We observe many events taking place in daily life, but do not take notice of them. There are some people who keenly observe every small thing which happens, and try to find out why it happens, how it happens, when it happens and where it happens. These people are the great scientists, who have made great discoveries and propose great theories and concepts.

Let us take the example of Edward jenner who discovered the smallpox vaccine which helps us even today.

Edward Jenner was a doctor in the town of Berkeley in England.

Often dairy maids would come to him for the treatment of a rash on their hands. These girls would say that now that they had developed this rash they would not get smallpox.

The problems that arose in Edward Jenner’s mind were how to treat the rash and how getting this rash helped the maid’s tin not getting smallpox.

Having identified the problem, he made further observations and found that there was truth in what the girls said. He collected further information about the rash namely.

(i) Those cows sometimes developed on their udders a rash that was similar to smallpox.

(ii) When the ooze from these boils got smeared on the dairy maids hands, they too developed these boils.

(iii) There were two types of rash.

(iv) If the ooze of the boils of one type of rash came out at a definite stage and got smeared on another person he too got protection from smallpox.

On the basis of these observations and information, he formulated a hypothesis, i.e. he surmised that if the ooze was deliberately injected into the body of a person he could be given protection from smallpox.

The procedure he followed for testing the hypothesis was as follows:

(i) He injected a boy called James Phipps with the ooze from a dairy maid”s boils.

(ii) He kept the boy under observation for many days and noted that James Phipps did not get small pox even during an epidemic of the disease.

(iii) He repeated this experiment with 23 other persons.

Using the inferences from all these experiments, the means he found out for solving the problems of smallpox was the vaccination to prevent smallpox.

This is how he discovered the vaccine against smallpox.

Thus the scientific method can be applied by us to understand our daily experiences in life. It comprises the following stages.

(1) Identifying the problem.

(2) Gathering all information related to the problem.

(3) Formulating the hypothesis on the basis of the information collected.

(4) Conduction experiments to test the hypothesis.

(5) Using the inferences to design appropriate ways and means of solving the problem.

The scientific method helps us to develop the power of reasoning, logical thinking, analyzing and generalizing.


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