When we look at all of nature out there, at all of the manufactured things around us, or look up at what is out there in the universe, we cannot help but be amazed at the amazing diversity and complexity of life.

The physical universe truly encompasses an incredible amount of complexity. But even more astonishing than this complexity is the fact that things in the physical universe can be known. We can investigate them, analyze them, and understand them. It is this ability to understand the physical universe that allows us to transform the elements and enable technological advances.

When we look back at what has been developed in the last century-space travel, advances in medicine, wireless communications (from television to cell phones), materials that area thousand times stronger than steel-we see that they are not the result of magic or inexplicable phenomena. They were all developed through research and systematic application of the physical sciences, and as we look forward to the 21st century and consider the problems we face, such as poverty, disease, and pollution, we need to turn to the physical sciences.

About the Book

This book deals with the physical sciences, that is, physics and chemistry. All science is based on experimentation and verification to better understand the world around us. The scientific method requires us to constantly re examine our understanding by testing current theories against new evidence and changing theories when evidence does not meet verification. Thus, the scientific method is a powerful tool used in all areas of physical science.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use the scientific method to gather evidence. These skills will be used throughout this textbook to test scientific theories and practices.

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