Subtle differences

The most important scientific discoveries are not always spectacular-looking at first glance. They can instead lie well hidden in hard-won decimal places and it is only after careful analysis, complicated calculations and theoretical understanding that everything is revealed.

The pursuit of science is impossible without experiments and observations. The most basic tasks of science are to measure and observe, carefully noticing and recording everything that happens in the natural world. From these experiences it is then up to the researcher to identify connections, draw conclusions and formulate theories.

The history of scientific progress can be told in different ways. It can be presented as a dramatic narrative of revolutionary new theories and ideas overthrowing the old,  and of major paradigm shifts in which one worldview replaces another.

But there is a more accurate way to narrrate this story, as a tale of scientific knowledge growing step by step and decimal place by decimal place. Subtle and seemingly unimportant differences can play a crucial part if they are used to confirm or reject a theory, or provide clues about something completely new that nobody has ever before imagined.