Ideas of Eric R. Scerri, by Theme

[American, fl. 2007, Teaches Chemistry and Phil of Science at University of California, LA]

green numbers give full details    |    back to list of philosophers    |     expand these ideas
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction
If a theory can be fudged, so can observations
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 4. Paradigm
The periodic system is the big counterexample to Kuhn's theory of revolutionary science
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Scientists eventually seek underlying explanations for every pattern
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation
The periodic table suggests accommodation to facts rates above prediction
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 1. Natural Kinds
Natural kinds are what are differentiated by nature, and not just by us
If elements are natural kinds, might the groups of the periodic table also be natural kinds?
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
The colour of gold is best explained by relativistic effects due to fast-moving inner-shell electrons
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / a. Concept of matter
The stability of nuclei can be estimated through their binding energy
If all elements are multiples of one (of hydrogen), that suggests once again that matter is unified
27. Natural Reality / F. Chemistry / 1. Chemistry
How can poisonous elements survive in the nutritious compound they compose?
The electron is the main source of chemical properties
Chemistry does not work from general principles, but by careful induction from large amounts of data
Periodicity and bonding are the two big ideas in chemistry
Does radioactivity show that only physics can explain chemistry?
A big chemistry idea is that covalent bonds are shared electrons, not transfer of electrons
27. Natural Reality / F. Chemistry / 2. Modern Elements
19th C views said elements survived abstractly in compounds, but also as 'material ingredients'
It is now thought that all the elements have literally evolved from hydrogen
27. Natural Reality / F. Chemistry / 3. Periodic Table
Moseley, using X-rays, showed that atomic number ordered better than atomic weight
Some suggested basing the new periodic table on isotopes, not elements
Elements are placed in the table by the number of positive charges - the atomic number
Elements in the table are grouped by having the same number of outer-shell electrons
Orthodoxy says the periodic table is explained by quantum mechanics
Pauli explained the electron shells, but not the lengths of the periods in the table
To explain the table, quantum mechanics still needs to explain order of shell filling
Since 99.96% of the universe is hydrogen and helium, the periodic table hardly matters
Moseley showed the elements progress in units, and thereby clearly identified the gaps
The best classification needs the deepest and most general principles of the atoms
Elements were ordered by equivalent weight; later by atomic weight; finally by atomic number