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What is Science?

  1. Science is explanation of natural phenomena. It is not just a collection of facts. Science seeks to discover more universal principles which explain phenomena.
  2. Science is an activity of the human mind and by its nature is open-ended. Scientific knowledge will never be complete.
  3. Science begins with careful recorded observations. Observations require selection and a frame of reference.
  4. Science requires careful descriptions of observations, processes and theories.
  5. Science is communication with others (this is why careful descriptions are necessary!).
  6. Science is cumulative knowledge. As people share observations and explanations a body of knowledge is created and grows. This in term leads to further questions.
  7. Science depends on individuals' creativity and insight. Science advances when someone is curious!
  8. Science requires skepticism. Verifying observations, testing explanations and trying to disprove theories are key to science. If an idea cannot be tested, then it is not science.

"Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from confirmable data - the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. . . . Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not a part of science. "  National Academy of Sciences

Some Definitions

Science
a process of building theories or models of what the universe consists of, how it is put together, and how it functions.
Scientific Law
a description of a natural occurrence that has been observed many times. Examples include the law of gravity and the law of buoyancy.
Scientific Theory
a reasonable explanation of a scientific law. Derived from repeated testing of a hypothesis. A theory can never be proven true.
Scientific Model
a way to represent something in science that we cannot observe directly or is too complicated to work with exactly. Examples include models of atoms (too small) and weather models (very complicated).
Scientific Method
a way to investigate problems by gathering information in an organized way and using logical steps to arrive at an explanation.