Science is a systematic approach that combines knowledge about nature and helps to build and organize such knowledge in the form of predictions and testable predictions about the natural world. The word ‘science’ was derived from the Greek science (kosmos) and science (litteris). The prefix ‘kos’ means ‘to study’ and the word ‘litteraios’ means ‘to gather together’. In this context, science can be said to be a method of collecting empirical data, testing these data sets to ensure that the hypothesis being put forward is correct, and then analyzing the results of the research to check whether the research is consistent with the predictions made by the data.
In order to know if the hypothesis being put forward is right, there must be some kind of standard by which to compare different experimental results. By making use of the scientific method, observations taken in more than one way are brought into comparison, so that a general overall picture of the data can be developed. It is then possible to draw generalizations and falsifications from the data. If falsifications are found, the hypothesis must be rejected and a new hypothesis should be tried.
To say that a scientist has created or discovered something is not to say that he did it in the strictest sense of the term. A hypothesis simply states a truth, but in the context of science, a hypothesis is the beginning of a course of actions that ultimately lead to an outcome. For example, the hypothesis that a cat landing on a table is true. Therefore, if further observations are made and found that this hypothesis is actually false, then the first hypothesis must be rejected. As a result of this falsification, a new hypothesis must be tested. If this hypothesis is found to be true, then the original hypothesis is confirmed, and the scientist is said to have discovered or created something.
The principles of science mean that if two different observations are contradictory, they must be taken as referring to different events or situations. If both seem to point in the same direction, then they are more likely to be referring to the same phenomenon. There is also the principle of parsimony; if there is a consistent pattern, then there is a likely explanation for the observed facts. There are many different methods of testing a hypothesis, including rigorous and simple scientific methods. Some scientists compare their scientific methods to baseball; for instance, observations of the ballparks at various stadiums can show whether a team is favored in relation to home field.
Astrophysicists use astronomical data to study the properties of the universe and the solar system. Astronomy used to be considered the province of astro-physicists; however, recent discoveries have transformed this area of study into a scientific discipline. In the process of determining the nature of the universe and the solar system, scientists make use of a vast variety of scientific methods, including satellite mapping and photographic surveys. A scientist can make use of either amateur or professional telescopes and equipment to observe and record celestial bodies.
Science is an interesting subject that has many different threads to it. Science is not the end-all and be-all of the natural world. While it is fascinating to watch the various fields of science interact with one another, to label something as “science” without further explanation just seems short-sighted and ignorant. It is up to us, as consumers and citizens, to ask questions, learn about the natural world around us, and use our knowledge to better our world and our lives.