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Portal:Science

Portal:Science

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Colbert Presenting the Members of the Royal Academy of Sciences to Louis XIV in 1667.PNG

Members of the Academy in 1667 with Louis XIV

Science (from Latin scientia 'knowledge') is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.

The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3000 to 1200 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 deal with symbols governed by rules. 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.

New knowledge in science is advanced by research from scientists who are motivated by curiosity about the world and a desire to solve problems. Contemporary scientific research is highly collaborative and is usually done by teams in academic and research institutions, government agencies, and companies. The practical impact of their work 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, public infrastructure, and environmental protection. (Full article...)

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Schematic of a railgun.
Credit: DrBob
A railgun is a form of gun that converts electrical energy—rather than the more conventional chemical energy from an explosive propellant—into projectile kinetic energy. It is not to be confused with a coilgun (Gauss gun). The term railgun is also used for conventional firearms used in the Unlimited class of benchrest shooting. A Railgun is a type of Magnetic Accelerator Gun (MAG) that utilizes an electromagnetic force to propel an electrically conductive projectile that is initially part of the current path. Sometimes they also use a movable armature connecting the rails. The current flowing through the rails sets up a magnetic field between them and through the projectile perpendicularly to the current in it. This results in the rails and the projectile pushing each other and in the acceleration of the projectile along the rails.

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Brian Greene
Brian Greene (born February 9, 1963, New York), is a physicist at Columbia University. His book The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, and winner of The Aventis Prizes for Science Books in 2000. The Elegant Universe was later made into a PBS television special with Dr. Greene as the narrator. His second book, The Fabric of the Cosmos (2004), is about space, time, and the nature of the universe. Aspects covered in this book include non-local particle entanglement as he relates to special relativity and basic explanations of string theory. It is an examination of the very nature of matter and reality, covering such topics as spacetime and cosmology, origins and unification, and including an exploration into reality and the imagination.

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Science News

23 October 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
Scientists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa announce the discovery of 2M0437b, one of the youngest exoplanets ever found at a distant star. The exoplanet was discovered using the Subaru Telescope at the observatory on Mauna Kea. (SciTech)
20 October 2021 – Xenotransplantation
Researchers at NYU Langone Health in New York City announce that a team of surgeons last month, led by Dr. Robert Montgomery, successfully attached a genetically-modified pig kidney to a brain dead patient for two days without rejection. (NPR)
12 October 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
NASA astronomers announce the discovery of TIC 257060897b, a Hot Jupiter exoplanet that is 50% larger and 30% less massive than Jupiter. The discovery was made using the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. (Science Times)
9 October 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
A study conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder worldwide in 2020. (The Guardian)
6 October 2021 –
Chemists Benjamin List of Germany and David MacMillan of the United States are awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on molecular engineering through organocatalysis. (AFP via Gulf News)
5 October 2021 –
Climatologists Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann and theoretical physicist Giorgio Parisi are awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work towards the understanding of physical systems through climate models. (AFP via NDTV)

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