Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Best Solution is Often the Simplest Solution

All true scientists, regardless of science field, follow the scientific method when doing research and arriving at a conclusion.  The steps are as follows:

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

The exact wording will vary depending on which website is describing the scientific method.  The above steps I copied from the Science Buddies website.  The last step of communicating your results will also often state that the "best solution is usually simplest solution".  This isn't always true, but it's a good rule of thumb to follow.

The point of this blog post is that I failed to take the best=simplest statement into consideration the other night.  After returning from Christmas break travel I had to unpack the car.  With a 2 and 5 year old, the back seat gets pretty messy.  During the trip, the batteries to my 5 year old's V-tech computer went dead.  While driving, my 2 year old took out the batteries and 'lost' them in the car.  After unpacking the car, I still couldn't find the 4 missing AA batteries.  These were rechargeable batteries, so finding them was important.  I decided they must have fallen underneath the seat and/or car seats.  I proceeded to take out the car seats, but still no batteries.  I took out the cushions and still no batteries.  I looked in the pockets behind the front seats, but still no batteries.  Where the heck could the batteries have gone?  Finally, while getting out of the car, a thought popped into my head.  "I bet that little stinker put all 4 of those batteries in the small bucket/pocket in the car door."  I turned around, and sure enough, there they were.  I took all that time taking out the car seats and cushions, and all along, they were sitting in the door.

Although I'm a science person and should have known better, I failed to first consider the simplest possible solution, and thus wasted a lot of time.  

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