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Library Services for Science Students

Library Services for Science Students


Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University offers one stop shopping for students.  Whether students need help with researching a topic, writing a paper, or finding a book, ISU Library is The Campus Living Room. Effective services to distance education students is a priority of the ISU Library.

The library promotes the educational and research missions of ISU by providing the collections, services, and environments that lead to intellectual discovery, creativity, and the exchange of ideas. The library collections include more than two million items. The library catalog facilitates access to over 3000 electronic books and over 10,000 electronic government documents. Preference is given to collecting journals and periodicals in an online format. The library provides access to over 230 databases that include journals, magazines, newspapers, electronic books, and other sources.

Science Literature

The literature and resources of the science disciplines are heavily structured around the scientific method. Because science knowledge is based on experimentation and observation, publications of original research are very important. The examination of existing theories and the evaluation of their supporting evidence is very important in the development of new questions to ask and new experiments to perform.

The publication of research helps distribute ideas and theories to other scientists. The distribution encourages discussion of the ideas therein. The discussion generates new ideas for further research or consideration. The entire process adds to our knowledge of the world.


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

Why Science Matters

Why Science Matters

“Science is always a way to teach how something gets known, what is not known, to what extent things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgments can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud, from show…in learning science you learn to handle by trial and error, to develop a spirit of invention and of free inquiry which is of tremendous value far beyond science. One learns to ask oneself: “Is there a better way to do it?”

Feynman, RF A Life in Science, Engineering and Science, Caltech Magazine, p. 145.

We Can Never Be Right

We Can Never Be Right 

"Suppose that you invent a good guess, calculate the consequences, and discover every time that the consequences you have calculated agree with experiment. The theory is then right? No, it is simply not proved wrong. Because in the future there could be a wider range of experiments, you could compute a wider range of consequences, and you may discover that the thing is wrong.

That's why the laws like Newton's Laws about the motion of planets last such a long time. You get the law of gravitation and all the kinds of consequences for the solar system, and so on, compare them to experiment, and it took several hundred years before the slight error of the motion of Mercury was developed. During all that time, the theory had been failed to be proved wrong and could be taken to be temporarily right. But it can never be proved right because tomorrow's experiment may succeed in proving what you thought was right wrong. 

We never are right; we can only be sure we're wrong."


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

Project Tuva  presents science videos whose copyright is owned by Bill Gates, including the Messenger Lectures. This video is from Chapter Six: Seeking New Laws.

Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Prize in Physics 1965

Feynman: Knowing versus Understanding

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Shelley Arvin
Contact me for help. I will work with you to find the way to best help you. Options will consider appropriate agreeable and safe communication and location solutions for you. Email is a good way to contact me.

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