What is science?

Trying to understand things by making observations (watching) and carrying out experiments (poking)

What is science?

When you watch the world and interact with it to try and work something out – that’s science.

That’s all science is. Trying to understand things.

But that thing could be very difficult to understand. You may want to know why the sun shines, what electricity is, or how the universe began.

Scientists make new discoveries. They come up with new ways of working things out. Then, they make more things. Those new things help us to understand more things.

That’s a lot of things

Science is a massive topic. So, it’s been split into lots of different disciplines (areas). These include:

  • Applied science – makes practical things, like technology and other inventions.
  • Formal science – creates theories, methods and equations, including maths and artificial intelligence.
  • Natural science – studies the natural world, to better understand and predict it.
  • Social science – examines humans, including our behaviour and societies.

So what?

Science increases understanding. It can be used to explain the past and predict the future.

Science creates new technologies and ideas.

Science is based on collaboration, letting us share those new technologies and ideas to improve our world and our understanding.

What else?

Science is a never-ending pursuit. It’s impossible to predict where it will take us next.

Quantum computing, artificial intelligence, big data, the effects of technology on our wellbeing, and the ethics and trust within science have all hit the headlines in recent times.

Science will continue to change how we observe and interact with the world, every day.

Want more?

Richard Feynman explains the scientific and unscientific methods of understanding nature.

Christmas Lectures

Every year, the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures explain everything from “Who am I?” to “How to survive in space”.

Cosmic Shambles

Content for people who “want to keep on discovering and learning about our wondrous universe and who want to have a laugh while doing it.”

Nautilus Magazine

A different sort of publication delivering big-picture science by reporting on a single monthly topic from multiple perspectives.

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