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Scientific research using studies and analyses

Studies and analyses are vital to progress and innovation and are the only way to empirically verify theories.

Science and empirical studies and analyses

Not all fields of science are dependent on empirical studies and analyses to verify a thesis. Mathematics, theology, philosophy and law are examples of fields that revolve within a stand-alone world in which new findings are derived by means of logical operations consisting of axioms, postulates or articles of faith (theology) that need not be proven true or accurate through empirical studies or analyses. Although these subjects are indispensable when it comes to basic research, by themselves they don't yield technical advances.

Empirical scientific approaches are diametrically opposed to these fields however. In this case, new theories are developed based on thought processes, observations and speculation. Ensuring that this knowledge has actual scientific relevance requires that it undergo an empirical evaluation however. Researchers rely on studies and analyses to compare these theses with real observations. New scientific knowledge is considered valid only after empirical studies and analyses show that theory and reality coincide. In the process it is imperative that the studies and analyses always produce the same result under the same experiment structure. Only then it is empirically proven that the result actually behaves in line with the theory.

Using empirical studies and analyses beyond the natural sciences and engineering

The validation process for new findings based on studies and analyses as described above is in no way limited to natural and engineering sciences such as physics, biology, chemistry, medicine and health, machine engineering or aero and space engineering. In fields such as the social sciences, studies and analyses are also indispensable for empirically proving the accuracy of assumptions and conclusions. Sociology uses empirical-based statistics, studies and analyses to determine if statements about the migration behavior of specific population groups is accurate for instance. The field of psychology also relies on analyses and studies to empirically validate the assumptions of certain behavior patterns.

Progress and innovation through empirical studies and analyses

Before the Enlightenment changed our way of thinking, universities tended to postulate and speculate more than perform scientific research. Innovations therefore were apt be accidental. Once researchers were convinced that scientific results were only possible through the use of empirical studies and analysis, the groundwork was laid for the rapid advances in science that followed. Empirical studies and analyses range from simple experiments, particularly by measuring, weighing and counting, to extremely complex processes that require an enormous amount of time and money. Determining the validity of scientific theories using empirical assurances is one of the prerequisites for implementing these theories in practice. When a specific fact has been confirmed and documented based on studies and analyses, the assumption is that it will remain a fact in the future under the same premises. Only then does it make sense to develop new technologies based on this knowledge, because this provides sufficient proof of the assumption that they always function in the same manner.

Two historical examples of progress based on studies and analyses

Gregor Mendel's studies and analyses on genetics provided empirical proof of his theories of heredity, which then led to modern plant breeding and the establishment of food security for millions of people. The effectiveness of penicillin, another invaluable innovation for mankind, was empirically proven by Alexander Fleming through medical studies and analyses.

Studies and Analyses

innovations-report maintains a wealth of in-depth studies and analyses from a variety of subject areas including business and finance, medicine and ph

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Risk-taking propensity changes, especially in young adulthood and in older age

A study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in collaboration with the University of Basel, Yale University, and the longitudinal German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study at DIW Berlin provides insights into how and in which domains people’s propensity to take risks changes with age. The results indicate that individual risk-taking propensity can be seen as a facet of personality that is subject to change. The study’s results have been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and are available online as SOEPpaper No. 816.

Although the propensity to take risks on average decreases over the lifespan, it is particularly susceptible to change in young adulthood up to the age of...

29.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

Designing a pop-up future

Simple origami fold may hold the key to designing pop-up furniture, medical devices and scientific tools

What if you could make any object out of a flat sheet of paper?

27.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

Worldwide electricity production vulnerable to climate and water resource change

Climate change impacts on rivers and streams may substantially reduce electricity production capacity around the world. A new study calls for a greater focus on adaptation efforts in order to maintain future energy security.

Climate change impacts and associated changes in water resources could lead to reductions in electricity production capacity for more than 60% of the power...

05.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

First code improvements adopted based on NIST Joplin tornado study

Protecting schools and their associated high-occupancy buildings from the most violent tornadoes is the goal of the first approved building code changes based on recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) technical investigation into the impacts of the deadly tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011.

The new changes, approved at a recent meeting of the International Code Council (ICC), apply to the nation's most tornado-prone regions. Enhanced protection...

08.12.2015 | nachricht Read more

Negative emissions no silver bullet for climate change mitigation

There are significant constraints to large-scale deployment of negative emissions technologies in the future to reach climate change targets, according to a new study including research of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). Published today in Nature Climate Change, it demonstrates the potential environmental, economic, and energy impacts of negative emission technologies for addressing climate change. The study comes at a time when UN climate negotiators currently meet in Paris at the world climate summit COP21 and emphasizes that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced aggressively and immediately.

Negative emission technologies aim to remove carbon dioxide (CO2), a major driver of climate change, from the atmosphere. They include relatively simple...

08.12.2015 | nachricht Read more

Automated driving is a huge opportunity

Study investigates the potential for highly automated driving in Germany

Highly automated driving will have achieved technical maturity before 2020. That is the result of a study carried out by Fraunhofer IAO and other partners on...

02.12.2015 | nachricht Read more

Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

26.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Network analysis shows systemic risk in mineral markets

A shortage of a rare mineral could spur global market instabilities, according to a new analysis of international commodity trade networks.

Shortages of natural resources—minerals such as copper, aluminum, and mercury—could lead to cascading shocks and lead to instabilities in the global trade...

16.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

NIST study of Colorado wildfire shows actions can change outcomes

A new study of Colorado's devastating 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire demonstrates that prompt and effective action can significantly change the outcome of fires that occur in areas where residential communities and undeveloped wildlands meet. The study by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the most comprehensive examination in history of a wildland urban interface (WUI) fire.

"WUI fires are very different from earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados where the hazard cannot be controlled," said NIST fire researcher and principal...

10.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Learning in your sleep – the right way

You can swot up on vocabulary in your sleep – but only if you don’t confuse your brain in the process. Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation have invited people to their sleep lab for a Dutch language course.

You can’t learn new things in your sleep. Nevertheless, if you’ve been learning vocabulary in a foreign language, it can be highly effective to hear these...

28.10.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

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