From Latin experimentum, experiment is the action and effect of experimenting (perform actions aimed at discovering or checking certain phenomena). The procedure is very common in the framework of scientific work to try to ratify a hypothesis.
Carrying out an experiment involves the manipulation of different variables that, according to the scientist, are the cause of the phenomenon to be confirmed. Thanks to experiments, theories they often find factual support and causal explanations.
The basis of an experiment is in the manipulation of the variables that are considered relevant, the control of the strange variables and the randomization of the rest. However, the experiments acquire very different characteristics according to each science. The task of a chemist differs from the experiment that a sociologist can perform, for example.
The result of an experiment gives validity to a theory. Every time the experiment is replicated by other scientists and the same results are obtained, this validity increases.
Many are the experiments that have been carried out throughout history and that have served to advance in a specific area. This would be the case, for example, of the so-called Rutherford Experiment, which was carried out at the beginning of the 20th century by physicists from the University of Manchester under the supervision of the New Zealand chemist Ernest Rutherford.
As a gold foil experiment, this project is also known, which became a benchmark in the field of atomic energy. Thus, he completely discarded an earlier atomic model, Thomson’s, and presented a novel proposal.
In the same way, we must not forget the Griffith Experiment, carried out by the microbiologist that gives it its name in 1928. Thanks to that, what could be shown is that bacteria had the ability to undertake the transfer of information genetics.
It should be noted that while the experiments are attractive to many people who have curiosity and they want to discover new things, some of them can only be done by experts and in appropriate places. Certain substances can be dangerous if handled by inexperienced hands.
Outside of this caveat, educators often emphasize that it is good for children and students to experiment with what they study to increase their knowledge. By having a direct approach to the object of study, the training is more complete and profitable.
In addition to all the above, we cannot ignore the existence of various branches that use the term at hand in their name. This would be the case of experimental archeology, which is framed within the social sciences and which is fundamentally dedicated to contributing to the discovery of the past through expeditions or the reconstruction of certain elements.
In the same way, there is also experimental physics, which has the peculiarity that it is based on what nature itself is to reach a series of conclusions that can be verified.