to detect Earths motion relative to the luminiferous aether. ... The term mass in special relativity can be used in different ways, occasionally leading to confusion. ... Time dilation is the phenomenon whereby an observer finds that anothers clock which is physically identical to their own is ticking at a slower rate as measured by their own clock. ... An inertial frame of reference, or inertial reference frame, is one in which Newtons first and second laws of motion are valid. ...

Physicists use the term "observer" as shorthand for a specific reference frame from which a set of objects or events is being measured. An observer in Special Relativity is not specifically hypothesizing a individual or a sentient being who is experiencing events, but rather it is a particular mathematical context which objects and events are to be evaluated from. The effects of Special Relativity occur whether or not there is a sentient being within the inertial reference frame to witness them.

In this sense of being a mathematical context an observer is analogous to a particular camera orientation within 3D computer graphics raytracing. In the same fashion that a rendered 2D view of a scene is a limited-information snapshot of only part a set of surfaces, which cannot show all sides of those surfaces nor the entirety of the data within the computer model, a Special Relativity observer is a limited-information viewpoint on a set of physical objects and events which must have the Lorentz transformation applied to its observation of objects and events within other inertial reference frames for completeness. A cameras angle of view can be measured horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. ... A ray traced scene. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In physics, the Lorentz transformation converts between two different observers measurements of space and time, where one observer is in constant motion with respect to the other. ...

Note that in this sense the terms "observer" and "observation" are being used in an almost completely opposite way to other meanings. In Special Relativity these terms are conveying subjectivity or limited viewpoint rather than objectivity.

The role of observation in philosophy

"Observe always that everything is the result of a change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and to make new ones like them." Meditations. iv. 36. -Marcus Aurelius This article is about the physical universe. ... Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Rome, April 26, 121[2] – Vindobona or Sirmium, March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to his death in 180. ...

Observation in philosophical terms is the process of filtering sensory information through the thought process. Input is received via hearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch and then analyzed through either rational or irrational thought. You see a parent beat their child; you observe that such an action is either good or bad. Deductions about what behaviors are good or bad may be based on no way preferences about building relationships, or study of the consequences resulting from the observed behavior. With the passage of time, impressions stored in the consciousness about many related observations, together with the resulting relationships and consequences, permit the individual to build a construct about the moral implications of behavior. For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... This article is about the senses of living organisms (vision, taste, etc. ... The ASCII codes for the word Wikipedia represented in binary, the numeral system most commonly used for encoding computer information. ... Input3 is the term denoting either an entrance or changes which are inserted into a system and which activate/modify a process. ... Hearing (or audition) is one of the traditional five senses, and refers to the ability to detect sound. ... Visual perception is one of the senses, consisting of the ability to detect light and interpret (see) it as the perception known as sight or naked eye vision. ... Olfaction (also known as olfactics) refers to the sense of smell. ... For the social and aesthetic aspects of taste, see taste (sociology). ... This article is about the study of touching behaviour in humans. ...

The defining characteristic of observation is that it involves drawing conclusions, as well as building personal views about how to handle similar situations in the future, rather than simply registering that something has happened. But according to J. Krishnamurti, observation does not imply drawing conclusions and building personal views. He stressed the non-accumulation of knowledge. Such an observation, he asserted, will make the mind free. Jiddu Krishnamurti (May 11, 1895 Madanapalle, India - February 17, 1986 Ojai, California) was discovered as a young boy by C.W. Leadbeater in India on the private beach, that was part of the Theosophical headquarters in Adyar in Chennai. ... For other uses, see Mind (disambiguation). ...

Observing can be part of the process of developing a morality. Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behavior) has three principal meanings. ...

See also

Naturalistic observation is a method of observation, commonly used by psychologists and social/behavioral scientists, that involves observing subjects in their natural habitats. ... Observer Effect is the name of the 87th episode from the television series Star Trek: Enterprise. ... In quantum physics, the outcome of even an ideal measurement of a system is not deterministic, but instead is characterized by a probability distribution, and the larger the associated standard deviation is, the more uncertain we might say that that characteristic is for the system. ... Observational learning or social learning is learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating behavior observed in others. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Observation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1129 words)
Observation is an activity of a sapient or sentient living being, which senses and assimiliates the knowledge of a phenomenon in its framework of previous knowledge and ideas.
Observation invariably requires logical thinking as logic is necessary for assimiliation of the knowledge that is presented by an observation.
In cosmology, the original observation was that we seem to live on a flat Earth under hemispherical firmament.
W.V.O.Quine - The Web of Belief (3585 words)
Evenour observation sentence may sometimes be truthfully utteredwithout reporting a present observation; thus "The cat is onthe mat" may sometimes express a belief based on earlierobservation or mere hearsay.
Typical observation sentences are about bodies: "This istable", "This table is square," "The cat is on the mat".Always the situation that makes an observation sentence truewill be a situation that is intersubjectively observable;that is, it will be sort of situation to which multiplewitness could, if present, attest.
Observation sentences are the bottom edge of language,where it touches experience: where speech is conditioned tostimulation.
  More results at FactBites »



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