Science Depends on Revolutions Large and Small

Scientific development depends in part on a process of non-incremental or revolutionary change. Some revolutions are large, like those associated with the names of Copernicus, Newton, or Darwin, but most are much smaller, like the discovery of oxygen or the planet Uranus. The usual prelude to changes of this sort is, I believed, the awareness of anomaly, of an occurrence or set of occurrences that does not fit existing ways of ordering phenomena. The changes that result therefore require 'putting on a different kind of thinking-cap', one that renders the anomalous lawlike but that, in the process, also transforms the order exhibited by some other phenomena, previously unproblematic.


Small ones, like the discovery of oxygen and Uranus, that requires thinking in a way to uncover anomalies.

Folksonomies: theory revolution paradigm anomalies

/society/unrest and war (0.707232)
/science (0.599495)
/technology and computing/consumer electronics/camera and photo equipment/telescopes (0.158615)

planet Uranus (0.939354 (neutral:0.000000)), usual prelude (0.907707 (neutral:0.000000)), revolutionary change (0.894376 (positive:0.243495)), Scientific development (0.875244 (positive:0.243495)), anomalous lawlike (0.868410 (negative:-0.380011)), different kind (0.837912 (neutral:0.000000)), revolutions (0.621463 (negative:-0.226777)), oxygen (0.592448 (positive:0.265271)), phenomena (0.536846 (negative:-0.583736)), discovery (0.484065 (positive:0.265271)), process (0.465361 (positive:0.243495)), changes (0.457695 (neutral:0.000000)), anomalies (0.388093 (positive:0.227544)), Copernicus (0.387941 (neutral:0.000000)), occurrences (0.373086 (negative:-0.583736)), sort (0.357146 (neutral:0.000000)), Darwin (0.354181 (neutral:0.000000)), Science (0.348444 (neutral:0.000000)), way (0.345970 (positive:0.227544)), Newton (0.345082 (neutral:0.000000)), occurrence (0.340965 (negative:-0.583736)), names (0.330280 (neutral:0.000000)), awareness (0.323820 (negative:-0.455312))

Newton:Person (0.705000 (neutral:0.000000)), Darwin:OperatingSystem (0.700541 (neutral:0.000000))

Solar System (0.909670): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Anomaly (0.881100): dbpedia
Planet (0.820460): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Uranus (0.740999): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
2002 albums (0.738914): dbpedia
Neptune (0.732146): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Irregular (0.699577): dbpedia
Orbital resonance (0.655370): dbpedia | freebase

 The Essential Tension
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Kuhn, Thomas S. (1977), The Essential Tension, Retrieved on 2012-06-08