Observations, Simulations, and Reasoning in Astrophysics
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2022
Astrophysics faces methodological challenges as a result of being a predominantly observation-based science without access to traditional experiments. In light of these challenges, astrophysicists frequently rely on computer simulations. Using collisional ring galaxies as a case study, I argue that computer simulations play three roles in reasoning in astrophysics: (1) hypothesis testing, (2) exploring possibility space, and (3) amplifying observations.
- Physical Sciences
- Philosophy of Science , Volume 87 , Issue 5: PSA 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 biennial meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II Symposia Papers , December 2020 , pp. 1209 - 1220
- Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association
I thank Barry Madore, Michael Weisberg, and Marja Seidel for fruitful discussions on this topic and for our ongoing collaborative projects. I would also like to thank Lucas Dunlap, Angela Potochnik, and the anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article. This work was supported by National Science Foundation award SES-1557138.