Studying Scientific Discovery by Computer Simulation

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Science  02 Dec 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4627, pp. 971-975
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4627.971


BACON is a computer program that simulates some of the important processes of scientific discovery. When provided with data about temperatures before and after two substances are brought into contact, the program infers the concept of specific heat and arrives at Black's law of temperature equilibrium. Comparison of BACON's discovery methods with historical records of Black's work casts light on the relation between data-driven and theory-driven discovery.