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Portal:Science

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Colbert Presenting the Members of the Royal Academy of Sciences to Louis XIV in 1667.PNG

Members of the Academy in 1667 with Louis XIV

Science (from Latin scientia 'knowledge') is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.

The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3000 to 1200 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 deal with symbols governed by rules. 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.

New knowledge in science is advanced by research from scientists who are motivated by curiosity about the world and a desire to solve problems. Contemporary scientific research is highly collaborative and is usually done by teams in academic and research institutions, government agencies, and companies. The practical impact of their work 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, public infrastructure, and environmental protection. (Full article...)

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View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is toward the northeast. Earth, also known as Terra, and (mostly in the 19th century) Tellus, is the third-closest planet to the Sun. It is the largest of the solar system's terrestrial planets and the only planetary body that modern science confirms as harboring life. Scientific evidence indicates that the planet formed around 4.57 billion years ago, and shortly thereafter (4.533 billion years ago) acquired its single natural satellite, the Moon.

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Barry Voight 1955 yearbook photo
Barry Voight (/vɔɪt/; born 1937) is an American geologist, volcanologist, author, and engineer. After earning his Ph.D. at Columbia University, Voight worked as a professor of geology at several universities, including Pennsylvania State University, where he taught from 1964 until his retirement in 2005. He remains an emeritus professor there and still conducts research, focusing on rock mechanics, plate tectonics, disaster prevention, and geotechnical engineering.

In April 1980, Voight's publications on landslides, avalanches, and other mass movements attracted the attention of Rocky Crandell of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), who asked him to look at a growing bulge on the Mount St. Helens volcano in the state of Washington. Voight foresaw the collapse of the mountain's north flank as well as a powerful eruption. His predictions came true when St. Helens erupted in May 1980; Voight was then hired by the USGS to investigate the debris avalanche that initiated the eruption. After his work at Mount St. Helens brought him international recognition, Voight continued researching and guiding monitoring efforts at several active volcanoes throughout his career, including Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, Mount Merapi in Indonesia, and Soufrière Hills, a volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. For his research, publications, and disaster prevention work as a volcanologist and engineer, Voight has been honored with numerous awards, appointments, and medals.

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