32 THE INTELLIGENT SOLUTION OF PROBLEMS Observation Involves Both Analysis and Synthesis. One has not really observed a building until he has taken it apart (analysis) so that he can see and measure each individual part. On the other hand, one has not really seen a building until it is constructed, even though he may have seen each individual part and has studied the architectural drawings. A watch cannot be observed adequately when taken apart; it must be running in order to permit the most meaningful observations. Putting things together is what is meant by synthesis. Thus analysis breaks things down so that each part can be observed. whereas synthesis puts things together so that the behavior of combinations of things can be observed. As a rule analysis precedes Synthesis. New Instruments Make New Observations Possible. The invention of new instruments is one of the most important contributions to the advancement of knowledge. Thousands of instruments have been invented to enable man to make more exact and more accurate observations: for example, the modern automobile mechanic uses gas analyzers to enable him to make better carburetor adjustments; the criminologist uses polygraphs to detect lies; physicists use cyclotrons to study changes in the nuclei of atoms; and the modern electron microscope extends the range of the study of micro-organisms still further. Measurement Is the Master Art. In obtaining data, the scientist must describe objects or phenomena as accurately as possible; and in nearly every case, such a description involves quantitative measurements, which must be expressed mathematically. Measurements of high precision are prerequisite to the mass production of modern machines with their interchangeable parts. Measurement is not only essential to the best architecture, sculpture, painting, or music, but it is the foundation of the exact knowledge which is known as Science. The modern theory of measurement is based on the assumption that nearly all physical phenomena may be measured in terms of length, mass, and time.^ Units of measurement, i.e., importance. standards for comparison, are of great It would be interesting to study the gradual evolution of such units as the fathom, the pace, the cubit, the foot, the span, the acre, the bushel, the quart, the gallon, the pound, and the ton. Everyone who has spent so much of his time in school learning the units in ' The units of time are discussed in Unit 2, Section 9.
OBSERVATIONS MUST BE CONTROLLED 33 the English system of measurement, which date back to the time of Edward I (1324), should do his part to hasten the time when the modern simple metric system is universally adopted. Modern Science has made possible the development of communication and transportation throughout the world to such an extent that the progress of civilization will be seriously impeded unless a uniform system of units of measures and exchange is adopted. In 1790 the French National Assembly appointed a committee to set up a permanent standard of weights and measures. This committee selected as the unit of length approximately one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator. This unit, the meter, is now taken as the distance between two marks on a platinum-iridium bar (at 0° centigrade) kept in the archives of the International Metric Commission at Paris, and of which duplicates are possessed by most of the leading nations of the world. The Metric System Is the Decimal System Applied to All Tjrpes of Measurements. Mass. Gram (mass of a cubic centimeter of pure water at 4° C.) Kilogram (1000 grams) Milligram (0.001 gram) Length. Meter (length of a standard prototype in Paris at 0° C.) It was intended to be one ten-millionth of the mean distance from the equator to the North Pole. Centimeter (0.01 meter) Millimeter (0.001 meter) Micron (0.000,001 meter) Millimicron (0.000,000,001 meter) Angstrom (0.000,000,000,1 meter) Micromicron (0.000,000,000,001 meter) Kilometer (1000 meters) Volume. Liter (volume of a kilogram of water at its maximum density, 3.98° C.) Milliliter (0.001 liter) The Educated Person Knows Where to Obtain the Data That He Needs to Solve His Problems. Inasmuch as the majority of observations require specialized training and instruments to obtain them, it is not possible for any one to observe for himself all of the data that he requires for the solution of his problems. One of the marks of an educated man is that he knows not only what kind of information is needed and where it can be located but