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A Scientist's Voice in American CultureSimon Newcomb and the Rhetoric of Scientific Method$
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Albert Moyer

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076891

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076891.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Physics and Mathematics

Physics and Mathematics

Public Understanding and Educational Reform

(p.146) Chapter IX Physics and Mathematics
A Scientist's Voice in American Culture

Albert E. Moyer

University of California Press

This chapter asks whether Newcomb ever apply his methodological strictures to fields closer to home. Did he bring his rhetoric into play in his frequent excursions into physics and mathematics, let alone in his main research area of astronomy? The answer is a qualified yes. On the one hand, Newcomb's published technical papers on astronomy, mathematics, and physics are essentially devoid of explicit commentary on method (excepting, of course, method in the sense of observatory procedures and computational techniques). In these formal research papers, he simply gets on with the job at hand, not taking time for lofty philosophical digressions on the nature of scientific inquiry. On the other hand, in various, more general analyses, especially those pertaining to physics, Newcomb draws on his methodological skills. These general commentaries are the closest that he comes to making methodological appraisals of contemporary physical science.

Keywords:   Simon Newcomb, scientific method, physics, mathematics, astronomy

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