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Hitting the Books: How the interplay of science and technology brought about iPhones

Scientific research and technological advancement have gone hand-in-hand since the ability of the motor. Without research, there is a shortage of the knowledge base to advance the position of technology and, without technological advancement we lack the functional base for further technical investigate. In their new book, The Genesis of Technoscientific Revolutions, Harvard University Professor of Technology and Public Policy, Venkatesh Narayanamurti, and Sandia National Laboratory Senior Scientist, Jeffrey Y. Tsao, explore the symbiotic relationship between these two concepts and how their interaction might be modulated to better serve the rapidly accelerating pace of 21 st century technoscientific discovery.

Genesis of Technoscientific RevolutionsHarvard University Press

Excerpted from THE GENESIS OF TECHNOSCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS: RETHINKING THE NATURE AND NURTURE OF RESEARCH by VENKATESH NARAYANAMURTI AND JEFFREY Y. TSAO, published by Harvard University Press. Copyright( c) 2021 including the president and Fellows of Harvard College. Used by dispensation. All freedoms reserved.

The Network Is Hierarchical: The Nesting of Questions and Answers

The way in which scientific and technological knowledge are hierarchical roots from the nesting discussed in the last chapter, both of scientific facts and explanations and of technological performs and the forms that fulfill them.

fig 2-1Harvard University Press

In science, among the priorities of the hierarchy are realities — raw decorations in celebrated phenomena. These decorations can be thought of as questions: Why does a particular pattern occur? Why when one liberates a missile does the lump fail and transgression faster the farther it has fallen? Explanations of those raw motifs come a grade below in the hierarchy, and can be thought of as answers to those questions: Galileo’s sixteenth-century explanation of the discovered distance-versus-time pattern was that the velocities of falling balls increase linearly with term. But this answer, or excuse, becomes itself another question: Why do the velocities of falling balls increase linearly with day? This question sidesteps a deeper justification, a deeper refute: Newton’s explanation was that gravity is a force, that uniform magnetisms effect uniform acceleration, and that dres acceleration makes linear increases in velocity. Scientific understanding is always incomplete, of course, so there is always a point at which we have no deeper explanation. This in no way detracts from the capability of the justifications that do exist: science endeavours proximate whys but does not insist on ultimate whys. The general relativity theory illustrates Newton’s laws of gravity, even if its own origin is yet to be explained.

In technology, among the priorities of the hierarchy are human-desired gatherings. These performs present troubles that are solved by forms below them in the hierarchy. Forms fulfill roles, but those assembles present brand-new questions that must be solved at successively deeper positions. Altering from the problem-solution nomenclature to the equivalent question-answer nomenclature, we can say that the iPhone represented a technological question: How do we create an Internet-capable cellular phone with a software-programmable interactive expose? A incomplete reaction came in the form of multi touch capacitive skin-deeps, opening up a significant design space for customer interaction when variou paws are exercised simultaneously. But the opaqueness of existing multitouch surfaces itself became a question: How do we prepare multi touch faces translucent so that the spectacle is visible? The multi style transparent face flaunt required an answer.

In other oaths, science and technology are both organized into hierarchies of question-and-answer duos, with any question or answer having two “faces.” One face, moment downward in the hierarchy, represents a question to an answer merely below it in the hierarchy. The other face, pointing upward in the hierarchy, represents an answer to a question merely above it in the hierarchy. We emphasize that our depiction of questions as “above” explanations and reactions as “below” questions is arbitrary — it does not show relative importance or appreciate but is simply intended to be consistent with common application. In science, an explanation is deeper and more “foundational” than the facts of the case it clarifies, peculiarly if it extrapolates to explanations of many other realities. Special relativity is, in that sense, deeper than the constancy of c because it explanations the question of why c is constant; it also explanations the question of how much exertion is liberated during nuclear fission and synthesi. In technology, forms are deeper and more “foundational” than the runs they are complying with, especially if they have been adapted to fulfill many other functions. The multi way translucent skin-deep spectacle is more foundational than the iPhone because it not only cures answer the question of how to create the iPhone, but too helps answer the question of how to create human-interactive displays in general. Rubber is more foundational than a bicycle tire because it not only helps answer the question of how to create a bicycle tire, but also cures answer the question of how to create a myriad of another kind of tires.

The Network Is Modular: Facilitating Exploitation and Exploration

Closely related scientific questions and refutes are organized into what we might call technical arenas, which we will refer to as scientific knowledge modules. Closely interacting technological problems and solutions are organized into engineered factors, which we will refer to as technological learning modules.

fig 2-2Harvard University Press

Closely related scientific questions are often answerable within a scientific knowledge domain, or scientific knowledge module, reaping on numerou subdomains nested within the larger domain. A question related to some electron transport phenomenon in a particular semiconductor structure lies in the broad domain of semiconductor discipline but the answer might are in need of integrated understanding of both the subdomain of electron vehicle physics as well as the subdomain of the materials science of the synthesized formation. The subquestion associated with electron transport physics might are in need of integrated to improve understanding of the subdomain of electrons in all kinds of structures( volume materials, heterojunctions, nanostructures, married nanostructures) and of the sub-subdomains of interactions of electrons with phonons in those structures. The subquestion associated with the materials science of the synthesized arrangement might require an understanding of the sub-subdomains of substrates and epitaxy, thin cinemas, or affix materials synthesis fabrication. In other words, we can think of scientific knowledge domains as a modular hierarchy, and think of its subdomains as submodules and sub-submodules.

Closely pertained technological questions, likewise, are often solved by key technological constituents, or technological insight modules, perhaps integrating variou subcomponents nested within the larger factors. An iPhone is a component itself composed of numerous subcomponents, and each subcomponent is similarly subdivided. We can think of the “problem” of the iPhone as a component that is “solved” by its subcomponents — an pen, a presentation, a published circuit card, a camera, and input/ output ports. We can think of the “problem” of a reproduced circuit card as a subcomponent that is “solved” by sub-components that include low-power integrated circuit microchips. Conversely, an iPhone is also a component that is itself nested in a hierarchy of use capacities. An iPhone might be used as a solution to the problem of “running” a text-messaging app; a text-messaging app might be used as a solution to the problem of sending a mass text message to a friend radical; the mass textbook letter might be used as a solution to the problem of organizing the friend group into a demonstrate in Times Square; and the assert in Times Square might be part of a solution to the problem of organizing a wider social movement for some human-desired social cause.

One might invite: Why is scientific and technological knowledge modular? They are modular because they are complex adaptive arrangements — systems being supported by and adapted to their environment by complex internal alters — and virtually all complex adaptive systems are modular( Simon, 1962 ). Complex adaptive arrangements both manipulate their environments and explore their environments to improve that exploitation. Modularity enables economy, both in the exploitation of existing knowledge about the environment and expedition of that environment to create new knowledge.

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