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What is phenomenology

Reach not for you dictionary; make no vain efforts to pronounce it; we will come clean and explain all.

Science is noted for a competitive and helpful interaction between theorists and experimentalists. Unfortunately in almost all developing sciences, the moving hand of time drives a widening wedge between theory and experiment. Thus theorists are fully occupied in the mathematical and philosophical intricacies of their latest ideas. Again, experimentalists must concentrate on the design of their apparatus to insure they will get the best possible results current technology will allow. Phenomenology seeks to close the gap between those once close friends, theory and experiment, and so restore the interaction which is both vital to and characteristic of science. Although a classical concept, phenomenology is best known in its second-quantized form.

Phenomenology is the link

The basic tool of the phenomenologist is, first, the construction of simple models that embody important theoretical ideas, and then, the critical comparison of these models with all relevant experimental data. It follows that a phenomenologist must combine a broad understanding of theory with a complete knowledge of current and future feasible experiments in order to allow him to interact meaningfully with both major branches of a science. The impact of phenomenology is felt in both theory and experiment. Thus it can pinpoint unexpected experimental observations and so delineate areas where new theoretical ideas are needed. Further it can suggest the most useful experiments to be done to test the latest theories. This is especially important in these barren days where funds are limited, experiments take many physicist-years to complete, and theories are multitudinous and complicated.