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Science is the methodical study of nature including testable explanations and predictions.

From
classical antiquity through the 19th century, science as a type of knowledge was more closely
linked to philosophy than it is now and, in fact, in the Western world, the term "natural
philosophy" encompassed fields of study that are today associated with science, such as
astronomy, medicine, and physics. However, during the Islamic Golden Age foundations for the
scientific method were laid by Ibn al-Haytham in his Book of Optics. While the classification of
the material world by the ancient Indians and Greeks into air, earth, fire and water was more
philosophical, medieval Middle Easterns used practical, experimental observation to classify
materials.

Today, the ever-evolving term "science" refers to the pursuit of knowledge, not the knowledge
itself. It is often synonymous with "natural and physical science" and often restricted to those
branches of study relating to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws. Although
the term implies exclusion of pure mathematics, many university faculties include Mathematics
Departments within their Faculty of Science. The dominant sense in ordinary use has a narrower
use for the term "science." It developed as a part of science becoming a distinct enterprise of
defining the "laws of nature"; early examples include Kepler's laws, Galileo's laws, and Newton's
laws of motion. In this period it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as "natural
science." Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly
associated with the disciplined study of the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology
and biology. This sometimes left the study of human thought and society in a linguistic limbo,
which was resolved by classifying these areas of academic study as social science. For example,
psychology evolved from philosophy, and has grown into an area of study.

Currently, there are both "hard" (e.g. biological psychology) and "soft" science (e.g. social
psychology) fields within the discipline. As a result, and as is consistent with the unfolding of the
study of knowledge and development of methods to establish facts, each area of psychology
employs a scientific method. Reflecting the evolution of the development of knowledge and
established facts and the use of the scientific method, Psychology Departments in universities
are found within: Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts, and a Faculty of Science. Similarly,
several other major areas of disciplined study and knowledge exist today under the general
rubric of "science", such as formal science and applied science.

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