I’m not sure how these things get constructed, but if it’s by whanging on stuff with a metaphorical hammer and sorting through the mess to see what happened then I would guess that discovered is a perfectly valid term.
Yes, I considered that point of view, but it seems to me the only thing you’ve discovered in that scenario is that your experimental technique works to achieve the desired result.
Nothing important; I was just musing about the words.
I recently saw The Martian and there’s a scene where he’s recounting the problems he’s facing with regards to making a necessary journey and he says his only hope is to “science the shit” out of things and it rang odd to me because I saw every one of his issues as an engineering problem, adapting existing equipment to new tasks, so I would have said “engineer the shit” until I remembered the character was a botanist, and they, of course, see themselves as scientists, not engineers. I’ve met physics professors who were of the Sheldon Cooper school and looked down on engineers as being those who served a lesser god. The whole “discovering new elements” deal seems like pure engineering at this point, but then I don’t exactly move in those circles and I’m a pragmatist by nature so I have mad respect for engineering. Science often blurs the line between art and craft.
So Dave’s comment about “discovery” being what scientists do sorta fits in with all that.