The Philosophy of Science Forms

Forms

Reality is messy and infinitely complicated. Historically, in order to get a handle on this mess, humankind created models; smooth-edged symbolic representations that stand in for the sloppy bits. With apologies to Plato, I like to call them Forms. Learning about and playing with these little pictographs gives us the power to come to a better understanding of the world around us

 

Atoms and Molecules

Atoms and Molecules

I have laid out in the above, and following, slides some basic forms used in science as models to represent the tiny building blocks which come together to produce, in this example, a living organism.

Every time you breath you contribute to the Earth’s Atmosphere. After inhaling the Oxygen-Nitrogen mix into your lungs, it is used in the metabolic processes that sustain you. As a waste product you exhale carbon dioxide. Plants then ‘inhale’ that carbon dioxide, metabolize the carbon and, with a little help from the sun, create the fundamental carbohydrate, glucose. Yes, sugar, literally, comes out of thin air.

Polymers

Polymers

Since plants have no internal scaffolding like our skeletal system, they take their newly minted glucose and form long chain polymers of tough, resilient Cellulose.

Cells

Cells

EACH cell is then encased in this protective coating of Cellulose to form a thick, starchy Cell Wall. 

Organisms

Organisms

Like living LEGOs, these cells can then be stacked to form the roots, stem and leaves of the plant.

Why should we care? Well, starting with a few colored circles, moving on to a little geometry and finishing with a few more circles , I was able to put together a picture of how one of the plants in my backyard is able to stand and grow. Forms are the vocabulary of the Language of Science, and when you master a language, you master the ideas it expresses.

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