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Meissner effect p1390048.jpg

A magnet levitates above a superconductor

Science (from the Latin word scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages, but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived "natural philosophy", which was later transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape; along with the changing of "natural philosophy" to "natural science."

Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, and sociology), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g., logic, mathematics, and theoretical computer science), which study abstract concepts. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences actually constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.

Science is based on research, which is commonly conducted in academic and research institutions, as well as in government agencies and companies. The practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, armaments, health care, and environmental protection. (Full article...)

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Comet Tempel 1 67 seconds after it collided with Deep Impact
Credit: NASA

Deep Impact is a NASA space probe designed to study the composition of the interior of the comet Tempel 1. At 5:52 UTC on July 4, 2005, one section of the Deep Impact probe successfully impacted the comet's nucleus, excavating debris from the interior of the nucleus. Photographs of the impact showed the comet to be more dusty and less icy than expected. The impact generated a large, bright dust cloud that obscured the hoped-for view of the impact crater.

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Newton at age 46 in Godfrey Kneller's 1689 portrait.
Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, philosopher and alchemist. A man of profound genius, he is widely regarded as the most influential scientist in history. He is associated with the scientific revolution and the advancement of heliocentrism. Among his scientific accomplishments, Newton wrote the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, wherein he described universal gravitation and, via his laws of motion, laid the groundwork for classical mechanics. With Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz he is credited for the development of differential calculus. Newton was the first to promulgate a set of natural laws that could govern both terrestrial motion and celestial motion, and is credited with providing mathematical substantiation for Kepler's laws of planetary motion, which he expanded by arguing that orbits (such as those of comets) could include all conic sections (such as the ellipse, hyperbola, and parabola).

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Ring-tailed lemur

Science News

22 January 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
A panel of scientists that advises the British government announces that a variant first discovered in the United Kingdom is 30% more deadly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. (Forbes)
19 January 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
Scientists discover that WASP-107b is a super-puff. WASP-107b is an exoplanet the same size as Jupiter but with one tenth the mass, located 212 light years away from Earth. (CBS News) (Sci-News)
30 December 2020 – 2020 in paleontology
Scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences announce the discovery of a "well-preserved" woolly rhinoceros carcass in Abyysky District, Sakha, Russia, which was revealed by melting permafrost in August. The Russian Academy of Sciences says that the woolly rhinoceros was likely 3 or 4 years old when it died by drowning in the river, and could be anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 years old. (ABC News)
18 December 2020 –
A review of some recent medical studies shows that memory T cells may play a role in a phenomenon known as cross-reactivity, which researchers found may perhaps give certain people, in some cases, some level of immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 even without them having been exposed to or infected with the virus, or having received a vaccine. There are certain structural and clinical similarities between the virus that causes COVID-19 and the other coronaviruses that are related to it, which cause SARS and MERS. (MSN)
16 December 2020 – Chinese space program
China National Space Administration (CNSA) spacecraft Chang'e 5 returns to Earth carrying samples of lunar rocks and soil from the surface of the Moon. The capsule will be airlifted to Beijing for formal opening and the samples will be made available to scientists in other countries, according to the CNSA. (The Guardian)
6 December 2020 – Uncrewed spaceflights to the International Space Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launches a cargo ship into orbit to re-supply the International Space Station. (CBS News)

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