an experiment (of Latin experimentum „attempt, proof, examination, sample “) in the sense of the science is an experimental setup methodically put on.
It serves the purposeful investigation of one - under defined conditions (basic condition) reproducibly caused - feature. One can experiments as questions to nature imagine.

The experiment is the most important scientific method, in order to experience something over the reality. The material conversion and/or. the execution of the experiment is the attempt. The evaluation of the test results is the conclusion. Thus new realizations are won or supported or disproved hypotheses.
In interaction with a model experiments are the basis of a theory.

With theory and practice of an experiment the Experimentatorik , in addition, the applied are concerned Ethics.

The experiment is thus a substantial component in the scientific progress process. With the development of science and instruments it attained not only ever greater importance for the society, but it changed thereby also its character. Apart from the function inthe science, in which it goes on Galileo Galilei back, experiments are a didactical method. Except by scientific training experimentally won realizations find the direct entrance into the general understanding over the art.

Table of contents

observation and experiment

definition of the experiment in a sentence:
„An experiment is an arbitrary interference into a naturalExpiration, which according to plan, controlled and expectation defined condition constellations with the goal causes of examining the consequences of this interference as comprehensively as possible. “(Muhsal, 1999).

The experiment actually forms a whole from observer and observation object, for the tools and methods as well as the observation procedure. That in particular the observer is a component of the experiment, is one of the fundamental realizations of the modern science theory. Therefore an experiment differs from the pure view by the fact that first an exactly defined situation is prepared. The behavior becomes subsequently,the prepared system observes and/or measured, and with the forecasts of the underlying model compared. In this way a statement made in a theory (thesis/hypothesis) can be examined and the experiment can these either support ordisprove.

The experiment does not only permit to study, what falls immediately in the eye, but also what does not come in the depth of the feature obviously to the expression. In particular also theories can be examined , those over the term of the compatibilityStatements about unobservable in principle meet, as they are used in theoretical physics and the cosmology.

If one follows Karl Poppers critical rationalism, (Hypo) theses cannot be proven in principle (to verify), but only disprove (falsifizieren). Does not disprove the experiment the hypothesis , this can be understood however as supporting of the hypothesis.See also: Falsifizierbarkeit.


the Experimentatorik is concerned with theoretical and practical aspects, which criteria an experiment has to fulfill, thus methodology and the equipment.

It is demanded by a scientific experiment that it supplies measurable results, and that it is comprehensibly, repeatable and objective, i.e. that the same result results, if it is repeated by different persons, at different places and/or at different times:

  • The measurability is in the self understanding of the science an indispensable condition, and distinguishes it from Metaphysik, Pseudowissenschaft and religion as well as Esoterik . The science defines itself in this sense as the quantity of all possible experiments: Which by the Experimentatorik -at least potientiell - not detectably is, is not part of the science, and this does not meet any statement about a possible truth content. A theory, still no experiments contained, which disprove it (falsifizieren) could, remains hypothesis.
  • The results of measurement must quantifiably its, thus such, which can be represented and compared in a standardized system of units.
  • In the EN experiment differs the observation of the perception by its observer independence: With each attempt it is to exclude (which is often not considered sufficient) thatexpectations - and even its pure presence - experimenter its influence on the result of the attempt have. Effects, which can lead to misinterpretations, like the Konfundierungseffekt in the psychology or an artifact (social research), in addition, about those Gravitation forces, which a person exercises on the experimental assembly, must be excluded by methodology.
  • The test log for the reproductibility , which is usually led in a laboratory journal , is necessary. An experiment is only considered as successful if it of one independent instance reconstructed is. In order to be able and average values form to measure stochastic measuring errors, become usually several attempt passages accomplished.

At schools and universities didactically prepared attempts are accomplished, in order to clarify circumstances and to learn scientific working. Forlower age groups compiles one experimentation boxes, that are component systems and teaching material for attempts in the self-instruction.

Contrary to the lab test - a measurement under defined conditions, accomplished in the laboratory - in the field test (in principle) without change of natural conditions one observes.

Thought experiments are experiments, which are not really implemented, but serve only for clarifying circumstances. Occasionally will it later possible to examine the thought experiment than material experiment.

Experiments of the Experimentatorik themselves - for the positive proof of a characteristic of an observation instrument orits operability - one calls test, thus z. B. the significance test. An investigation on the reciprocal effects between the observer and the remaining experimental setup is an observation of second order.

Attempts with persons - and also bioassays - throwspecial problems of the applied ethics up. Here the adherence to the guidelines is indispensable over scientific experiments. Methodically one differentiates thereby genuine experiments and quasi-experiments.

experimental sciences

by the progress in theory, Experimentatorik and interdiscipline airty have themselvesin some disciplines particularly on experiments develop aligned fields of activity, so experimental physics, the experimental psychology, the experimental economics or the experimental archaeology. Also numeric mathematics can be regarded as experimental discipline.

  • A natural science, those to a large extent on experimentsto do without, if one foresees from experiments to the improvement of the observation, is the astronomy had. On the other hand space travel experimental astronomy can be called. Each enterprise has an experimental character: So z had. B. the first generation of the government inspection departments - satellite oneSecurity on board if general relativity theory is not correct.
  • Long time was biology a purely describing science. That does not apply to today's biology any longer. The biological experiment permitted for example through do not only vary the test conditions,to determine almost accurately the character of the determining effects on one process which can be examined to accelerate or slow down but also those processes and thus the investigation accessible become let, those in the natural process either extremely slowly or toofast for the evaluation of the experiment run off, in order to be fixed sufficiently exactly and completely.
  • Also in the spirit and social sciences there are experiments. The majority of the Geisteswissenschaft is however typically not-experimentally justified.

There are differences between experiments to that Natural sciences and the technology. The experiments in the natural science are oriented causal and regard thus the relationship between a cause and effect. Experiments in the technology are final and regard thus the relationship between purpose and means.

famous experiments

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The experiment in the art

„chalk rock on Rügen “(in order 1818)

it belongs to the actual nature of the European art, with the natural science to argue intensively. A separation is still not at all old actually in science and art so, tointo the Renaissance both were considered as indispensable components of a human education.

An aspect of the relationship between experiment and art it is to be cooperated that artists of all epochs tried to convert the newest realizations artistically thus directly in the interpretation of the results. AsExamples are here mentioned:

  • The invention of the Zentralperspektive is actually to be assigned to the art, and became only then investigation area of geometry.
  • Outstanding the work of Leonardo da Vinci is, its works as direct application of its inventions and experiments toointerpret are.
  • When artistic topic appears the illustration of viewers - an observation of second order - in the time after the clearing-up, when the romance tried, a counterweight to of humans a strictly separated - and it superior -To create cosmos, so in the Bildwerk of Caspar David Friedrich, with which the viewer of the works can observe very frequently persons in the foreground, those a landscape o.a. regards - it platziert pretty often in such a way that these more can seeas it.
  • The photographic investigations of movements of Eadweard Muybridge represent both a scientific and an artistic experiment.
  • The work series of René of liking rides and M.C. E strictly epistemological experiments are, however without methodical evaluation.

On the other hand is art workin its urge after the new one experimentally actually. Contrary to the scientific experiment the artistic is not necessarily reproducibly, partly refuses it this demand even intentionally. It is to serve for it, new possibilities of the expression of finding the medium thingsto see or do in a way, how they were not seen before or were not done. Creativity makes, new forms, for combinations possible, to develop perspectives. It represents thus in similar way basic research and tries, the art term tooextend or to examine. The artistic experiment can fail thereby also, approximately because of own requirements or refusal of the public.

Examples are in the experimental film, in parts of the contemporary art, in the avant-garde or new music, in addition,in the literature. In the postmodernism also parts of the Mainstreams carry experimental elements in itself (for instance in the music video). At the same time decidedly experimental works are rejected by a majority of the public (culture industry) and to fight with financial difficulties, exceptionslike Kubricks film 2001: Odyssey in space are rare.

, It is however common to both forms explicitly a question to the world represents and a whole from observer, object and observation is. And with the strictly scientific experiment they dividethe high requirements at imaginativeness and inspiration.

see also: Art term, theory of the art

see also

Wiktionary: Experiment - word origin, synonyms and translations
Wikiquote: Experiment - quotations


  • Manfred Achilles: Historical attempts thatPhysics. Functionally copied. ISBN 3-925831-14-2
  • Steven Schwartz: As Pawlow came on the dog. The 15 classical experiments of the psychology. ISBN 3407851022 (a very good practical introduction to the psychology) Klaus Hentschel
  • is simultaneous: Myths around famous experiments and experimenters: ThatFairy tale of the Zauberer in the white smock. Physics in our time 34 (5), S. 225 - 231 (2003), ISSN 0031-9252
  • Amand Fässler/Claus Jönsson (Hg.): The Top Ten of the most beautiful physical experiments. (ISBN 3-499-61628-9)

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