Monday, December 7, 2009

Quote about interaction between theory and observations

Science makes progress through the interaction of theory and measurement, but it has never required that both be done by the same people or published in the same paper. Keppler is remembered as the discoverer of the shape of planetary orbits, but there would have been no Keppler without Tycho Brahe’s careful measurements. Tycho developed his own planetary theory (with equations) – it was wrong and has been long forgotten. It is his observations that we remember. Modern theorists and modelers cannot improve their models and evaluate their theories without well-documented observations. It is not a valid objection to a sound observational paper that the author’s didn’t also do the theory or modeling.

- Dr. Francis J. Merceret
NASA, Kennedy Space Center


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