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Examples of the Scientific Method in Action[edit]


high-profile examples of scientific refinement (basically, scientific consensus reversing itself)


Planets around Barnard's star[edit]

In the 1960s, astronomers believed that exoplanets had been discovered orbiting Barnard's star. The discovery was later rejected.




The EPR paradox[edit]

Einsein, Podolsky, and Rosen proposed what became known as the EPR paradox in a 1935 paper in an attempt to show that quantum mechanics was incomplete. A debate on the merits of the paper and of the significance of quantum mechanics ensued for many years. In the 1980s, experimental findings consistent with Bell's Inequalities established that quantum mechanics is complete.

Joseph Weber and gravitational waves[edit]

In 1968, Joseph Weber of the University of Maryland reported that he had detected gravitational waves using massive bar detectors (which came to be known as Weber bars). After several repeated attempts to duplicate his findings, the community concluded that he had not actually detected gravitational waves.

Notable scientific theories not on this list[edit]

  • Evolution. While there are certainly arguments about the manner and mechanisms of evolution, virtually all scientists accept that the theory is the best model for the observed biological data.
  • Relativity.