Measure for Measure for What?

Today I learned that the Scientific Method not only demands that we observe correctly, but that we communicate our observations effectively as well. Since not all truth can be communicated by blogs, we have a language which is very handy when talking about extremely large (times ten to the sixth power, mega, etc.) and extremely small (times ten to the minus sixth power, micro, etc.) quantities. And no matter how large or small, measurements must be true (accurate) and consistent (precise).

Thankfully, we have invented a battery of instruments that can measure the nearly infinite and nearly infinitesimal. I am excited to think of a lab with meters of all sorts lined up and waiting to go out and measure the world, from light waves to electricity to acidity.

But I am worried about starting this lofty course of study with the mundane matters of measure. It seems backwards, like studying nails and hammers before understanding what a house looks like. Wouldn’t it be more compelling if we started with some of the Classic Mysteries of Chemistry and then learned how Scientific Notation, a Voltmeter, and Precision saved the day?

Next Up: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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