According to Richard P. Feynman
, there are really only two steps in the scientific method:
- Make a guess; and
- See if you're wrong.
While this might seem like just another one of Feynman's clever quips (like those Lith
has so kindly provided here
), it's actually more useful than the usual ungainly five- or six- or fifteen-step beast we all learn in science class
. Part of the reason is better is its mere simplicity, since the simplest tool
that can do a given job is the best possible tool for that job. You don't lug a Cray T3E-1200E
around to use as a pocket calculator
More to the point, though: these two steps are really all you need. "Make a guess" requires you to gather information through observation and make a hypothesis based on that information. It's really "See if you're wrong" that's core of science, though. This step requires experimentation and makes it clear that being right doesn't tell you nearly as much as being wrong. After all, you can be right a million times but if you're wrong the million and first, your theory falls down goes boom. So long as that doesn't happen, you get to be happy.