What Is Science?
It’s a question often asked, but not so easily answered. Science is all around us and is part of everything we see and do. From the moment you wake up in the morning to the second you close your eyes at night science is a part of your life (in fact, it’s still working away while you sleep!). Millions of scientific processes are going on without you even noticing. And most of them will continue on forever (or at least for a very long time). To help us explain this complex question we decided to bring in a few different examples of how other people have attempted to described “What is science?”.
One of the definitions we found goes like this:
” Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work. It is derived from the Latin word “scientia,” which translates to knowledge. Unlike the arts, science aims for measurable results through testing and analysis. Science is based on fact, not opinion or preferences. The process of science is designed to challenge ideas through research. It is not meant to prove theories, but rule out alternative explanations until a likely conclusion is reached.” -1
This is further explained here:
“Science relies on testing ideas with evidence gathered from the natural world… Science is complex and multi-faceted, but the most important characteristics of science are straightforward:
- Science focuses exclusively on the natural world, and does not deal with supernatural explanations.
- Science is a way of learning about what is in the natural world, how the natural world works, and how the natural world got to be the way it is. It is not simply a collection of facts; rather it is a path to understanding.
- Scientists work in many different ways, but all science relies on testing ideas by figuring out what expectations are generated by an idea and making observations to find out whether those expectations hold true.
- Accepted scientific ideas are reliable because they have been subjected to rigorous testing, but as new evidence is acquired and new perspectives emerge these ideas can be revised.
- Science is a community endeavor. It relies on a system of checks and balances, which helps ensure that science moves in the direction of greater accuracy and understanding. This system is facilitated by diversity within the scientific community, which offers a broad range of perspectives on scientific ideas.” -2
And here’s one more:
“Science is the concerted human effort to understand, or to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding1. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural processes under controlled conditions.” -3
So you see, there is no quick and easy answer to “What is Science?”. In fact, we probably just brought up more questions! But we’ll try to help you all to get your own understanding of what science is, and what scientists do, in some of our upcoming posts!
And don’t forget… If you’ve got your own definition or want to ask more questions on this topic please leave a comment below. We’ll try to answer everyone as best (and as fast) as we can.
-1 “What is Science? The Scientific Method” by Live Science; http://www.livescience.com/20896-science-scientific-method.html
-2 “Understanding Science: An Overview” by Understanding Science; http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/intro_01
-3 “What is Science?” by University of Georgia – Department of Geology; http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/1122science2.html
What Is Science?