Importance of Repeatable Experiments in Science


Experiments have an important place in the development of science because experiments are used to test the reality of a thought, an axiom, or a phenomenon with a theoretical basis and to turn it into a law or a theorem such as Newton laws. However, in some cases, the results obtained from a single experiment do not resemble reality completely. In other words, obtaining the desired result in an experiment does not mean that the axiom in question is absolutely correct. Results may change over different trials or different conditions. Therefore, it is important that the experiment itself should be repeatable.

A repeatable experiment should yield the same results when conducted by different people at different times and preferably —but not necessarily— under similar conditions. Scientists performing repeatable experiments must be well-known in their fields and have no connection to the claimant. The more a theory or an axiom is supported by experiments, the more its validity is accepted. Therefore, repeatable experiments are of great importance for scientists who want to present more successful and valid academic work. In fact, the first results obtained in experiments on a subject are often not accepted by the scientific world. If the result does not change in different trials under similar or the same conditions, the reliability of the experiment and ideas supported by the experiment becomes more convincing. Repeated experiments have greatly contributed to the scientific world and academic studies.

Realizing Changes

One of the most important benefits of repeatable experiments in the world is the opportunity to discover different phenomena. Repeatable experiments performed under different conditions help reach new data and observations that could not be obtained in the first experiment and reveal new ideas. Additionally, they have the advantage of increasing the number of different ways to reach the correct conclusion.

On the other hand, repeatable experiments allow scientists to find contradictions with the hypotheses and to develop anti-hypotheses, which are the seeds of new theories and studies. It should not be forgotten that the history of science is full of examples of the emergence of new discoveries in experiments whose main subjects were different from the subject of the actual experiment.

Reducing Error Risks

Experiments are the most important evidence for scientific theories to be accepted. However, mistakes made during experiments may cause a theory to be completely disproven. Therefore, it is important to minimize the margin of error in experiments conducted. When it comes to reducing the margin of error in experiments, repeatable tests and identical test setups are very crucial. We have seen many cases where the scientists or researchers are using a golden bill of materials and replicating a golden setup which has been used by another group somewhere in some time. In this way, the risk of making an error and selecting a wrong component will highly reduce.

Verification of Results

In order to verify the results obtained in scientific research, there is a need to generate more data and copy these data. The more the claim put forward in the article is exemplified by experiments and trials, the more strongly its accuracy is confirmed. Therefore, there is a positive correlation between the number of repetitions of the experiments performed and the authority of scientific research. However, it is important that repeated tests are not carried out by the same people or under the exact same conditions. What is essentially meant by the concept of repeatable experiment is repeating the experiment with different people under different conditions.

Reusable Repeatable Experiment Setups

Developments in the field have created several transformations in science and experimentation, as in all areas of life. Especially, the fact that repeated experiments have become more important has led to the birth of a new type of experiment system called remotely accessible experiments. Some of the systems falling under the automatic control research field are:

• Linear Inverted Pendulum: Pendulums are one of the laboratory tools used to show how to balance a vertical bar located at the end of a movable arm. Linear inverted pendulums are used extensively especially in experiments in engineering branches. Linear inverted pendulums, one of the indispensable tools for research in control systems, are used heavily in repeatable experiments to prove different algorithms and methods.

• X-Dof Helicopter: 1/2/3-DOF helicopters are one of the frequently preferred test tools for understanding the flight dynamics and flight control systems. These laboratory tools have great benefits for students to understand the main subjects of control engineering. The X-Dof helicopter, which enables students to develop their own real-time algorithms, is among the tools used in repeatable experiments.

Contribution of Remotely Accessible Laboratories to Repeatable Experiments

Remotely accessible laboratories, developed using smart control experiment systems, make a great contribution to performing experiments that require repetition. Repeating an experiment multiple times in traditional laboratories has some disadvantages such as spending more time and being limited to a specific physical space. Remotely accessible laboratories, on the other hand, enable resetting and reproducing the same experiment in a short time for many times. Moreover, using such laboratories and tools inside them reduce the initial purchase costs and maintenance costs meanwhile maximize the usage and up-time compared to traditional test systems.

The need for remotely accessible laboratories that are always ready to be used by students and researchers has become more widespread in the recent Covid-19 pandemic. This innovation of remote laboratories has opened a new era in the field of education and especially in applied sciences. As a result of this situation, many universities and research institutions have started changing their teaching and research models in favor of remotely accessible laboratory devices.



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