The word science comes from the Latin "scientia," meaning knowledge.
According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is "knowledge attained through study or practice," or "knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world."
Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.
The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system. Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it.
Perhaps the most general description is that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality.
Most scientific investigations use some form of the scientific method.
Biology is the branch of science dealing with the study of life. It describes the characteristics, classification, and behaviors of organisms, how species come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with the environment. Biology has many specialized areas, covering a wide range of scales, from biochemistry to ecology.
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Chemistry is the science of matter at or near the atomic scale. (Matter is the substance of which all physical objects are made.) Chemistry deals with the properties of matter, and the transformation and interactions of matter and energy. Central to chemistry is the interaction of one substance with another, such as in a chemical reaction, where a substance or substances are transformed into another. Chemistry primarily studies atoms and collections of atoms such as molecules, crystals or metals that make up ordinary matter. According to modern chemistry it is the structure of matter at the atomic scale that determines the nature of a material. Chemistry has many specialized areas that overlap with other sciences, such as physics, biology or geology. Scientists who study chemistry are called chemists. Historically, the science of chemistry is a recent development but has its roots in alchemy which has been practiced for millennia throughout the world. The word chemistry is directly derived from the word alchemy.
Physics is the study of the natural world. It deals with the fundamental particles of which the universe is made, and the interactions between those particles, the objects composed of them (nuclei, atoms, molecules, etc) and energy. Physics is the science of Nature - of matter and energy in space and time. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena covering enormous scales: from the subatomic particles to the Universe as a whole. All laws and forces of nature originate from mathematical symmetries of space and time, so modern physics currently focuses on studying these symmetries. Physics is very dependent on mathematics. Models and theories in physics are expressed using mathematical equations. However, while physics uses mathematics to describe the material world, mathematics may deal with strictly abstract concepts and patterns. There is a large overlap between the two fields, known as mathematical physics.
Earth science (also known as geoscience) deals with study of the planet Earth. It uses an interdisciplinary approach, including aspects of physics, geography, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Some of the specialized areas include: geology (study of the rocky parts of the Earth's crust), oceanography and hydrology (marine and freshwater systems), and atmospheric sciences (weather and climate).
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