Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
From classical antiquity through the 19th century, science as a type of knowledge was more closely linked to philosophy. In the West, the term natural philosophy encompassed fields of study that are currently associated with disciplines such as classical physics, astronomy and medicine and was a precursor of modern natural sciences (life science and physical science). In the 17th and 18th centuries, scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature. Over the centuries, the term science became associated with the scientific method, a systematic way of studying the natural world and particularly in the 19th century, multiple distinguishing characteristics of contemporary modern science began to take shape.
Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, economics), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g. mathematics, logic, theoretical computer science), which study abstract concepts. There is disagreement, however, on the formal sciences being a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use science, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.
Science is related to research and is commonly organized by academic and research institutions as well as government agencies and companies. The practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, armaments, health care, and environmental protection.
(born February 9, 1963, New York
), is a physicist
at Columbia University
. His book The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
in nonfiction, and winner of The Aventis Prizes for Science Books
. The Elegant Universe
was later made into a PBS
television special with Dr. Greene as the narrator. His second book, The Fabric of the Cosmos
(2004), is about space
, and the nature of the universe. Aspects covered in this book include non-local particle entanglement as he relates to special relativity
and basic explanations of string theory. It is an examination of the very nature of matter and reality, covering such topics as spacetime
, origins and unification, and including an exploration into reality and the imagination.
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