Science, From Variety to Unity

I encountered this quote: “Science is nothing else than the search to discover unity in the wild variety of nature — or more exactly, in the variety of our experience.” When I was reading Leon Lederman’s The God Particle (ISBN 978–0–618–71168–0) in college. This quote is actually borrowed from Jacob Bronowski, a British mathematician, and the original quote goes something like this: “The progress of science is the discovery at each step of a new order which gives unity to what had long seemed unlike.”

I remember when I first saw this quote, I had to stop in the middle of the book, repeated this particular sentence multiple times, and jotted it down on a notebook because it really made me start connecting pieces of science I learned over the years.

From the first thing we start learning in school, as simple as 1+1=2, can be an example of finding unity in variety, because this applies to all logical activities: one apple plus one apple equals two apples, one man plus one man is two men, etc. People quickly realized that this is universally true regardless of the object, and that one thing of a kind adding to itself will always yield two. Similarly, when Newton first started noticing the phenomenon of gravity, he realized that no matter the object is ball or feather, they all obey G=mg, and that is how he found unity within a variety of events and concluded the law of gravity. This applies to all the scientifically acknowledged laws out there, and it is the essence of scientific discovery.

The fact that science will always remain incomplete and that it is ever evolving, is great news for the scientist community because there is always room for new discoveries. It takes careful observations and examinations of new phenomena to capture the gist of it and come up with an all-inclusive, universal law, and the universality and repeatability of such law indicate that it had came from variety to unity.

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