Science, in the broadest sense, refers to any systematic knowledge or practice.
In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.
Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines: Natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life), and Social sciences, which study human behavior and societies. These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being experimented for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions. Mathematics, which is sometimes classified within a third group of science called formal science, has both similarities and differences with the natural and social sciences.
It is similar to empirical sciences in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods.
Formal science, which also includes statistics and logic, is vital to the empirical sciences.
Major advances in formal science have often led to major advances in the physical and biological sciences.
The formal sciences are essential in the formation of hypotheses, theories, and laws, both in discovering and describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences). Science as discussed in this article is sometimes termed experimental science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of scientific research to specific human needs, though the two are often interconnected. The scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way, and to use these reproductions to make useful predictions.
It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions.
It provides an objective process to find solutions to problems in a number of scientific and technological fields.
Often scientists have a preference for one outcome over another, and scientists are conscientious that it is important that this preference does not bias their interpretation.
A strict following of the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of a scientist's bias on the outcome of an experiment.
This can be achieved by correct experimental design, and a thorough peer review of the experimental results as well as conclusions of a study. Scientists use models to refer to a description or depiction of something, specifically one which can be used to make predictions that can be tested by experiment or observation.
A hypothesis is a contention that has been neither well supported nor yet ruled out by experiment.
A theory, in the context of science, is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of certain natural phenomena.
A theory typically describes the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a hypothesis—commonly, a large number of hypotheses may be logically bound together by a single theory.
A physical law or law of nature is a scientific generalization based on a sufficiently large number of empirical observations that it is taken as fully verified.
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