Talk:Natural science

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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 7 April 2020 and 16 May 2020. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Mushtaqr06.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 05:00, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why was MATERIALS SCIENCE listed at sub-heading level[edit]

Materials Science is not one of the five branches of natural science

Why "nonhuman"?[edit]

What about human biology? siroχo 04:20, Sep 7, 2004 (UTC)

Or human anatomy and physiology, which includes a healthy dose of biochemistry? What happened to this discussion? Let's reopen it, this is an important topic... Exmachina 12:33, 28 Jul 2005 (GMT-5)

Biochemistry and organic chemistry should be mentioned under chemistry. No mention of the branches of Chemistry in the section. Psmith004 (talk) 03:16, 14 March 2020 (UTC)Psmith004Reply[reply]

Nice URL[edit]

Short, simple, to the point. FuelWagon 19:13, 23 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Computer science[edit]

Hi all. The article says that Computer science is not a natural science, but provides may tools for other sciences.

Why Computer Science is not a natural science[edit]

  • Computer science studies Information, just like physics studies Energy.
  • Computer science studies computations, the evolution over time of a physical system (a computer).
Arguably, computer science is broader than either of those two parametrizations. Information science can be thought of as a branch of physics which studies physical information. Likewise the study of computations is entirely mathematical and not an empirical subject, per se. What's more, computer science encompasses the study of systems, hardware, software, etc. that are not technically part of either of those two studies. Computer science, in many ways, has parts that are natural science and parts that aren't. It shouldn't be categorized as a natural science any more than, say, engineering. --ScienceApologist 12:25, 24 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why computer science is a natural science[edit]

  • Because it is more like mathematics
  • Because it is more like engineering

Scope of natural science[edit]

I changed the intro to say "physical things we know about", because we also know about non-physical things (such as mathematics and logic).

Also, I would hope that the article will make a clear and easily-accepted distinction between the physical sciences and other areas of scientific scrutiny. I'm not sure "political science" is anything more than a fancy name for the academic study of politics, but I'm pretty sure that even psychology can be studied with a scientific attitude. --Uncle Ed 20:33, 2 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While I agree this is an improvement, "physical" is still not the ideal adjective. I believe most people wouldn't think of the following physical things as being studied within the natural sciences: medicinal drugs, weapons, transportation networks, and computers (perhaps - see discussion of computer science above). All of these things involve people in their creation and use. Also, "physical things" might seem less inclusive of biological topics like ecology or evolution. -- Avenue 22:22, 2 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wouldn't anything invented by human being fall into the category of technology (or engineering)? Fluid dynamics ought to be a physical science or Natural science but "plumbing" is a trade.
I'm not making any arguments here, just wondering aloud how we should organize some of this knowledge. A buddy of mine has a degree in Library Sciences, maybe he can help. --Uncle Ed 23:56, 2 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just a minor comment to say, once again, that I dont think natural should be opposed to artificial, it should rather be opposed (IMHO) to super-natural. Things invented by humans, from this point of view, are not automatically discalified from falling under the scope of natural sciences: it depends if it applies the scientific method or not (which is not the case of "plumbing"!!! ;)) --Powo 09:36, 4 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except it seems to me that natural and artificial more accurately reflect the distinction made by the proponents of ID if we accept the premise outlined by Naturalism (philosophy) that the supernatural cannot be studied by the same methods as the natural. Hackwrench 00:19, 2 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay then if "natural" means other than supernatural (like seeing ghosts or Joan of Arc hearing voices), then that gives us one boundary at least. But what about sciences such as psychology? Only behavioral psychology takes a purely materialistic approach. Can science study phenomena which aren't directly observable with electrodes and dials and such? Or does scholarship consist only of "natural science" and "other organized bodies of research"? Sociology, economics, anthropology, can these be "sciences" by any stretch of the meaning? (Surely not natural sciences - but what kind of science then?) --Uncle Ed 12:30, 4 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi. On the nature page, I find this: [...]One approach is to exclude mind from the realm of the natural; another is to exclude not only mind, but also humans and their influence.[...] I think this acception of the wordnature is quite adequate in the context (natural science) we are intersted in. What do you think? --Powo 20:36, 4 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mapping the sciences: scientific adjectives/name of the science(s)[edit]

Scientific adjectives is a sub-project of the WikiProject Conceptual Jungle, aiming at making an overview in a table of scientific adjectives and the various branches of (the) science(s) and qualify them by discussing them, improving the Wikipedia articles and make clear the interlinkages. Please feel free to add your contributions to the table. Best regards, Brz7 12:45, 3 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This Article is Forever Consigned to be a Quagmire.[edit]

Even though I deeply believe there will never be even a remote consensus of what the subject of the article is, one way to try to go forward, would be to acknowledge upfront in the article that various people through the ages have meant, and still do mean any number of things when they say "natural science". I know the very suggestion will make some people very upset, but I can't see you do anything but engage in an eternal tug-of-war on this article otherwise. Just my two cents. -- Cimon Avaro; on a pogostick. 07:36, 17 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Expansion of this page[edit]

I think this page could be readily developed along the same lines as the Social sciences page. That is, a section of history and sub-sections on the primary disciplines. — RJH (talk) 15:43, 19 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What happened to the first sentence?[edit]

This is now the opening sentence:

In science, natural science is the application of logic to the study of the universe - so universe is understood as obeying rules or laws of natural origin.

First of all, this is no longer good English. Perhaps a word is missing. Secondly it seems silly. Applying the laws of logic to an observation gives no conclusions at all. Logic does not tell you what assumptions to make and can only come into effect once assumptions have been made. Natural science is all about working out what is true, in other words, which assumptions are the right ones.--Andrew Lancaster 10:15, 7 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

what is topics held in physics —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:33, 14 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Natural Science is the closed group of all sciences that study a change in location. Dsoconno (talk) 15:05, 5 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Invitation to editors to vote/discuss definition of science in Talk:Science[edit]

There has been an extensive discussion on the Talk:Science of what the lead definition of the science article should be. I suspect this might be an issue that may be of interest to the editors of this page. If so, please come to the voting section of the talk science page to vote and express your views. Thank you. mezzaninelounge (talk) 18:26, 18 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statistics as a humanity?[edit]

The article claims in its Overview section, without citation,

"Though mathematics, statistics, and computer science are not considered natural sciences (mathematics traditionally considered among the liberal arts and statistics among the humanities, for instance), they provide many tools and frameworks used within the natural sciences."

It seems doubtful that statistics has ever been considered a humanity. There is no mention of such classification on its Wikipedia page, and standard references on the subject (e.g., Casella and Berger) make no mention of it. I'll flag the claim as "citation needed". Tpudlik (talk) 11:25, 26 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What's with all the low quality edits lately[edit]

I appreciate that more and more high school teachers are assigning their students a project to update a Wikipedia page, but not when an entire class of non-registered snot faces start editing the first paragraph with things like "Natural Sciences, whose examples include physics, biology, and such, etc." — Preceding unsigned comment added by JoelDick (talkcontribs) 13:51, 15 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some of what you just undid may be leftovers of the "get to philosophy" game that spiked recently after some exposure on a news aggregating site, followed by mention in a webcomic. Regarding low-quality school project edits, it might be useful to encourage teachers to have their kids check in on the talk page before trying to re-invent an article. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 15:11, 15 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking of low-quality edits, do we really need a link for the common word 'branch' in the phrase "branch of science"? And if we do, does it really have to be a link to the article about tree branches? Creating that link seems to be the most popular low-quality edit of all. (talk) 21:12, 6 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think a wikilink on branch to branch (academia) makes sense. I'd put a {{R with possibilities}} there, but List of academic disciplines really is enough of a definition. Mark Hurd (talk) 14:45, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this was only put into place to break the fact that clicking the first link on any wikipedia page eventually leads to the Philosophy page. Since this is one of the most common pages to go through, the branch link causes an infinite loop and breaks breaks the game for most pages. (talk) 13:30, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mathematics is not a natural science?[edit]

There is a contradiction between this article and the "Mathematics" article.

From the mathematics article: "It is first necessary to ask what is meant by mathematics in general. Illustrious scholars have debated this matter until they were blue in the face, and yet no consensus has been reached about whether mathematics is a natural science, a branch of the humanities, or an art form."

The quote is from the book: A Life at the Crossroads of Mathematics, Science, and Industry. Springer. pp. 9. ISBN 3034802293.

So is mathematics a natural science? As a mathematician I tend to agree that there is no consensus on this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bgst (talkcontribs) 13:00, 24 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, the lead says mathematics is a natural science and the first paragraph of the Overview says it's not. So, on average they agree! I agree it would be most accurate to say that there is no consensus. Your reference will help - this article is rather short of them. RockMagnetist (talk) 16:25, 24 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mathematics is not a natural science - it is a formal science. Mathematics does not study anything in nature, but mathematics is used in studying nature - in natural sciences. --Hartz (talk) 09:20, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is called formalism and that is just one school of thought. Read the article about the philosophy of mathematics. Many mathematicians including myself believe that mathematics is a part of nature and thus a natural science. I don't think you will find many contemporary philosophers of mathematics that believe in formalism.Bgst (talk) 16:35, 25 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you point to reliable sources that describe this (a book or books would be best)? If so, I'm sure we'll all be happy to add that while mathematics traditionally has been considered a formal science, many modern philosophers of mathematics consider it a natural science. I'm happy to put it in, but please add it yourself if you can -- that's what this project is all about, after all. --Batard0 (talk) 16:57, 25 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure that it is even accurate to say that it traditionally has been considered as not being a natural science. For example, I'm sure most empirists would disagree. What about the quote I mentioned from the mathematics article? Wouldn't that be sufficient? I can try to look in my books for more quotes. Bgst (talk) 22:48, 25 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia should not be used as a source per WP:CIRCULAR. We should be going back to external sources. VQuakr (talk) 23:02, 25 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes but the quote is from a book. Is it a problem that it is used in another Wikipedia article? Bgst (talk) 00:12, 26 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is a suitable source. It would be nice to add some detail about the competing schools of thought, but Philosophy of mathematics is poorly sourced. RockMagnetist (talk) 03:43, 26 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's not a problem at all. I have a couple books aimed at a popular audience about what natural science is, and they say math is a formal science, etc. etc. That's why I assumed it traditionally has been considered a formal science, although I haven't studied up on it to any significant degree. I'd just add what you have, preferably with sources, and we can go from there. As far as I'm concerned, it should be all right if there are good, reliable sources and it's described in the proper context. If we want to go as far as describing mathematics a sixth natural science, though, it'll be important to get some substantial sourcing to contradict or help explain the multiple reliable sources that limit the natural sciences to five. These sources are cited in the article.


Is cosmology a natural science? It is not mentioned in the article at all. --Hartz (talk) 09:20, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm trying to improve the article. I've never seen it discussed as a main branch of the natural sciences in any sources, but cosmology and cosmography are mentioned three times in the history section so far. I expect modern cosmology to appear again later in the history, but I haven't reached that part of it yet. How should it be included? As a sub-discipline of astronomy or an interdisciplinary thing? It'd be useful if you could put in some material about it if you have sources... --Batard0 (talk) 09:28, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I haven't seen it mentioned either (based on very limited reading). My search function did not find the word from the document, sorry about that. I am not an expert on the subject, and the reason why I asked if cosmology is a natural science is that I don't know, but started to ponder that it does study something in nature if astronomy is also thought to study something in nature (but not something on Earth). I don't know if cosmology is a sub-disciple of astronomy or if astronomy is a sub-discipline of cosmology or is it some interdisciplinary thing. I would say that astronomy is more interdisciplinary than cosmology. I don't know what sources we should try to find or who to ask about the relation of cosmology and astronomy. The question is surely about the relation of cosmology and astronomy. --Hartz (talk) 10:59, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll look through some books on this when I get the chance. Based on the wikipedia article (not reliable, of course), it seems to me like cosmology is probably a mix of astronomy and physics. I have a couple sources that define the natural sciences, and they both say they are physics, chemistry, geology (Earth science), astronomy and biology, so I'm fairly certain it's not considered one of the main branches unless something has changed within the past couple years, and I'm fairly certain that astronomy is a main branch of the natural sciences and not an interdisciplinary approach. Thus, if we take the branches as established for the moment, cosmology either has to be a subset of astronomy or an interdisciplinary pursuit. I'll see if I can find out which it is. A better understanding of the history of astronomy may help clear things up. --Batard0 (talk) 11:44, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks in advance. I would guess that cosmology is related to astronomy in the same way as paleontology is related to geology. Making cosmology a part of astronomy (and perhaps physics), as paleontolgy is a part of geology and biology (interdisciplinary). Based on my thinking cosmology is either a sub-discipline of astronomy or interdisciplinary (astronomy+physics). --Hartz (talk) 12:17, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The interdisciplinary subject between astronomy and physics is astrophysics. "The study of cosmology is theoretical astrophysics" based on: --Hartz (talk) 13:58, 7 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Confusion about the aether[edit]

I deleted the image and claim about the famed Michelson & Morley 1887 experiment supposedly disproving the luminiferous aether, supplanted by special theory of relativity [diff]. It is a persistent error of interpretation, made even by Encyclopedia Britannica [1].

Einstein explained, "The special theory of relativity forbids us to assume the ether to consist of particles observable through time, but the hypothesis of ether in itself is not in conflict with the special theory of relativity. Only we must be on guard against ascribing a state of motion of the ether" [2]. General theory of relativity reintroduced aether [3,4], but the term became taboo [4,5]. The aether simply is relativistic, thoroughly consistent with, apparently even required by, quantum physics [4]. Vongehr comments,

"Why is the Higgs boson and its associated Higgs field such bad news for many? In a nutshell: Orthodoxy about Einstein’s general relativity has for about a whole century now academically lynched anybody for mentioning the evil ether. The ether, also 'Einstein-Aether', is the idea that relativity emerges inside a fluid like space-substance that lives through time. This is very much disliked by all those who almost religiously believe in the dogma of abstract geometrical space-time. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field, and that Higgs field is what gives some of the more fundamental particles like electrons their mass. This is why the Higgs field is also called Higgs-ether!

"As I pointed out before (but you still cannot publish such if not already famous), the ether has long been back with a vengeance in all of modern physics. It does not imply that Einstein was wrong, although orthodoxy still often holds that the Michelson-Morley Ether-drift experiments supposedly disproved the ether and therefore proved Einstein correct. Now with firm evidence for the Higgs ether, perhaps one can finally come out of the closet and say the forbidden taboo word again?" [5].


1) Encyclopedia Britannica, "Light and the ether"

2) Albert Einstein, "Ether and the theory of relativity", 1920

3) Ludwik Kostro, "Albert Einstein's new ether and his general relativity", 2004

4) Robert B Laughlin, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down (New York: Basic Books, 2005), pp 120-121

5) Sascha Vongehr, "Higgs discovery rehabilitating despised Einstein Ether", Science 2.0: Alpha Meme, 13 Dec 2011 (talk) 08:45, 19 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Restored the image as it is in historical context of 19th century science. Vsmith (talk) 15:05, 19 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I posted the diff so someone could easily recover the image if desired, but place it in historical context. The attempt to preserve "historical context of 19th century science" has restored to promulgation a crude error that arose in the 20th century. Since a short correction was insufficiently clear, I will explain the historical context, perhaps to aid lesser indoctrination of Wikipedia readers into quasireligious bias via a thesis never formal in physics—that the aether was disproved to exist—but was an emotional aversion, a taboo surrounding the word aether, that took root by the 1930s and that was enabled by the rise of quantum field theory.
The indication that 19th-century science took Michelson & Morley 1887 as disproof of the aether is an instance of presentism: imposing present presumptions when interpreting history. Not presuming that nullification of such hypotheses as derived from Fresnel's about aether's properties disproved aether's existence, Michelson & Morley 1887 inferred merely nullification of certain hypotheses about aether's properties. At Michelson & Morley 1887's null data, Lorentz explained that the aether had contracted, and mathematically modeled it as Lorentz contraction, the mainstream and generally accepted interpretation of Michelson & Morley 1887 until the early 20th century. Einstein's special theory of relativity—which began popular rejection of the aether—was published in 1905.
Einstein drew influence from Ernest Mach's criticism of Newton's postulated absolute space, and perhaps from Henri Poincaré's criticism of Newton's postulated absolute time. Inimical to hypotheses that exceed direct observation, Mach opposed reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, since the latter required conjecturing atoms and molecules—which Mach regarded as mathematical artifacts of energy—and posed a philosophy of science known as phenomenalism, whereby scientific theory models only patterns of direct sensory experience. Mach was largely the inspiration of the philosophies of science called logical empiricism, which dominated the 20th century from the 1920s to 1960s. And yet Mach also opposed action at a distance, and thus even Mach, as Einstein explained, accepted existence of a universal, dispersive medium, the aether [2]. Einstein's general theory of relativity formalized Mach's aether to be "space" itself, the gravitational field [2].
Einstein explained that even Newton accepted an aether—space itself—merely of universally constant properties, absolute space [2]. It is a 20th-century misinterpretation, simplistic, via presentism, that Newton regarded space as nothing. Newton regarded space as physically real and having physical properties acting on objects, merely regarded this physical entity—absolute space—as otherwise empty and immobile, and posed a corpuscular theory of light, particles traversing absolute space at high speed. Once Huygen's vibratory theory of light—as requiring a waving universal medium—was accepted via Thomas Young's 1803 doubleslit experiment, an aether existing within absolute space was accepted. Maxwell's electromagnetic field was modeled and accepted as oscillations of the aether [4], and the only seeming alternative came in 1905, not the 19th century.
In 1905, Einstein established, against Mach's position, the existence of atoms and molecules by reduction of Ludwig Boltzmann's statistical mechanics and Brownian motion—unexplained since reported in 1827—to Newton's theory of motion via Newton's equations. Then Einstein used another mathematical treatment to propose that the electromagnetic field's energy is distributed as particles corresponding to Max Planck's quanta. (This, however, remained controversial till the 1910s and 1920s when new physicists, embracing quantum mechanics, found a theoretical use for such particles of light, and physical chemist Lewis named them photons.) Then Einstein published special theory of relativity, which refuted Newton's theory of motion itself by discarding absolute space and absolute time, and switching Lorentz transformation and Lorentz contraction from aether drift and aether contraction to time dilation and length contraction, thus hypothesizing relative space and relative time—a phenomenalistic approach—and thereby aligning Maxwell's electromagnetic field with the principle Galilean invariance/relativity without any hypotheses at the aether, discarded from Einstein's physical theory. From special relativity, Einstein deduced the mass-energy equivalence, subverting Newtonian materialism and clearing room for Mach's inference that matter is a variant of energy. That was Einstein's miraculous year, so called, 1905.
Yet to newly explain motion and the phenononem experienced as gravitation, Einstein replaced Newton's gravitational action at a distance—a hypothesized force intstantly traversing the entire universe or an interaction among all objects simultaneously—with a field, which Einstein identified in general theory of relativity as space itself, an aether, after all, a universal and physically real substance whose properties receive motion from a body and transmit it to other bodies [2-5]. Einstein explained that this refuted Lorentz's aether, yet established Mach's aether [2]. By general relativity, the universal medium is fluidlike and yet imponderably rigid, while its newly taken geometry—the surface of the combined dimensions of 3D space and the 1D axis of time as local phenomena—propagates across the universe invisibly as a wave at the speed of Maxwell's electromagnetic field, light speed. In 1955, Einstein died still questing for a unified field theory converging the gravitational and electromagnetic fields as both simply space—a physical substance whose geometry regulates objects' motions and their unfolding through time—as the luminiferous aether.
The formal thesis in physics is that, by the 1950s, statistical mechanics, Brownian motion, and transmission of the electromagnetic field's force onto 3D space along 1D time were all reduced to quantum electrodynamics. Conventional interpretation is not that the electromagnetic field's photons travel continuously across space, merely that at sites of interaction, the field locally and probabilistically sheds the elementary particles photons—the messenger particles or force carriers of the electromagnetic field—as observables measurable after their grafting from the unobservable, invisible electromagnetic field that is relativistic, moving in accord with special relativity. Nobelist Laughlin explains that there is no quantum field theory without the aether, and its word merely became emotionally taboo—not its existence ever experimentally disproved but instead experimentally confirmed—in the 20th century [4]. (talk) 18:08, 19 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems a pity to waste all this scholarship on a talk page discussion of an image. How about adding some of it to Natural science#19th-century developments (1800–1900)? That section is just pitiful. For the caption, how about something neutral like "The Michelson–Morley experiment looked for, but failed to find, any dependence of the speed of light on the direction it is propagating"? You might also want to look at Michelson–Morley experiment and Luminiferous aether; some of your more in-depth discussion might fit in there. RockMagnetist (talk) 19:59, 19 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are science and natural science identical?[edit]

What is the difference between "science" and "natural science" in modern usage? To me "natural science" looks like a pleaonasm for science. So the articles science and natural science should be merged. Other (not less important) disciplines of mind like theology, mathematics or philosophy f.i. are some times termed "... science" e.g. "formal science", but they are not science in the modern sense of the word, as far as I know it and as described on science. The adjective "formal" is not used in a restrictive sense, but it is used to extend the meaning. Only "natural science" is science.

The background of my question is this: I was surprised to find that the article science links to the german article de:Wissenschaft instead of de:Naturwissenschaft. I cannot change that, because natural science also links to Naturwissenschaft. Restricting Wissenschaft to science only would be a great loss. --Hokanomono 06:09, 19 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have commented on the science talkpage. I think there is no problem here, only a slight difference of flavour between German and English, but in English there are several flavours. Some people think of science as meaning only natural science, or at least they have a tendency to think of it as the purest form. No English speaker never uses it only this "pure" way. I request you to replace the interwiki link.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:48, 19 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have resolved some things: natural science does not include mathematics, so science is natural science + mathematics, computer science, et cetera. In german the closed term is "exakte Wissenschaft" --Hokanomono 21:11, 13 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, sociology, economics and political science are not science? Absolutely not? Uh-oh. You've got to tell that the political scientists. And all those theorists who have been working on the demarcation problem. (Gotta love it when a random Wikipedian declares an intractable ancient philosophical problem a no-brainer.) We have an article Exact science already, by the way. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:59, 7 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about cognitive musicology and experimental psychology? Is research using questionnaires science, given that it is quantifiable even if it does not "measure" in the conventional sense (and may not be "exact")? Is amateur astronomy science even without all that fancy math? Does it make a difference if you use Hubble instead of a simple amateur telescope? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:31, 7 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reworded "factual methodology"[edit]

   At the end of the lead 'graph of the accompanying article, i found

... and the formal sciences such as mathematics and logic, which use an a priori, as opposed to factual methodology to study formal systems.

and replaced "factual" with "empirical" (and "observational" would have done as well). I think there are probably technical senses of "factual" that would make the old version true, but it is far too confusing for us to start the article claiming that "1+1=2" is not a fact!
--Jerzyt 05:49, 8 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Materials science and other, newer fields as recent additions to traditional five domains[edit]

Regarding the sentence "In recent years, a new domain called materials science has emerged" in the current version: Since the mention of materials science is currently uncited, I'm wondering what the best sources are for enumerating natural science's different fields, and to what degree they converge. That would tell us how to "weight" materials science with respect to both the five traditional domains and to other, newer hybrid fields like biophysics, chemical biology, and synthetic biology. If there's no general agreement, maybe we could say, simply, that in the 20th century, several new, multidisciplinary fields emerged? What are the best sources for this subject -- philosophers of science maybe? --Middle 8 (leave me alonetalk to meCOI?) 06:40, 8 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I think this is a wonderful public service you Wiki people are doing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:20, 18 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should be "Natural Sciences," not "Natural Science"[edit]

The title of this entry should be "Natural Sciences," because they are more than one and because that's how they have always been called, in the literature and in university courses. Any help? Kileytoo (talk) 11:27, 30 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Natural science is (I thought) not the same as science[edit]

This seems to have been partially addressed in talk, but perhaps not completely in the way I raise here. I was prompted by the pictures in the lead, which show, among other things, bottles of chemicals and a spinning toy. I thought, hmm, chemistry is not necessarily "natural", and, indeed, it often involves laboratory work. A spinning toy is not what I would call "natural" either. Admitting that the terminology "natural science" might conjure up different arguments as to whether or not humankind and its activities should be considered part of "nature", I would think that "natural science" is different from the broader term of "science". In particular, when I use the term "natural science", I tend to mean that part of the surrounding universe, which we observe and study, but which we don't directly control. If that is accepted, then "natural science" is rather distinct from laboratory-based science, and it does motivate some interesting reflection on the the scientific method. I think what I'm saying here is consistent with standard terminology, acknowledging that language is, yes, kind of squishy, and that this issue of what is and is not "natural science" is not so much a distinction that can be precisely argued about (as logic), but which is a matter of conventional usage. Thoughts? Isambard Kingdom (talk) 00:04, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Scientific ‘cartels’ band together to cite each others’ work[edit]

They’re not the kind of gangs that smuggle drugs and murder people. But people looking closely at the scientific literature have discovered that a small number of scientists are part of a different kind of cartel — ones that band together to reference each other’s work, gaming the citation system to make their studies appear to be more important and worthy of attention.

These so-called citation cartels have been around for decades, as the publishing consultant Phil Davis has pointed out. Thomson Reuters, which until recently owned the Impact Factor for ranking journals, has even sanctioned periodicals for evidence of cartel behavior.

Davis, who clearly has an eye for this kind of thing, unearthed a citation cartel a few years back when he came across a 2010 article in Medical Science Monitor with a glaring feature: Of its 490 references, 445 were to articles in an emerging medical journal called Cell Transplantation. Of the rest, 44 were to papers in … Medical Science Monitor. Davis also noticed this: “Three of the four authors of this paper sit on the editorial board of Cell Transplantation. Two are associate editors, one is the founding editor. The fourth is the CEO of a medical communications company.”

That wasn’t a one-off. Davis found similar cases involving the same authors. In 2012, Thomson Reuters sanctioned three of the four publications involved by denying them Impact Factors. The firm did the same to six business journals in 2014. Related: With a new owner, the hated ‘journal impact factor’ is overdue for a change

For authors, the payoff is clear: The more citations your articles generate, the more influential they appear. And journals have similar incentives: Encourage authors to cite papers that appear in your pages and you’ve created the illusion that your journal is highly influential. Indeed, the controversial Impact Factor ranks scientific periodicals on how frequently their articles earn citations. The lure is so strong that editing services have been found to produce papers — citations included — for a charge.

But sorting out true collusion from innocent network effects has been historically difficult. After all, some routes to generating citations are honest and fair: mentioning the work of frequent collaborators, for example, or working in a small field with few other scientists.

A new paper joins a small band of researchers trying to identify these cartels — before they do too much damage.

The paper, in Frontiers in Physics, is by a group at the University of Maribor in Slovenia. They use existing tools for analyzing data online and demonstrate that they can pick out cartel behavior in an artificial list of publications. The work is preliminary, and with good reason. “Trying to conclude whether articles have been published with the specific intent to increase the citation statistics of a cited journal, and in particular the journal’s impact factor, is perhaps a slippery slope,” wrote a different group of bibliometricians — yes, this field of study has its own name — in June. Related: There’s a way to spot data fakery. All journals should be using it

The authors of the new paper agree. Declaring that two authors have engaged in inappropriate back-scratching “is very dangerous, because we cannot ever be sure that this indictment really holds in the real-world,” they write. “We can only indicate that there is a high probability of citation cartel existence, but this fact needs to be confirmed using a detailed analysis.”

However large the cartel phenomenon, it’s just one among many illnesses afflicting modern science, which tends to reward quantity of metrics — more citations, more papers, more grant money — over quality.

As seductive as metrics are, however, they’re often fool’s gold. It’s sort of like cutting that Cali cocaine with baking powder — a subject about which we promise we have no knowledge. It’ll work on the street for a little while. But when you’re found out, it won’t be pretty. About the Authors Ivan Oransky Ivan Oransky

Columnist, The Watchdogs

Ivan covers scientific publishing and retractions. @ivanoransky Adam Marcus Adam Marcus

Columnist, The Watchdogs

Adam covers scientific publishing and retractions. @armarcus — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 11 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More citations needed[edit]

I have tagged this page because a huge proportion of the content does not have inline citation. Granted most of the information are trivial, I believe there should be inline citations for verification for certain sentences. THE NEW ImmortalWizard(chat) 15:29, 20 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some citation links do not work properly. Psmith004 (talk) 03:19, 14 March 2020 (UTC)Psmith004Reply[reply]

Mathematics? Informatic?[edit]

In the "REVISED FIELD OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (FOS) CLASSIFICATION" (2007) Mathematics is the first of all Natural ScienceS listed - why not here? Second is Computer and information sciences Link: [[1]] -- (talk) 17:42, 5 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have removed a tag that calls for more references. There are currently 76 in-line citations as well as a Bibliography. I have also rated this article as a B from WikiProject Technology. Rlsheehan (talk) 13:23, 9 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Education assignment: History of Science to Newton[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 23 August 2022 and 12 December 2022. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Azizam29. Peer reviewers: SunnYxXxxx.

— Assignment last updated by Patt0400 (talk) 18:04, 13 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]