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For a topic outline of science, see Outline of science.


Science is formed from methodical study of nature stemming from testable explanations and predictions. An older and closely related current meaning emerged from Aristotle, whereby "science" referred to the body of reliable knowledge that is logically and rationally explained (see "History and etymology" section below).

Since classical antiquity, science as knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the two words, "science" and "philosophy", were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language. By the 17th century, "natural philosophy" emerged as "natural science", separate from "philosophy", in general. "Science" continued to denote reliable knowledge about a topic; it remains in use in modern terms such as library science or political science.

Ever-evolving, "science" is, more modernly, a term referring to the pursuit of knowledge, and 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 law(s). Sometimes the term implies exclusion of pure mathematics although 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 "laws of nature"; early examples include Kepler's laws, Galileo's laws, and Newton's 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 physics, chemistry, geology and 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 as 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 use of the scientific method, Psychology Departments in universities are found in all of: Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts, and within 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 applied science.

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Nanodevice that efficiently produces visible light, through energy transfer from quantum wells to quantum dots.
A quantum dot is a semiconducting crystal in nanotechnology. Quantum dots confine electrons, holes, electron-hole pairs, or excitons to zero dimensions in a region of the order of the electrons' Compton wavelength. This confinement leads to discrete quantized energy levels and to the quantization of charge in units of the elementary electric charge e. Quantum dots are particularly significant for optical applications due to their theoretically high quantum yield. Quantum dots have also been suggested as implementations of a qubit for quantum information processing.

Because the quantum dot has discrete energy levels, much like an atom, they are sometimes called artificial atoms. The energy levels can be controlled by changing the size and shape of the quantum dot, and the depth of the potential. Like in atoms, the energy levels of small quantum dots can be probed by optical spectroscopy techniques. In contrast to atoms it is relatively easy to connect quantum dots by tunnel barriers to conducting leads, which allows the application of the techniques of tunneling spectroscopy for their investigation.

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Skull and craniometric measurement apparatus, from 1902.
Credit: Fawcett & Lee

Craniometry is the technique of measuring the bones of the skull. Craniometry was once intensively practiced in anthropology and ethnology. Human skulls can be classified into three main categories based on cephalic index: dolichocephalic: long and thin; brachycephalic: short and broad; mesocephalic: intermediate length and breadth.

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Emil Adolf von Behring
Emil Adolf von Behring (March 15, 1854 – March 31, 1917) was born at Hansdorf, Eylau, Germany (as Emil Adolf Behring). Between 1874 and 1878, he studied medicine at the Army Medical College in Berlin. He was mainly a military doctor and then became Professor of Hygienics within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Marburg. Behring was the discoverer of diphtheria antitoxin and attained a great reputation by that means and by his contributions to the study of immunity. He won the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901 for developing a serum therapy against diphtheria (this was worked on with Emile Roux) and tetanus. The former had been a scourge of the population, especially children, whereas the other was a leading cause of death in wars, killing the wounded.

Did you know...

Laser harp

  • ...that a laser harp (pictured) is an electronic musical instrument consisting of several laser beams that are blocked to produce sound?

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