It's a very small part of it. Documentation, communication, cooperation, improvization, analysis of the results, prediction, begging for budget, all of these are aspects of the field among many others.If I’m not mistaken, the most important part isn’t memorizing equations, it’s coming up with the systematic modes of thought that can be used to obtain new knowledge, which may or may not involve equations being used to describe the effects in detail. Think of the simplest aspects of physics, like Newton’s laws of motion. The equations for all of it came first from an intuitive grasp of how objects in motion and at rest react to one another. That is to say, in order to describe the world, one must first see it in action, through experiment and verification.
Science is a lot more complicated than people take it for. Experiment is all about isolating the effect you wish to verify. Some experimenters who engage in bad science don’t isolate all the variables enough, and then assume that their results have a specific cause, but they fail to recognize that the experiment’s results were tainted by an unrecognized, outside factor. A good example is mouse maze experiments. How many senses does a mouse have? How do they react to their environment? What do you have to do to disable each one of their senses? Is turning down the lights and playing white noise enough to blind them visually and acoustically? If you fail to take into account all the possibilities, you can get skewed results. It’s a process of elimination.
Does that sound about right, or am I off base?