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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.

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Moon Dedal crater.jpg
Credit: Apollo 11 Crew, NASA

The far side of the Moon as photographed by the crew of Apollo 11. The largest crater pictured is the Daedalus crater.

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Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss About this soundPronunciation  (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and scientist of profound genius who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, magnetism, astronomy and optics. Sometimes known as "the prince of mathematicians" and "greatest mathematician since antiquity", Gauss had a remarkable influence in many fields of mathematics and science and is ranked as one of history's most influential mathematicians.

Gauss completed Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, his magnum opus, at the age of twenty-one (1798), though it would not be published until 1801. This work was fundamental in consolidating number theory as a discipline and has shaped the field to the present day.

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Science News

20 October 2020 – 2020 in spaceflight, New Frontiers program
NASA's OSIRIS-REx space probe successfully lands and collects samples from the asteroid Bennu. The samples will be returned to Earth in 2023. (CNN) (BBC)
15 October 2020 – 2020 in paleontology
Researchers announce the fossil discoveries of Triassic drepanosaur Skybalonyx skapter at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. (Los Angeles Times)
A boy discovers a fossilized hadrosaur skeleton at the Horseshoe Canyon in Alberta, Canada, dating back 69 million years. (BBC) (Global News)
13 October 2020 – Geology of Pluto
Scientists determine that white mountains previously discovered on Pluto during New Horizons' flyby owe their color to methane frost directly condensed from the atmosphere, rather than snow. (NPR)
10 October 2020 – 2020 in spaceflight
Boulders are discovered on the Bennu asteroid by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which is expected to collect samples from the asteroid's surface later this month. (
7 October 2020 – 2020 in archosaur paleontology
Multiple skeletons of Oksoko avarsan are discovered in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. (BBC)

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