The Sciences

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Science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge' is a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as the organized body of knowledge gained through such research."science" defined by various dictionaries at "". Science as defined here is sometimes termed pure science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of scientific research to specific human needs.

Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines:

These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being tested for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions.

Mathematics, which is sometimes classified within a third group of science called formal science, has both similarities and differences with the natural and social sciences. It is similar to empirical sciences in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods. Formal science, which also includes statistics and logic, is vital to the empirical sciences. Major advances in formal science have often led to major advances in the physical and biological sciences. The formal sciences are essential in the formation of hypotheses, theories, and laws, both in discovering and describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences).


The word science comes through the Old French, and is derived from the Latin word Template:Lang for knowledge, which in turn comes from Template:Lang. 'I know'. The Indo-European root means to discern or to separate, akin to Sanskrit Template:Transl, he cuts off, Greek Template:Transl, to split, Latin Template:Lang, to split.Etymology of "science" at Etymology Online. From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, science or scientia meant any systematic recorded knowledge. The Natures of Science, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, New York, ISBN 0838633218 Science therefore had the same sort of very broad meaning that philosophy had at that time. In other languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, the word corresponding to science also carries this meaning.

From classical times until the advent of the modern era, "philosophy" was roughly divided into natural philosophy and moral philosophy. In the 1800s, the term natural philosophy gradually gave way to the term natural science. Natural science was gradually specialized to its current domain, which typically includes the physical sciences and biological sciences. The social sciences, inheriting portions of the realm of moral philosophy, are currently also included under the auspices of science to the extent that these disciplines use empirical methods. As currently understood, moral philosophy still retains the study of ethics, regarded as a branch of philosophy.

Today, the primary meaning of "science" is generally limited to empirical study involving use of the scientific method.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag Discussion and debate abound in this topic with some fields like the social and behavioural sciences accused by critics of being unscientific. In fact, many groups of people from academicians like Nobel Prize physicist Percy W. Bridgman,[1] or Dick Richardson, Ph.D.—Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin,[2] (Economics is NOT Natural Science! (It is technology of Social Science.) The University of Texas at Austin [3] Behavioral and Social Science Are Under Attack in the Senate, American Sociological Association oppose giving their support or agreeing with the use of the label "science" in some fields of study and knowledge they consider non-scientific or scientifically irrelevant compared with other fields.

Scientific institutions

Learned societies for the communication and promotion of scientific thought and experimentation have existed since the Renaissance period. The oldest surviving institution is the Accademia dei Linceiin Italy. National Academy of Sciences are distinguished institutions that exist in a number of countries, beginning with the British Royal Society in 1660 and the FrenchAcadémie des Sciences in 1666.

International scientific organizations, such as the International Council for Science, have since been formed to promote cooperation between the scientific communities of different nations. More recently, influential government agencies have been created to support scientific research, including the National Science Foundation in the U.S.

Other prominent organizations include:

See also

Main lists: List of basic science topics and List of science topics




  • Feyerabend, Paul K. 2005. Science, history of the philosophy of. Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford.
  • Papineau, David. 2005. Science, problems of the philosophy of. Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford.

Further reading

External links




  • The Vega Science Trust Hours of science video including scientific lectures (Feynman, Kroto, Davis, etc.), discussions (nanotechnology, GM, stem cells, etc.), career programmes, interviews with Nobel Laureates, and school resources.
  • United States Science Initiative. Selected science information provided by U.S. Government agencies, including research and development results.[4]