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What is Science?

January 28, 2013

Hi, my name is Emerald Robinson, and in this “What Is” video, we’re going to try to pinpoint an answer to the question, “What is Science?”

Science can be defined as the process of observing and questioning the world around us. We also sometimes call the things we learn through experimentation “science.” In fact, the term science itself comes from a Latin word that means “knowledge,” and the names of many branches of science end with “-ology,” which means “study of” in Greek.

Scientists aim to gain new knowledge through a disciplined set of steps called the scientific method. The scientific method consists of:

- Asking a question
- Proposing a possible solution, called a “hypothesis”
- Testing the hypothesis through a series of experiments
- Examining the results of the experiments to see if the hypothesis has been supported or refuted, and then
- Proposing a new question, or a new hypothesis.

Scientists can specialize in one of hundreds of different fields, all of which focus on different types of knowledge. For example:

Physical sciences like chemistry and physics examine the laws of nature. They are considered to be the “fundamental” sciences because everything in the universe obeys these natural laws. Astronomers, physicists, and engineers study physical sciences – Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie were physical scientists.

Scientists in life sciences like evolution, microbiology, and zoology study anything living. Medicine is also considered to be a life science. Charles Darwin and Rachel Carson are two well-known biologists.

Social scientists who take jobs in fields such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology study humans and human behavior. Sigmund Freud and Margaret Mead were both social scientists.

Science never ends. Every day scientists make new discoveries and answer new questions – but there are always new mysteries to uncover and problems to solve.



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