The Science Portal
Science is the methodical study of nature including testable
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
Western world, the term "
natural philosophy" encompassed fields of study that are today associated with science, such as
astronomy, medicine, and
physics. However, during the
Islamic Golden Age foundations for the
scientific method were laid by
Ibn al-Haytham in his
Book of Optics. While the classification of the material world by the ancient
air, earth, fire and water was more philosophical, medieval
Middle Easterns used
practical, experimental observation to classify materials.
Today, the ever-evolving term "science" refers to the pursuit of knowledge, not the knowledge itself. It is often synonymous with "natural and physical science" and often restricted to those branches of study relating to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws. Although the term implies exclusion of pure mathematics, many university faculties include Mathematics Departments within their Faculty of Science. The dominant sense in ordinary use has a narrower use for the term "science." It developed as a part of science becoming a distinct enterprise of defining the "
laws of nature"; early examples include
laws of motion. In this period it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as "natural science." Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the
disciplined study of the natural world, including
biology. This sometimes left the study of human thought and society in a linguistic limbo, which was resolved by classifying these areas of academic study as
social science. For example, psychology evolved from philosophy, and has grown into an area of study.
Currently, there are both "hard" (e.g. biological psychology) and "soft" science (e.g. social psychology) fields within the discipline. As a result, and as is consistent with the unfolding of the study of knowledge and development of methods to establish facts, each area of psychology employs a scientific method. Reflecting the evolution of the development of knowledge and established facts and the use of the scientific method, Psychology Departments in universities are found within: Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts, and a Faculty of Science. Similarly, several other major areas of disciplined study and knowledge exist today under the general rubric of "science", such as
formal science and
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