Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"):58 is a
systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form
of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[a]
Contemporary science is typically subdivided into the natural sciences
which study the material world, the social sciences which study people
and societies, and the formal sciences like mathematics. Some do not
consider formal sciences to be true science as theories within these
disciplines cannot be tested with physical observations,:54
although others dispute this view. Disciplines which use science
like engineering and medicine may also be considered to be applied
Science is related to research, and is normally organized
by a university, a college, or a research institute.
From classical antiquity through the 19th century, science as a type
of knowledge was more closely linked to philosophy than it is now and,
in fact, in the West the term "natural philosophy" encompassed fields
of study that are today associated with science such as physics,
astronomy, medicine, among many others.:3[b] In the 17th and 18th
centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in
terms of laws of nature. As a slow process over centuries, the word
"science" became increasingly associated with what is today known as
the scientific method, a structured way to study the natural
1.2 Medieval science
Renaissance and early modern science
1.4 Age of Enlightenment
1.5 19th century
1.6 20th century
1.7 21st century
2 Scientific method
Mathematics and formal sciences
3 Scientific community
3.1 Branches and fields
Science and society
4.1 Women in science
4.3 Media perspectives
4.4 Political usage
Science and the public
Philosophy of science
Certainty and science
5.2 Fringe science, pseudoscience, and junk science
6 Scientific practice
6.1 Basic and applied research
Research in practice
6.3 Practical impacts of scientific research
7 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
History of science
Science in a broad sense existed before the modern era and in many
historical civilizations.[c] 
Modern science is distinct in its
approach and successful in its results, so it now defines what science
is in the strictest sense of the term.
Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge
rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge. In
particular, it was the type of knowledge which people can communicate
to each other and share. For example, knowledge about the working of
natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to
the development of complex abstract thought. This is shown by the
construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous
plants edible, public works at national scale, such which those which
harnessed the floodplain of the
Yangtse with reservoirs, dams, and
dikes, and buildings such as the Pyramids. However, no consistent
conscientious distinction was made between knowledge of such things,
which are true in every community, and other types of communal
knowledge, such as mythologies and legal systems.
History of science in classical antiquity
Maize, known in some English-speaking countries as corn, is a large
grain plant domesticated by indigenous peoples in
Before the invention or discovery of the concept of "nature" (ancient
Greek phusis) by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to
be used to describe the natural "way" in which a plant grows, and
the "way" in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god.
For this reason, it is claimed these men were the first philosophers
in the strict sense, and also the first people to clearly distinguish
"nature" and "convention.":209
Science was therefore distinguished
as the knowledge of nature and things which are true for every
community, and the name of the specialized pursuit of such knowledge
was philosophy – the realm of the first philosopher-physicists.
They were mainly speculators or theorists, particularly interested in
astronomy. In contrast, trying to use knowledge of nature to imitate
nature (artifice or technology, Greek technē) was seen by classical
scientists as a more appropriate interest for lower class
The early Greek philosophers of the Milesian school, which was founded
Thales of Miletus
Thales of Miletus and later continued by his successors Anaximander
and Anaximenes, were the first to attempt to explain natural phenomena
without relying on the supernatural. The Pythagoreans developed a
complex number philosophy:467–468 and contributed significantly
to the development of mathematical science.:465 The theory of
atoms was developed by the Greek philosopher
Leucippus and his student
Democritus. The Greek doctor
Hippocrates established the
tradition of systematic medical science and is known as "The
Father of Medicine".
Aristotle, 384–322 BCE, one of the early figures in the development
of the scientific method.
A turning point in the history of early philosophical science was
Socrates' example of applying philosophy to the study of human things,
including human nature, the nature of political communities, and human
knowledge itself. The
Socratic method as documented by Plato's
dialogues is a dialectic method of hypothesis elimination: better
hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those
that lead to contradictions. This was a reaction to the Sophist
emphasis on rhetoric. The
Socratic method searches for general,
commonly held truths that shape beliefs and scrutinizes them to
determine their consistency with other beliefs. Socrates
criticized the older type of study of physics as too purely
speculative and lacking in self-criticism.
Socrates was later, in the
words of his Apology, accused "because he corrupts the youth and does
not believe in the gods the state believes in, but in other new
Socrates refuted these claims, but was
sentenced to death.: 30e
Aristotle later created a systematic programme of teleological
philosophy: Motion and change is described as the actualization of
potentials already in things, according to what types of things they
are. In his physics, the sun goes around the earth, and many things
have it as part of their nature that they are for humans. Each thing
has a formal cause, a final cause, and a role in a cosmic order with
an unmoved mover. While the Socratics insisted that philosophy should
be used to consider the practical question of the best way to live for
a human being (a study
Aristotle divided into ethics and political
philosophy), they did not argue for any other types of applied
Aristotle maintained that man knows a thing scientifically
"when he possesses a conviction arrived at in a certain way, and when
the first principles on which that conviction rests are known to him
The Greek astronomer
Aristarchus of Samos
Aristarchus of Samos (310–230 BCE) was the
first to propose the heliocentric model of the universe, with the sun
in the center and all the planets orbiting it. Aristarchus's model
was widely rejected because it was believed to violate the laws of
physics, but the inventor and mathematician
Archimedes of Syracuse
defended it in.
Archimedes himself made major contributions to the
beginnings of calculus and has sometimes been credited as its
inventor, although his proto-calculus lacked several defining
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was a Roman writer and polymath, who
wrote the seminal encyclopedia Natural History, dealing
with history, geography, medicine, astronomy, earth science, botany,
and zoology. Other scientists or proto-scientists in Antiquity
were Theophrastus, Euclid, Herophilos, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, and Galen.
During late antiquity, in the
Byzantine empire many Greek classical
texts were preserved. Many Syriac translations were done by groups
such as the Nestorians and Monophysites. They played a role when
they translated Greek classical texts into Arabic under the Caliphate,
during which many types of classical learning were preserved and in
some cases improved upon.[d] In addition, the neighboring Sassanid
Empire established the medical
Academy of Gondeshapur where Greek,
Syriac and Persian physicians established the most important medical
center of the ancient world during the 6th and 7th centuries.
De potentiis anime sensitive, Gregor Reisch (1504) Margarita
philosophica. Medieval science postulated a ventricle of the brain as
the location for our common sense, where the forms from our
sensory systems commingled.
Science in the medieval Islamic world
Because of the collapse of the
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire due to the
Migration Period a decline in intellectual level found place in the
western part of Europe in the 400s. In contrast, the Byzantine Empire
resisted the attacks from the barbarians, and preserved and improved
the learning. John Philoponus, a byzantine scholar in the 500s, was
the first scholar ever to question Aristotle's teaching of physics and
noting its flaws. John Philoponus' criticism of Aristotelian
principles of physics served as an inspiration for
Galileo Galilei ten
centuries later as
Galileo cited Philoponus substantially in his works
Galileo also argued why
Aristotelian physics was flawed during
the Scientific Revolution.
During late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the Aristotelian
approach to inquiries on natural phenomena was used. Aristotle's four
causes prescribed that four "why" questions should be answered in
order to explain things scientifically. Some ancient knowledge was
lost, or in some cases kept in obscurity, during the fall of the
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire and periodic political struggles. However, the
general fields of science (or "natural philosophy" as it was called)
and much of the general knowledge from the ancient world remained
preserved through the works of the early Latin encyclopedists like
Isidore of Seville. However, Aristotle's original texts were
eventually lost in Western Europe, and only one text by
widely known, the Timaeus, which was the only Platonic dialogue, and
one of the few original works of classical natural philosophy,
available to Latin readers in the early Middle Ages. Another original
work that gained influence in this period was Ptolemy's Almagest,
which contains a geocentric description of the solar system.
House of Wisdom
House of Wisdom was established in Abbasid-era Baghdad, Iraq,
where the Islamic study of
Aristotelianism flourished. Al-Kindi
(801–873) was the first of the Muslim Peripatetic philosophers, and
is known for his efforts to introduce Greek and Hellenistic philosophy
to the Arab world. The
Islamic Golden Age
Islamic Golden Age flourished form this
time until the
Mongol invasions of the 13th century. Ibn al-Haytham
(Alhazen), as well as his predecessor Ibn Sahl, was familiar with
Ptolemy's Optics, and used experiments as a means to gain
knowledge.[e]:463–65 Furthermore, doctors and alchemists
such as the Persians
Avicenna and Al-Razi also greatly developed the
Medicine with the former writing the Canon of Medicine, a
medical encyclopedia used until the 18th century and the latter
discovering multiple compounds like alcohol. Avicenna's canon is
considered to be one of the most important publications in medicine
and they both contributed significantly to the practice of
experimental medicine, using clinical trials and experiments to back
Classical antiquity Greek and Roman taboos had meant that
dissection was usually banned in ancient times, but in Middle Ages it
changed: medical teachers and students at Bologna began to open human
Mondino de Luzzi
Mondino de Luzzi (ca. 1275–1326) produced the ﬁrst
known anatomy textbook based on human dissection.
By the eleventh century most of Europe had become Christian; stronger
monarchies emerged; borders were restored; technological developments
and agricultural innovations were made which increased the food supply
and population. In addition, classical Greek texts started to be
translated from Arabic and Greek into Latin, giving a higher level of
scientific discussion in Western Europe.
By 1088, the first university in Europe (the
University of Bologna)
had emerged from its clerical beginnings. Demand for Latin
translations grew (for example, from the Toledo School of
Translators); western Europeans began collecting texts written not
only in Latin, but also Latin translations from Greek, Arabic, and
Hebrew. Manuscript copies of Alhazen's
Book of Optics
Book of Optics also propagated
across Europe before 1240,:Intro. p. xx as evidenced by its
incorporation into Vitello's Perspectiva. Avicenna's Canon was
translated into Latin. In particular, the texts of Aristotle,
Ptolemy,[f] and Euclid, preserved in the Houses of Wisdom and also in
the Byzantine Empire, were sought amongst Catholic scholars. The
influx of ancient texts caused the
Renaissance of the 12th century
Renaissance of the 12th century and
the flourishing of a synthesis of
Catholicism and Aristotelianism
Scholasticism in western Europe, which became a new
geographic center of science. An experiment in this period would be
understood as a careful process of observing, describing, and
classifying. One prominent scientist in this era was Roger Bacon.
Scholasticism had a strong focus on revelation and dialectic
reasoning, and gradually fell out of favour over the next centuries.
Renaissance and early modern science
Main article: Scientific revolution
Galen (129–c. 216) noted the optic chiasm is X-shaped. (Engraving
from Vesalius, 1543)
Alhazen disproved Ptolemy's theory of vision, but did not make any
corresponding changes to Aristotle's metaphysics. The scientific
revolution ran concurrently to a process where elements of Aristotle's
metaphysics such as ethics, teleology and formal causality slowly fell
out of favour. Scholars slowly came to realize that the universe
itself might well be devoid of both purpose and ethical imperatives.
Many of the restrictions described by
Aristotle and later favoured by
the Catholic Church were thus challenged. This development from a
physics infused with goals, ethics, and spirit, toward a physics where
these elements do not play an integral role, took centuries.
Albrecht Durer (1525) Man drawing a lute, using Perspectivist
techniques, as well as Alhazen's technique of taut strings to
visualize a light ray.
New developments in optics played a role in the inception of the
Renaissance, both by challenging long-held metaphysical ideas on
perception, as well as by contributing to the improvement and
development of technology such as the camera obscura and the
telescope. Before what we now know as the
Renaissance started, Roger
Bacon, Vitello, and
John Peckham each built up a scholastic ontology
upon a causal chain beginning with sensation, perception, and finally
apperception of the individual and universal forms of Aristotle. A
model of vision later known as perspectivism was exploited and studied
by the artists of the Renaissance. This theory utilizes only three of
Aristotle's four causes: formal, material, and final.
Galileo Galilei, regarded as the father of modern science.: Vol.
24, No. 1, p. 36
In the sixteenth century,
Copernicus formulated a heliocentric model
of the solar system unlike the geocentric model of Ptolemy's Almagest.
This was based on a theorem that the orbital periods of the planets
are longer as their orbs are farther from the centre of motion, which
he found not to agree with Ptolemy's model.
Kepler and others challenged the notion that the only function of the
eye is perception, and shifted the main focus in optics from the eye
to the propagation of light.:102 Kepler modelled the eye as a
water-filled glass sphere with an aperture in front of it to model the
entrance pupil. He found that all the light from a single point of the
scene was imaged at a single point at the back of the glass sphere.
The optical chain ends on the retina at the back of the eye.[g] Kepler
is best known, however, for improving Copernicus' heliocentric model
through the discovery of
Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Kepler did
not reject Aristotelian metaphysics, and described his work as a
search for the Harmony of the Spheres.
Galileo made innovative use of experiment and mathematics. However, he
became persecuted after Pope Urban VIII blessed
Galileo to write about
the Copernican system.
Galileo had used arguments from the Pope and
put them in the voice of the simpleton in the work "Dialogue
Concerning the Two Chief World Systems," which greatly offended
In Northern Europe, the new technology of the printing press was
widely used to publish many arguments, including some that disagreed
widely with contemporary ideas of nature.
René Descartes and Francis
Bacon published philosophical arguments in favor of a new type of
Descartes emphasized individual thought and
argued that mathematics rather than geometry should be used in order
to study nature. Bacon emphasized the importance of experiment over
contemplation. Bacon further questioned the Aristotelian concepts of
formal cause and final cause, and promoted the idea that science
should study the laws of "simple" natures, such as heat, rather than
assuming that there is any specific nature, or "formal cause," of each
complex type of thing. This new modern science began to see itself as
describing "laws of nature". This updated approach to studies in
nature was seen as mechanistic. Bacon also argued that science should
aim for the first time at practical inventions for the improvement of
all human life.
Age of Enlightenment
Isaac Newton, shown here in a 1689 portrait, made seminal
contributions to classical mechanics, gravity, and optics. Newton
shares credit with
Gottfried Leibniz for the development of calculus.
As a precursor to the Age of Enlightenment,
Isaac Newton and Gottfried
Wilhelm Leibniz succeeded in developing a new physics, now referred to
as classical mechanics, which could be confirmed by experiment and
explained using mathematics. Leibniz also incorporated terms from
Aristotelian physics, but now being used in a new non-teleological
way, for example, "energy" and "potential" (modern versions of
Aristotelian "energeia and potentia"). This implied a shift in the
view of objects: Where
Aristotle had noted that objects have certain
innate goals that can be actualized, objects were now regarded as
devoid of innate goals. In the style of Francis Bacon, Leibniz assumed
that different types of things all work according to the same general
laws of nature, with no special formal or final causes for each type
of thing. It is during this period that the word "science" gradually
became more commonly used to refer to a type of pursuit of a type of
knowledge, especially knowledge of nature – coming close in
meaning to the old term "natural philosophy."
Science during the Enlightenment was dominated by scientific societies
and academies, which had largely replaced universities as centres of
scientific research and development. Societies and academies were also
the backbone of the maturation of the scientific profession. Another
important development was the popularization of science among an
increasingly literate population. Philosophes introduced the public to
many scientific theories, most notably through the
the popularization of
Voltaire as well as by Émilie
du Châtelet, the French translator of Newton's Principia.
Some historians have marked the 18th century as a drab period in the
history of science; however, the century saw significant
advancements in the practice of medicine, mathematics, and physics;
the development of biological taxonomy; a new understanding of
magnetism and electricity; and the maturation of chemistry as a
discipline, which established the foundations of modern chemistry.
Enlightenment philosophers chose a short history of scientific
predecessors – Galileo, Boyle, and Newton principally –
as the guides and guarantors of their applications of the singular
concept of nature and natural law to every physical and social field
of the day. In this respect, the lessons of history and the social
structures built upon it could be discarded.
Early in the 19th century,
John Dalton suggested the modern atomic
theory, based on Democritus's original idea of individible particles
Charles Darwin in 1854, by then working towards publication of On the
Origin of Species.
John Herschel and
William Whewell systematized methodology: the
latter coined the term scientist. When
Charles Darwin published On
the Origin of
Species he established evolution as the prevailing
explanation of biological complexity. His theory of natural selection
provided a natural explanation of how species originated, but this
only gained wide acceptance a century later.
The laws of conservation of energy, conservation of momentum and
conservation of mass suggested a highly stable universe where there
could be little loss of resources. With the advent of the steam engine
and the industrial revolution, there was, however, an increased
understanding that all forms of energy as defined by Newton were not
equally useful; they did not have the same energy quality. This
realization led to the development of the laws of thermodynamics, in
which the cumulative energy quality of the universe is seen as
constantly declining: the entropy of the universe increases over time.
The electromagnetic theory was also established in the 19th century,
and raised new questions which could not easily be answered using
Newton's framework. The phenomena that would allow the deconstruction
of the atom were discovered in the last decade of the 19th century:
the discovery of
X-rays inspired the discovery of radioactivity. In
the next year came the discovery of the first subatomic particle, the
Combustion and chemical reactions were studied by
Michael Faraday and
reported in his lectures before the Royal Institution: The Chemical
History of a Candle, 1861.
A simulated event in the CMS detector of the Large Hadron Collider,
featuring a possible appearance of the Higgs boson.
Einstein's theory of relativity and the development of quantum
mechanics led to the replacement of classical mechanics with a new
physics which contains two parts that describe different types of
events in nature.
In the first half of the century, the development of antibiotics and
artificial fertilizer made global human population growth possible. At
the same time, the structure of the atom and its nucleus was
discovered, leading to the release of "atomic energy" (nuclear power).
In addition, the extensive use of technological innovation stimulated
by the wars of this century led to revolutions in transportation
(automobiles and aircraft), the development of ICBMs, a space race,
and a nuclear arms race.
The molecular structure of
DNA was discovered in 1953. The discovery
of the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964 led to a
rejection of the
Steady State theory
Steady State theory of the universe in favour of the
Big bang theory of Georges Lemaître.
The development of spaceflight in the second half of the century
allowed the first astronomical measurements done on or near other
objects in space, including manned landings on the Moon. Space
telescopes lead to numerous discoveries in astronomy and cosmology.
Widespread use of integrated circuits in the last quarter of the 20th
century combined with communications satellites led to a revolution in
information technology and the rise of the global internet and mobile
computing, including smartphones. The need for mass systematization of
long, intertwined causal chains and large amounts of data led to the
rise of the fields of systems theory and computer-assisted scientific
modelling, which are partly based on the Aristotelian paradigm.
Harmful environmental issues such as ozone depletion, acidification,
eutrophication and climate change came to the public's attention in
the same period, and caused the onset of environmental science and
environmental technology. In a 1967 article, Lynn Townsend White Jr.
blamed the ecological crisis on the historical decline of the notion
of spirit in nature.
With the discovery of the
Higgs boson in 2012, the last particle
predicted by the
Standard Model of particle physics was found. In
2015, gravitational waves, predicted by general relativity a century
before, were first observed.
Human Genome Project
Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, determining the
sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA, and
identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome. 
Induced pluripotent stem cells were developed in 2006, a technology
allowing adult cells to be transformed into stem cells capable of
giving rise to any cell type found in the body, potentially of huge
importance to the field of regenerative medicine.
Main article: Scientific method
The scientific method seeks to objectively explain the events of
nature in a reproducible way.[h] An explanatory thought experiment or
hypothesis is put forward as explanation using principles such as
parsimony (also known as "Occam's Razor") and are generally expected
to seek consilience – fitting well with other accepted facts
related to the phenomena. This new explanation is used to make
falsifiable predictions that are testable by experiment or
observation. The predictions are to be posted before a confirming
experiment or observation is sought, as proof that no tampering has
occurred. Disproof of a prediction is evidence of progress.[i][j] This
is done partly through observation of natural phenomena, but also
through experimentation that tries to simulate natural events under
controlled conditions as appropriate to the discipline (in the
observational sciences, such as astronomy or geology, a predicted
observation might take the place of a controlled experiment).
Experimentation is especially important in science to help establish
causal relationships (to avoid the correlation fallacy).
When a hypothesis proves unsatisfactory, it is either modified or
discarded. If the hypothesis survived testing, it may become
adopted into the framework of a scientific theory, a logically
reasoned, self-consistent model or framework for describing the
behavior of certain natural phenomena. A theory typically describes
the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a hypothesis;
commonly, a large number of hypotheses can be logically bound together
by a single theory. Thus a theory is a hypothesis explaining various
other hypotheses. In that vein, theories are formulated according to
most of the same scientific principles as hypotheses. In addition to
testing hypotheses, scientists may also generate a model, an attempt
to describe or depict the phenomenon in terms of a logical, physical
or mathematical representation and to generate new hypotheses that can
be tested, based on observable phenomena.
While performing experiments to test hypotheses, scientists may have a
preference for one outcome over another, and so it is important to
ensure that science as a whole can eliminate this bias. This
can be achieved by careful experimental design, transparency, and a
thorough peer review process of the experimental results as well as
any conclusions. After the results of an experiment are
announced or published, it is normal practice for independent
researchers to double-check how the research was performed, and to
follow up by performing similar experiments to determine how
dependable the results might be. Taken in its entirety, the
scientific method allows for highly creative problem solving while
minimizing any effects of subjective bias on the part of its users
(especially the confirmation bias).
Mathematics and formal sciences
Mathematics and Formal science
Calculus, the mathematics of continuous change, underpins many of the
Mathematics is essential to the sciences. One important function of
mathematics in science is the role it plays in the expression of
scientific models. Observing and collecting measurements, as well as
hypothesizing and predicting, often require extensive use of
mathematics. For example, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry,
and calculus are all essential to physics. Virtually every branch of
mathematics has applications in science, including "pure" areas such
as number theory and topology.
Statistical methods, which are mathematical techniques for summarizing
and analyzing data, allow scientists to assess the level of
reliability and the range of variation in experimental results.
Statistical analysis plays a fundamental role in many areas of both
the natural sciences and social sciences.
Computational science applies computing power to simulate real-world
situations, enabling a better understanding of scientific problems
than formal mathematics alone can achieve. According to the Society
for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, computation is now as
important as theory and experiment in advancing scientific
Other formal sciences include information theory, systems theory,
decision theory and theoretical linguistics. Such sciences involve the
study of well defined abstract systems and depend heavily on
mathematics. They do not involve empirical procedures, their results
are derived logically from their definitions and are analytic in
Parts of the natural and social sciences which are based on empirical
results but which depend heavily on mathematical development include
mathematical finance, mathematical physics, mathematical chemistry,
mathematical biology and mathematical economics.
Whether mathematics itself is properly classified as science has been
a matter of some debate. Some thinkers see mathematicians as
scientists, regarding physical experiments as inessential or
mathematical proofs as equivalent to experiments. Others do not see
mathematics as a science because it does not require an experimental
test of its theories and hypotheses. Mathematical theorems and
formulas are obtained by logical derivations which presume axiomatic
systems, rather than the combination of empirical observation and
logical reasoning that has come to be known as the scientific method.
In general, mathematics is classified as formal science, while natural
and social sciences are classified as empirical sciences.
Main article: Scientific community
The scientific community is the group of all interacting scientists.
It includes many sub-communities working on particular scientific
fields, and within particular institutions; interdisciplinary and
cross-institutional activities are also significant.
Branches and fields
Main article: Branches of science
The somatosensory system is located throughout our bodies but is
integrated in the brain.
Scientific fields are commonly divided into two major groups: natural
sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life),
and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies. These
are both empirical sciences, which means their knowledge must be based
on observable phenomena and capable of being tested for its validity
by other researchers working under the same conditions. There are
also related disciplines that are grouped into interdisciplinary
applied sciences, such as engineering and medicine. Within these
categories are specialized scientific fields that can include parts of
other scientific disciplines but often possess their own nomenclature
Mathematics, which is classified as a formal science, has both
similarities and differences with the empirical sciences (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. The
formal sciences, which also include statistics and logic, are vital to
the empirical sciences. Major advances in formal science have often
led to major advances in the empirical 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).
Apart from its broad meaning, the word "science" sometimes may
specifically refer to fundamental sciences (maths and natural
Science schools or faculties within many institutions
are separate from those for medicine or engineering, each of which is
an applied science.
Learned societies for the communication and promotion of scientific
thought and experimentation have existed since the Renaissance
period. The oldest surviving institution is the Italian Accademia
dei Lincei which was established in 1603. The respective National
Science are distinguished institutions that exist in a
number of countries, beginning with the British Royal
1660 and the French
Académie des Sciences
Académie 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. Many
governments have dedicated agencies to support scientific research.
Prominent scientific organizations include the National Science
Foundation in the U.S., the National Scientific and Technical Research
Council in Argentina,
CSIRO in Australia, Centre national de la
recherche scientifique in France, the Max Planck
Society and Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft in Germany, and CSIC in Spain.
Main article: Scientific literature
An enormous range of scientific literature is published.
Scientific journals communicate and document the results of research
carried out in universities and various other research institutions,
serving as an archival record of science. The first scientific
Journal des Sçavans
Journal des Sçavans followed by the Philosophical
Transactions, began publication in 1665. Since that time the total
number of active periodicals has steadily increased. In 1981, one
estimate for the number of scientific and technical journals in
publication was 11,500. The
United States National Library of
Medicine currently indexes 5,516 journals that contain articles on
topics related to the life sciences. Although the journals are in 39
languages, 91 percent of the indexed articles are published in
Most scientific journals cover a single scientific field and publish
the research within that field; the research is normally expressed in
the form of a scientific paper.
Science has become so pervasive in
modern societies that it is generally considered necessary to
communicate the achievements, news, and ambitions of scientists to a
Science magazines such as New Scientist,
Science & Vie, and
Scientific American cater to the needs of a much wider readership and
provide a non-technical summary of popular areas of research,
including notable discoveries and advances in certain fields of
Science books engage the interest of many more people.
Tangentially, the science fiction genre, primarily fantastic in
nature, engages the public imagination and transmits the ideas, if not
the methods, of science.
Recent efforts to intensify or develop links between science and
non-scientific disciplines such as literature or more specifically,
poetry, include the Creative Writing
Science resource developed
through the Royal Literary Fund.
Science and society
Science and society" redirects here. For the academic journal, see
Science & Society.
Women in science
Main article: Women in science
Marie Curie was the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes:
Physics in 1903 and
Chemistry in 1911.
Science has historically been a male-dominated field, with some
notable exceptions.[k] Women faced considerable discrimination in
science, much as they did in other areas of male-dominated societies,
such as frequently being passed over for job opportunities and denied
credit for their work.[l] For example, Christine Ladd (1847–1930)
was able to enter a PhD program as "C. Ladd"; Christine "Kitty" Ladd
completed the requirements in 1882, but was awarded her degree only in
1926, after a career which spanned the algebra of logic (see truth
table), color vision, and psychology. Her work preceded notable
Ludwig Wittgenstein and Charles Sanders Peirce. The
achievements of women in science have been attributed to their
defiance of their traditional role as laborers within the domestic
In the late 20th century, active recruitment of women and elimination
of institutional discrimination on the basis of sex greatly increased
the number of women scientists, but large gender disparities remain in
some fields; over half of new biologists are female, while 80% of PhDs
in physics are given to men. Feminists claim this is
the result of culture rather than an innate difference between the
sexes, and some experiments have shown that parents challenge and
explain more to boys than girls, asking them to reflect more deeply
and logically.: 258–61. In the early part of the 21st century,
in America, women earned 50.3% bachelor's degrees, 45.6% master's
degrees, and 40.7% of PhDs in science and engineering fields with
women earning more than half of the degrees in three fields:
Psychology (about 70%), Social Sciences (about 50%), and Biology
(about 50-60%). However, when it comes to the Physical Sciences,
Geosciences, Math, Engineering, and Computer Science, women earned
less than half the degrees. However, lifestyle choice also plays a
major role in female engagement in science; women with young children
are 28% less likely to take tenure-track positions due to work-life
balance issues, and female graduate students' interest in careers
in research declines dramatically over the course of graduate school,
whereas that of their male colleagues remains unchanged.
History of science policy, Funding of
Economics of science
President Clinton meets the 1998 U.S.
Nobel Prize winners in the White
Science policy is an area of public policy concerned with the policies
that affect the conduct of the scientific enterprise, including
research funding, often in pursuance of other national policy goals
such as technological innovation to promote commercial product
development, weapons development, health care and environmental
Science policy also refers to the act of applying
scientific knowledge and consensus to the development of public
Science policy thus deals with the entire domain of issues
that involve the natural sciences. In accordance with public policy
being concerned about the well-being of its citizens, science policy's
goal is to consider how science and technology can best serve the
State policy has influenced the funding of public works (such as the
civil engineering works in hydraulic engineering of Sunshu Ao
(孫叔敖 7th c. BCE),
Ximen Bao (西門豹 5th c.BCE), and Shi Chi
(4th c. BCE) ) and science for thousands of years. These works date at
least from the time of the Mohists, who inspired the study of logic
during the period of the Hundred Schools of Thought, and the study of
defensive fortifications (such as the Great Wall of China, which took
2000 years to complete) during the
Warring States period
Warring States period in China. In
Great Britain, governmental approval of the Royal
Society in the 17th
century recognized a scientific community which exists to this day.
The professionalization of science, begun in the 19th century, was
partly enabled by the creation of scientific organizations such as the
Academy of Sciences, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, and state
funding of universities of their respective nations.
Public policy can
directly affect the funding of capital equipment and intellectual
infrastructure for industrial research by providing tax incentives to
those organizations that fund research. Vannevar Bush, director of the
Office of Scientific
Research and Development for the United States
government, the forerunner of the National
Science Foundation, wrote
in July 1945 that "
Science is a proper concern of government."
Science and technology research is often funded through a competitive
process in which potential research projects are evaluated and only
the most promising receive funding. Such processes, which are run by
government, corporations, or foundations, allocate scarce funds. Total
research funding in most developed countries is between 1.5% and 3% of
GDP. In the OECD, around two-thirds of research and development
in scientific and technical fields is carried out by industry, and 20%
and 10% respectively by universities and government. The government
funding proportion in certain industries is higher, and it dominates
research in social science and humanities. Similarly, with some
exceptions (e.g. biotechnology) government provides the bulk of the
funds for basic scientific research. In commercial research and
development, all but the most research-oriented corporations focus
more heavily on near-term commercialisation possibilities rather than
"blue-sky" ideas or technologies (such as nuclear fusion).
The mass media face a number of pressures that can prevent them from
accurately depicting competing scientific claims in terms of their
credibility within the scientific community as a whole. Determining
how much weight to give different sides in a scientific debate may
require considerable expertise regarding the matter. Few
journalists have real scientific knowledge, and even beat reporters
who know a great deal about certain scientific issues may be ignorant
about other scientific issues that they are suddenly asked to
See also: Politicization of science
Many issues damage the relationship of science to the media and the
use of science and scientific arguments by politicians. As a very
broad generalisation, many politicians seek certainties and facts
whilst scientists typically offer probabilities and caveats. However,
politicians' ability to be heard in the mass media frequently distorts
the scientific understanding by the public. Examples in the United
Kingdom include the controversy over the MMR inoculation, and the 1988
forced resignation of a Government Minister, Edwina Currie, for
revealing the high probability that battery farmed eggs were
contaminated with Salmonella.
John Horgan, Chris Mooney, and researchers from the US and Canada have
Certainty Argumentation Methods (SCAMs), where an
organization or think tank makes it their only goal to cast doubt on
supported science because it conflicts with political
agendas. Hank Campbell and microbiologist Alex Berezow
have described "feel-good fallacies" used in politics, especially on
the left, where politicians frame their positions in a way that makes
people feel good about supporting certain policies even when
scientific evidence shows there is no need to worry or there is no
need for dramatic change on current programs.: Vol. 78, No. 1.
Science and the public
Various activities are developed to facilitate communication between
the general public and science/scientists, such as science outreach,
public awareness of science, science communication, science festivals,
citizen science, science journalism, public science, and popular
Science and the public for related concepts.
Science is represented by the 'S' in STEM fields.
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
Working scientists usually take for granted a set of basic assumptions
that are needed to justify the scientific method: (1) that there is an
objective reality shared by all rational observers; (2) that this
objective reality is governed by natural laws; (3) that these laws can
be discovered by means of systematic observation and
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of science seeks a deep understanding
of what these underlying assumptions mean and whether they are valid.
The belief that scientific theories should and do represent
metaphysical reality is known as realism. It can be contrasted with
anti-realism, the view that the success of science does not depend on
it being accurate about unobservable entities such as electrons. One
form of anti-realism is idealism, the belief that the mind or
consciousness is the most basic essence, and that each mind generates
its own reality.[m] In an idealistic world view, what is true for one
mind need not be true for other minds.
The Sand Reckoner is a work by
Archimedes in which he sets out to
determine an upper bound for the number of grains of sand that fit
into the universe. In order to do this, he had to estimate the size of
the universe according to the contemporary model, and invent a way to
analyze extremely large numbers.
There are different schools of thought in philosophy of science. The
most popular position is empiricism,[n] which holds that knowledge is
created by a process involving observation and that scientific
theories are the result of generalizations from such
Empiricism generally encompasses inductivism, a
position that tries to explain the way general theories can be
justified by the finite number of observations humans can make and
hence the finite amount of empirical evidence available to confirm
scientific theories. This is necessary because the number of
predictions those theories make is infinite, which means that they
cannot be known from the finite amount of evidence using deductive
logic only. Many versions of empiricism exist, with the predominant
ones being Bayesianism and the hypothetico-deductive
Empiricism has stood in contrast to rationalism, the position
originally associated with Descartes, which holds that knowledge is
created by the human intellect, not by observation.:20 Critical
rationalism is a contrasting 20th-century approach to science, first
defined by Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper. Popper rejected
the way that empiricism describes the connection between theory and
observation. He claimed that theories are not generated by
observation, but that observation is made in the light of theories and
that the only way a theory can be affected by observation is when it
comes in conflict with it.:63–67 Popper proposed replacing
verifiability with falsifiability as the landmark of scientific
theories and replacing induction with falsification as the empirical
method.:68 Popper further claimed that there is actually only one
universal method, not specific to science: the negative method of
criticism, trial and error. It covers all products of the human
mind, including science, mathematics, philosophy, and art.
Another approach, instrumentalism, colloquially termed "shut up and
multiply," emphasizes the utility of theories as instruments for
explaining and predicting phenomena. It views scientific theories
as black boxes with only their input (initial conditions) and output
(predictions) being relevant. Consequences, theoretical entities, and
logical structure are claimed to be something that should simply be
ignored and that scientists shouldn't make a fuss about (see
interpretations of quantum mechanics). Close to instrumentalism is
constructive empiricism, according to which the main criterion for the
success of a scientific theory is whether what it says about
observable entities is true.
Paul Feyerabend advanced the idea of epistemological anarchism, which
holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules
governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge and that
the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and
fixed rules are unrealistic, pernicious and detrimental to science
itself. Feyerabend advocates treating science as an ideology
alongside others such as religion, magic, and mythology, and considers
the dominance of science in society authoritarian and unjustified. He
also contended (along with Imre Lakatos)[discuss] that the demarcation
problem of distinguishing science from pseudoscience on objective
grounds is not possible and thus fatal to the notion of science
running according to fixed, universal rules. Feyerabend also
stated that science does not have evidence for its philosophical
precepts, particularly the notion of uniformity of law and process
across time and space.
Finally, another approach often cited in debates of scientific
skepticism against controversial movements like "creation science" is
methodological naturalism. Its main point is that a difference between
natural and supernatural explanations should be made and that science
should be restricted methodologically to natural explanations.[o] That
the restriction is merely methodological (rather than ontological)
means that science should not consider supernatural explanations
itself, but should not claim them to be wrong either. Instead,
supernatural explanations should be left a matter of personal belief
outside the scope of science.
Methodological naturalism maintains that
proper science requires strict adherence to empirical study and
independent verification as a process for properly developing and
evaluating explanations for observable phenomena. The absence of
these standards, arguments from authority, biased observational
studies and other common fallacies are frequently cited by supporters
of methodological naturalism as characteristic of the non-science they
Certainty and science
DNA double helix is a molecule that encodes the genetic
instructions used in the development and functioning of all known
living organisms and many viruses.
A scientific theory is empirical[n] and is always open to
falsification if new evidence is presented. That is, no theory is ever
considered strictly certain as science accepts the concept of
fallibilism.[p] The philosopher of science
Karl Popper sharply
distinguished truth from certainty. He wrote that scientific knowledge
"consists in the search for truth," but it "is not the search for
certainty ... All human knowledge is fallible and therefore
New scientific knowledge rarely results in vast changes in our
understanding. According to psychologist Keith Stanovich, it may be
the media's overuse of words like "breakthrough" that leads the public
to imagine that science is constantly proving everything it thought
was true to be false.:119–38 While there are such famous cases
as the theory of relativity that required a complete
reconceptualization, these are extreme exceptions.
science is gained by a gradual synthesis of information from different
experiments by various researchers across different branches of
science; it is more like a climb than a leap.:123 Theories vary
in the extent to which they have been tested and verified, as well as
their acceptance in the scientific community.[q] For example,
heliocentric theory, the theory of evolution, relativity theory, and
germ theory still bear the name "theory" even though, in practice,
they are considered factual. Philosopher
Barry Stroud adds that,
although the best definition for "knowledge" is contested, being
skeptical and entertaining the possibility that one is incorrect is
compatible with being correct. Ironically, then, the scientist
adhering to proper scientific approaches will doubt themselves even
once they possess the truth. The fallibilist C. S. Peirce
argued that inquiry is the struggle to resolve actual doubt and that
merely quarrelsome, verbal, or hyperbolic doubt is
fruitless – but also that the inquirer should try to
attain genuine doubt rather than resting uncritically on common
sense. He held that the successful sciences trust not to any
single chain of inference (no stronger than its weakest link) but to
the cable of multiple and various arguments intimately connected.
Stanovich also asserts that science avoids searching for a "magic
bullet"; it avoids the single-cause fallacy. This means a scientist
would not ask merely "What is the cause of ...", but rather "What
are the most significant causes of ...". This is especially the
case in the more macroscopic fields of science (e.g. psychology,
Research often analyzes few factors
at once, but these are always added to the long list of factors that
are most important to consider.:141–47 For example, knowing the
details of only a person's genetics, or their history and upbringing,
or the current situation may not explain a behavior, but a deep
understanding of all these variables combined can be very predictive.
Fringe science, pseudoscience, and junk science
An area of study or speculation that masquerades as science in an
attempt to claim a legitimacy that it would not otherwise be able to
achieve is sometimes referred to as pseudoscience, fringe science, or
junk science.[r] Physicist
Richard Feynman coined the term "cargo cult
science" for cases in which researchers believe they are doing science
because their activities have the outward appearance of science but
actually lack the "kind of utter honesty" that allows their results to
be rigorously evaluated. Various types of commercial advertising,
ranging from hype to fraud, may fall into these categories.
There can also be an element of political or ideological bias on all
sides of scientific debates. Sometimes, research may be characterized
as "bad science," research that may be well-intended but is actually
incorrect, obsolete, incomplete, or over-simplified expositions of
scientific ideas. The term "scientific misconduct" refers to
situations such as where researchers have intentionally misrepresented
their published data or have purposely given credit for a discovery to
the wrong person.
See also: Research
Astronomy became much more accurate after
Tycho Brahe devised his
scientific instruments for measuring angles between two celestial
bodies, before the invention of the telescope. Brahe's observations
were the basis for Kepler's laws.
Although encyclopedias such as Pliny's (fl. 77 AD) Natural History
offered purported fact, they proved unreliable. A skeptical point of
view, demanding a method of proof, was the practical position taken to
deal with unreliable knowledge. As early as 1000 years ago, scholars
Alhazen (Doubts Concerning Ptolemy), Roger Bacon, Witelo, John
Francis Bacon (1605), and
C. S. Peirce
C. S. Peirce (1839–1914) provided
the community to address these points of uncertainty. In particular,
fallacious reasoning can be exposed, such as "affirming the
"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if
he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."
— Francis Bacon, "The Advancement of Learning", Book 1, v, 8
The methods of inquiry into a problem have been known for thousands of
years, and extend beyond theory to practice. The use of
measurements, for example, is a practical approach to settle disputes
in the community.
John Ziman points out that intersubjective pattern recognition is
fundamental to the creation of all scientific knowledge.:44 Ziman
shows how scientists can identify patterns to each other across
centuries; he refers to this ability as "perceptual
consensibility.":46 He then makes consensibility, leading to
consensus, the touchstone of reliable knowledge.:104
Basic and applied research
Anthropogenic pollution has an effect on the Earth's environment and
Although some scientific research is applied research into specific
problems, a great deal of our understanding comes from the
curiosity-driven undertaking of basic research. This leads to options
for technological advance that were not planned or sometimes even
imaginable. This point was made by
Michael Faraday when allegedly in
response to the question "what is the use of basic research?" he
responded: "Sir, what is the use of a new-born child?". For
example, research into the effects of red light on the human eye's rod
cells did not seem to have any practical purpose; eventually, the
discovery that our night vision is not troubled by red light would
lead search and rescue teams (among others) to adopt red light in the
cockpits of jets and helicopters.:106–10 In a nutshell, basic
research is the search for knowledge and applied research is the
search for solutions to practical problems using this knowledge.
Finally, even basic research can take unexpected turns, and there is
some sense in which the scientific method is built to harness luck.
Research in practice
Due to the increasing complexity of information and specialization of
scientists, most of the cutting-edge research today is done by
well-funded groups of scientists, rather than individuals. D.K.
Simonton notes that due to the breadth of very precise and far
reaching tools already used by researchers today and the amount of
research generated so far, creation of new disciplines or revolutions
within a discipline may no longer be possible as it is unlikely that
some phenomenon that merits its own discipline has been overlooked.
Hybridizing of disciplines and finessing knowledge is, in his view,
the future of science.
Practical impacts of scientific research
Discoveries in fundamental science can be world-changing. For example:
Static electricity and magnetism (c. 1600)
Electric current (18th century)
All electric appliances, dynamos, electric power stations, modern
electronics, including electric lighting, television, electric
heating, transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation,
magnetic tape, loudspeaker, and the compass and lightning rod.
Optics, hence fiber optic cable (1840s), modern intercontinental
communications, and cable TV and internet
Germ theory (1700)
Hygiene, leading to decreased transmission of infectious diseases;
antibodies, leading to techniques for disease diagnosis and targeted
Leading to the elimination of most infectious diseases from developed
countries and the worldwide eradication of smallpox.
Photovoltaic effect (1839)
Solar cells (1883), hence solar power, solar powered watches,
calculators and other devices.
The strange orbit of Mercury (1859) and other research
leading to special (1905) and general relativity (1916)
Satellite-based technology such as
GPS (1973), satnav and satellite
Radio waves (1887)
Radio had become used in innumerable ways beyond its better-known
areas of telephony, and broadcast television (1927) and radio (1906)
entertainment. Other uses included – emergency services, radar
(navigation and weather prediction), medicine, astronomy, wireless
communications, geophysics, and networking. Radio waves also led
researchers to adjacent frequencies such as microwaves, used worldwide
for heating and cooking food.
Radioactivity (1896) and antimatter (1932)
Cancer treatment (1896),
Radiometric dating (1905), nuclear reactors
(1942) and weapons (1945), mineral exploration,
PET scans (1961), and
medical research (via isotopic labeling)
Medical imaging, including computed tomography
Crystallography and quantum mechanics (1900)
Semiconductor devices (1906), hence modern computing and
telecommunications including the integration with wireless devices:
the mobile phone,[s] LED lamps and lasers.
Starting with Bakelite, many types of artificial polymers for numerous
applications in industry and daily life
Antibiotics (1880s, 1928)
Salvarsan, Penicillin, doxycycline etc.
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance (1930s)
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1946), magnetic resonance
imaging (1971), functional magnetic resonance imaging (1990s).
Antiquarian science books
Criticism of science
Index of branches of science
List of scientific occupations
Outline of science
Science in popular culture
Sociology of scientific knowledge
^ "... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. It
was a discovery that nature generally acts regularly enough to be
described by laws and even by mathematics; and required invention to
devise the techniques, abstractions, apparatus, and organization for
exhibiting the regularities and securing their law-like
descriptions."— Heilbron 2003, p. vii
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Retrieved October 16, 2011. 3 a: knowledge or a system of knowledge
covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as
obtained and tested through scientific method b: such knowledge or
such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its
^ Isaac Newton's
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687),
for example, is translated "Mathematical Principles of Natural
Philosophy", and reflects the then-current use of the words "natural
philosophy", akin to "systematic study of nature"
^ "The historian ... requires a very broad definition of
"science" – one that ... will help us to understand the
modern scientific enterprise. We need to be broad and inclusive,
rather than narrow and exclusive ... and we should expect that
the farther back we go [in time] the broader we will need to be."
— (Lindberg 2007, p. 3), which further cites Pingree,
David (December 1992). "Hellenophilia versus the
History of Science".
Isis. 4 (4): 554–563. JSTOR 234257.
^ Alhacen had access to the optics books of
Euclid and Ptolemy, as is
shown by the title of his lost work A Book in which I have Summarized
Optics from the Two Books of
Euclid and Ptolemy, to
which I have added the Notions of the First Discourse which is Missing
from Ptolemy's Book From Ibn Abi Usaibia's catalog, as cited in (Smith
2001):91(vol .1), p. xv
^ "[Ibn al-Haytham] followed Ptolemy's bridge building ... into a
grand synthesis of light and vision. Part of his effort consisted in
devising ranges of experiments, of a kind probed before but now
undertaken on larger scale."— Cohen 2010, p. 59
^ The translator,
Gerard of Cremona
Gerard of Cremona (c. 1114–87), inspired by his
love of the Almagest, came to Toledo, where he knew he could find the
Almagest in Arabic. There he found Arabic books of every description,
and learned Arabic in order to translate these books into Latin, being
aware of 'the poverty of the Latins'. —As cited by Charles
Burnett (2001) "The Coherence of the Arabic-Latin Translation Program
in Toledo in the Twelfth Century", pp. 250, 255, 257,
Context 14(1/2), 249–88 (2001). doi:10.1017/0269889701000096
^ Kepler, Johannes (1604) Ad Vitellionem paralipomena, quibus
astronomiae pars opticae traditur (Supplements to Witelo, in which the
optical part of astronomy is treated) as cited in Smith, A. Mark (1
January 2004). "What Is the
History of Medieval
Optics Really about?".
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 148 (2): 180–94.
JSTOR 1558283. PMID 15338543.
The full title translation is from p. 60 of James R. Voelkel (2001)
Johannes Kepler and the New
University Press. Kepler
was driven to this experiment after observing the partial solar
eclipse at Graz, July 10, 1600. He used Tycho Brahe's method of
observation, which was to project the image of the sun on a piece of
paper through a pinhole aperture, instead of looking directly at the
sun. He disagreed with Brahe's conclusion that total eclipses of the
sun were impossible, because there were historical accounts of total
eclipses. Instead he deduced that the size of the aperture controls
the sharpness of the projected image (the larger the aperture, the
more accurate the image – this fact is now fundamental for
optical system design). Voelkel, p. 61, notes that Kepler's
experiments produced the first correct account of vision and the eye,
because he realized he could not accurately write about astronomical
observation by ignoring the eye.
^ di Francia 1976, p. 13: "The amazing point is that for the
first time since the discovery of mathematics, a method has been
introduced, the results of which have an intersubjective value!"
^ di Francia 1976, pp. 4–5: "One learns in a laboratory; one
learns how to make experiments only by experimenting, and one learns
how to work with his hands only by using them. The first and
fundamental form of experimentation in physics is to teach young
people to work with their hands. Then they should be taken into a
laboratory and taught to work with measuring instruments – each
student carrying out real experiments in physics. This form of
teaching is indispensable and cannot be read in a book."
^ Fara 2009, p. 204: "Whatever their discipline, scientists
claimed to share a common scientific method that ...
distinguished them from non-scientists."
Women in science
Women in science have included:
Hypatia (c. 350–415 CE), of the Library of Alexandria.
Trotula of Salerno, a physician c. 1060 CE.
Caroline Herschel, one of the first professional astronomers of the
18th and 19th centuries.
Christine Ladd-Franklin, a doctoral student of C. S. Peirce, who
published Wittgenstein's proposition 5.101 in her dissertation, 40
years before Wittgenstein's publication of Tractatus
Henrietta Leavitt, a professional human computer and astronomer, who
first published the significant relationship between the luminosity of
Cepheid variable stars and their distance from Earth. This allowed
Hubble to make the discovery of the expanding universe, which led to
the Big Bang theory.
Emmy Noether, who proved the conservation of energy and other
constants of motion in 1915.
Marie Curie, who made discoveries relating to radioactivity along with
her husband, and for whom
Curium is named.
Rosalind Franklin, who worked with
^ Nina Byers, Contributions of 20th Century Women to
provides details on 83 female physicists of the 20th century. By 1976,
more women were physicists, and the 83 who were detailed were joined
by other women in noticeably larger numbers.
^ This realization is the topic of intersubjective verifiability, as
recounted, for example, by
Max Born (1949, 1965) Natural
Cause and Chance, who points out that all knowledge, including natural
or social science, is also subjective. p. 162: "Thus it dawned upon me
that fundamentally everything is subjective, everything without
exception. That was a shock."
^ a b In his investigation of the law of falling bodies, Galileo
(1638) serves as example for scientific investigation: Two New
Sciences "A piece of wooden moulding or scantling, about 12 cubits
long, half a cubit wide, and three finger-breadths thick, was taken;
on its edge was cut a channel a little more than one finger in
breadth; having made this groove very straight, smooth, and polished,
and having lined it with parchment, also as smooth and polished as
possible, we rolled along it a hard, smooth, and very round bronze
ball. Having placed this board in a sloping position, by lifting one
end some one or two cubits above the other, we rolled the ball, as I
was just saying, along the channel, noting, in a manner presently to
be described, the time required to make the descent. We . . . now
rolled the ball only one-quarter the length of the channel; and having
measured the time of its descent, we found it precisely one-half of
the former. Next we tried other distances, comparing the time for the
whole length with that for the half, or with that for two-thirds, or
three-fourths, or indeed for any fraction; in such experiments,
repeated many, many, times."
Galileo solved the problem of time
measurement by weighing a jet of water collected during the descent of
the bronze ball, as stated in his Two New Sciences.
^ Godfrey-Smith 2003, p. 151 credits Willard Van Orman Quine
(1969) "Epistemology Naturalized" Ontological Relativity and Other
Essays New York: Columbia
University Press, as well as John Dewey,
with the basic ideas of naturalism – Naturalized Epistemology,
but Godfrey-Smith diverges from Quine's position: according to
Godfrey-Smith, "A naturalist can think that science can contribute to
answers to philosophical questions, without thinking that
philosophical questions can be replaced by science questions.".
^ "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single
experiment can prove me wrong." —Albert Einstein, noted by
Alice Calaprice (ed. 2005) The New Quotable
University Press and Hebrew
University of Jerusalem,
ISBN 0-691-12074-9 p. 291. Calaprice denotes this not as an exact
quotation, but as a paraphrase of a translation of A. Einstein's
"Induction and Deduction". Collected Papers of Albert
Document 28. Volume 7 is The Berlin Years: Writings, 1918–1921. A.
Einstein; M. Janssen, R. Schulmann, et al., eds.
^ Fleck, Ludwik (1979). Trenn, Thaddeus J.; Merton, Robert K, eds.
Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. Chicago:
Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-25325-2. Claims that before a
specific fact "existed", it had to be created as part of a social
agreement within a community.
Steven Shapin (1980) "A view of
Science ccvii (Mar 7, 1980) 1065–66 states "[To
Fleck,] facts are invented, not discovered. Moreover, the appearance
of scientific facts as discovered things is itself a social
construction: a made thing. "
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