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Science is the attempt to develop a body of knowledge that offers the fullest coherent explanation, and provides the most accurate and consistent predictions, regarding the physical world. Observation, experimentation and critical reasoning all play crucial roles in the advancement of scientific knowledge. A discipline is widely regarded as a science if and only if its practitioners apply the 'scientific method', which involves the formation of a testable hypothesis, followed by ongoing attempts to refute this hypothesis via critical reasoning, experimentation and observation. A hypothesis that has been rigorously tested under a wide variety of conditions, and which remains unrefuted, is tentatively accepted as a useful approximation to the truth, but, critically, remains a 'theory' or 'conjecture', as future observations may yet refute it.

Physical sciences such as physics, chemistry, and astronomy conduct inquiry into the physical universe. Life sciences such as biology conduct inquiry into life processes. Social sciences such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and political science conduct inquiry into human behaviour.

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Big Science usually implies, and gets its "big-ness" from, these specific characteristics:

  • big budgets: The project no longer has to rely on philanthropy or industry,
  • big staffs: There are many science practitioners involved in the project,
  • big machines: Extremely large machines are used in the research process (e.g. Ernest Lawrence's cyclotron at his Radiation Laboratory),
  • big laboratories: The large volume of research taking place requires equally large facilities.

It has also been stated as involving five M's, which are: Men, Machines, Media, Money, and Military. ...More...



Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia: Science