When can a Computer Simulation act as Substitute for an Experiment? A Case-Study from Chemisty

Johannes Kästner and Eckhart Arnold

3 Case Study: Simulation of H-2-Formation in Outer Space

We examine the question under what preconditions a simulation can serve as a substitute for an experiment with the example of a recently published simulation of $H_2$-enrichment in outer space by Goumans/Kaestner (2010). This example was chosen, because it fits quite well with the idea of an “experiment-surrogate”. Also, it is simple enough to highlight the epistemologically important aspects. At the same time it is a case study from real science and not merely a stylized example for didactic purposes.