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Resources and information appropriate to a basic biology course

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BIO 112 Subject Guide

This Subject Guide provides information and resources relevant to the BIO 112 course at Indiana State University. It is intended to reinforce what is taught in class and sometimes provide further explanation.

Feynman: What is Science?

What is Science?

Richard Feynman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, aptly summarized the scientific method in simple language during his seven lectures of the Messenger Lectures given at Cornell University in 1964. (See video and transcript below.)

In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. (Don't laugh. That's the truth.) Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what--if this is right, if this law that we guessed is right--to see what it would imply. And then we compare those computation results to nature--or we say compare to experiment or experience--compare it directly with observation to see if it works. 

If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.

In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is – if it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong. That's all there is to it.”

Feynmen's Messenger Lectures.  This video excerpt is from Lecture 7: Seeking New Laws > Chapter 6: How to Look for New Laws. (16:47-18:33) 

Feynman, Cornell 1964, “The Character of Physical Law”, Messenger Lectures, grabadas BBC 

Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Prize in Physics 1965

Popular Science Pubs

Popular science magazines can tell you what about hot topics in science in easy to understand language. To find out more, it is best to use the infomation in the popular articles to find the original journal article written by the original researchers.


You can go to the ISU Library to the Current Periodicals Section and browse through recent print issues of some popular science magazines. Choose from among the following publications to find something readable for a non-scientist.


You may also search online for an appropriate article. Click the title in the Library Catalog that says [Library Electronic Resources] Realize that you may have to obtain a copy of the full-text article, if required by your professor. If so, the call number and location is provided below.

Subject Guide

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