Phenomenology (science)

From Academic Kids

The term phenomenology in modern science, especially in physics, is used to describe a body of knowledge which relates several different empirical observations of phenomena to each other, in a way which is consistent with fundamental theory, but is not directly derived from theory.

For example, simple algebraic expressions may be used to model observations or experimental results on different length, mass and time scales, and used to make predictions about the results of other observations or experiments, despite the fact that the expressions themselves cannot be (or have not yet been) derived from the fundamental theory of that domain of knowledge.

Another way of describing phenomenology is that it is intermediate between experiment and theory. It is more abstract and includes more logical steps than experiment, but is more directly tied to experiment than theory.

The boundaries between theory and phenomenology, and between phenomenology and experiment, are somewhat fuzzy and to some extent depend on the understanding and intuition of the scientist describing these.

Most scientists would say that a phenomenological modeling of phenomena does not constitute understanding of the phenomenon, but would also agree that it has a valid role in science.

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