REVIEW: Frederick Grinnell, The Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic

Cory Lewis


Frederick Grinnell’s “Everyday Practice of Science” is an ambitious attempt to survey the methodological issues facing practicing scientists. His examples and anecdotes are mainly drawn from his own field of biochemistry, which he argues is representative of the scientific method in general because, quoting Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Medawar, “Biologists work very close to the frontier between bewilderment and understanding.”(p.4) Grinnell’s goal is to explore the ambiguity and messiness of actual scientific practice, but not with an eye to undermine its credibility. Rather, he tries to show how the day-to-day practice of science functions to generate reliable hypotheses from the complexity of reality.

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