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A magnet levitates above a superconductor

Science (from the Latin word scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages, but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived "natural philosophy", which was later transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape; along with the changing of "natural philosophy" to "natural science."

Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, and sociology), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g., logic, mathematics, and theoretical computer science), which study abstract concepts. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences actually constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.

Science is based on research, which is commonly conducted in academic and research institutions, as well as in 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. (Full article...)

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Gallium melts in your hand.
Credit: Foobar

Gallium (IPA: /ˈgaliəm/) is a chemical element that has the symbol Ga and atomic number 31. A rare, soft silvery metallic poor metal, gallium is a brittle solid at low temperatures but liquefies slightly above room temperature and will melt in the hand. It occurs in trace amounts in bauxite and zinc ores. An important application is in the compound gallium arsenide, used as a semiconductor, most notably in light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

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Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (About this soundpronunciation ), April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, having been a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Born as the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant girl, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, spending his final years in France at the home given to him by King François I.

Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man", a man whose seemingly infinite curiosity was equalled only by his powers of invention.[1] He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.[2]

It is primarily as a painter that Leonardo was and is renowned. Two of his works, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper occupy unique positions as the most famous, most reproduced and most parodied portrait and religious painting of all time, their fame approached only by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam.[1] Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also iconic. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number due to his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination.[b] Nevertheless, these few works together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, comprise a contribution to later generations of artists only rivalled by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

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Science News

19 January 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
Scientists discover that WASP-107b is a super-puff. WASP-107b is an exoplanet the same size as Jupiter but with one tenth the mass, located 212 light years away from Earth. (CBS News) (Sci-News)
30 December 2020 – 2020 in paleontology
Scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences announce the discovery of a "well-preserved" woolly rhinoceros carcass in Abyysky District, Sakha, Russia, which was revealed by melting permafrost in August. The Russian Academy of Sciences says that the woolly rhinoceros was likely 3 or 4 years old when it died by drowning in the river, and could be anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 years old. (ABC News)
18 December 2020 –
A review of some recent medical studies shows that memory T cells may play a role in a phenomenon known as cross-reactivity, which researchers found may perhaps give certain people, in some cases, some level of immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 even without them having been exposed to or infected with the virus, or having received a vaccine. There are certain structural and clinical similarities between the virus that causes COVID-19 and the other coronaviruses that are related to it, which cause SARS and MERS. (MSN)
16 December 2020 – Chinese space program
China National Space Administration (CNSA) spacecraft Chang'e 5 returns to Earth carrying samples of lunar rocks and soil from the surface of the Moon. The capsule will be airlifted to Beijing for formal opening and the samples will be made available to scientists in other countries, according to the CNSA. (The Guardian)
6 December 2020 – Uncrewed spaceflights to the International Space Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches a cargo ship into orbit to re-supply the International Space Station. (CBS News)
1 December 2020 – 2020 SO
Unknown astronomical object 2020 SO makes its closest approach to Earth at a perigee distance of approximately 0.13 lunar distances (50,000 km; 31,000 mi). Researchers, who discovered 2020 SO on September 17, 2020, are still unsure whether the object is a small near-Earth asteroid or an artificial object. The booster of Surveyor 2's Atlas-Centaur rocket, launched by NASA in 1966, is suspected by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (CNET)

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  1. ^ a b Gardner, Helen (1970), Art through the Ages, Harcourt, Brace and World
  2. ^ Vasari, Boltraffio, Castiglione, "Anonimo" Gaddiano, Berensen, Taine, Fuseli, Rio, Bortolon, etc. See specific quotations under heading "Leonardo, the legend".