« PreviousContinue »
alkali had come from impurities in the water and from the air; and that pure water contains nothing but oxygen and hydrogen gases. His hypothesis had now become a fact.
The meaning of science summarized. — Summarizing the meaning of science, we may say that it is "knowledge so classified and organized that it may be used in acquiring other knowledge "; that it implies not only content or subject matter classified and organized, but also a method of investigation or problem solving, including observation and measurement, experimentation, and logical inference, both inductive and deductive, by means of which the subject matter is organized and used in prediction, discovery, and invention; that its subject matter is constantly growing in volume and being brought under simpler and more comprehensive forms of description; that all human experience is legitimate material for its investigation; that it grows out of the problems related to human needs, physical, industrial, social, emotional, and intellectual; and that it is so intimately connected with industrial development that neither can go on without the other.
Division of the field. — The vastness of the domain with which science is concerned has made it necessary for individual workers in the various parts of the field to become specialists, and so to deal mainly with limited groups of phenomena, the members of which are more obviously and simply related one to another than they are to the members of the other groups.
So we have the mathematical sciences, such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, and the differential and integral calculus, which deal with the space, mass, and time relations of things apart from the nature or other properties of things themselves. They represent condensed forms and modes of reasoning to conclusions from known data under known conditions, when the data can be measured in terms of definite units and their amounts expressed as numbers of such units. So the mathematicians make it their chief business to deal with the estimation of magnitudes in terms of such units and with the determination of the numerical relations of different magnitudes to one another under various conditions.
A second group called the physical sciences is closely related to the first group, because in the study of them much use is made of the processes of mathematics in reaching conclusions with regard to the materials and phenomena of which they treat. This is possible because these sciences deal not only with such properties of bodies as color, hardness, smoothness, and the like, but much more largely with changes in their sizes, shapes, motions, temperatures, electrical and magnetic conditions, and so on, which can be measured very exactly in terms of such definite and well-known units as the foot or centimeter for length, the cubic foot or cubic centimeter for volume, the pound or gram for mass, the degree centigrade for temperature, the volt for electrical pressure, and others equally definite. The physical sciences treat not only of such properties of bodies as have just been mentioned, as well as of others that are characteristic of them under various conditions, but especially of the phenomena that occur and the relations that exist when such properties are changed in connection with the action of forces or the transferences of energy from one body to another, or with transformations of energy from one kind, such as that of mechanical motion or that of electricity, into another kind, such as heat or light or chemical separation.^This group includes physics and astronomy, which deal primarily with such interactions and energy changes as occur without altering the composition of the bodies concerned, and chemistry, which deals with interactions among bodies when the transferences or transformation of energy are accompanied by the formation (through combination or decomposition, or exchanges of constituents) of substances that are different in their characteristic properties from those that were originally under observation before the energy changes took place.
Another group, called the earth sciences, includes geology and geography. Geology comprises a study of the earth as a whole, its present structure, and the history of the changes in rocks, lands, and seas, in physical and climatic conditions, and in animal and vegetable life that have characterized its development from its primitive to its present state. It considers also the agencies that have been causally related to these changes. Geography is a description of the earth's surface as it now is, especially as it is related to man, and of the origin and development of the physical conditions and the distribution of organic life that control his movements or affect his welfare.
A fourth group of sciences, the biological group, includes those that deal with matter and energy as involved in living forms, in the processes of growth, respiration, circulation, nutrition, and reproduction. This group includes botany, the study of plants; zoology, the study of animals; general biology, which deals with the structures, life processes, and modes of development that are common to both plants and animals; and human anatomy and physiology, which treat of the structure and life processes of the human body.
Closely related to the biological sciences, and having its foundations in biological facts, is the science of psychology, which deals with the phenomena of mental life, such as sensations, instinctive acts, perceptions, thinking, willing, and emotions, and with the conditions under which these occur.
Finally, there is the group of social sciences, dealing mainly, like psychology, with human behavior, and based very largely, as it is, on biological facts, but devoted especially to the study of the development and behavior of cooperating or interrelated groups of human beings, and of the conditions that determine their welfare and their progress. In this group are included anthropology, the study of man as an animal or an object of natural history; sociology, the study of the composition, phenomena, development, and interrelations of social groups; economics, the study of material wealth, its production, distribution, and consumption, especially with relation to individual and national prosperity and human welfare; and history, the study of past human conditions, relations, and institutions, especially from the standpoint of the development and progress of peoples and nations.
Threefold use of the word "science."—The word "science," then, is used in three senses. It may mean all organized knowledge or some limited portion of such knowledge; it may mean the scientific method; or it may refer to any one of the special sciences. In the popular language of the schools and the street it usually refers to the physical sciences, the biological sciences, and the earth sciences.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Make a list of the most important inventions and discoveries that have been made within your remembrance, and try to enumerate the important changes in our ways of doing things that have resulted from them.
2. Enumerate the conveniences in your home that are applications of important scientific principles; and try to think how the home activities in which they are used could be carried on without them.
3. Briefly describe the important economic and social changes that have been brought about by the following inventions and discoveries: (1) The steam locomotive, (2) the stationary steam engine, (3) the steamship, (4) the telegraph, (5) the telephone, (6) the Bessemer and open hearth steel processes, (7) the microscope, (8) the telescope, (9) gunpowder and high explosives, (10) the cotton gin, spinning jenny, and power loom, (11) the dynamo and electric motor, (12) the Babcock cream test, (13) research in bacteriology, (14) the United States Weather Burean, (15) the work of the United States and State Agricultural Experiment Stations, (16) research in economics and sociology, (17) research in psychology, (18) photography, (10) the power printing press.
4. In what ways are the people of the United States at a disadvantage because of their failure to encourage research in chemistry?
5. How did Louis Pasteur help the silk industry in France?
6. What has the geological survey of your state done for its economic development?
7. What are your city chemists, city bacteriologists, or the city or state health departments accomplishing in your home locality?
Buckley, A. B. (Mrs. Arabella Fisher). A Short History of Science.
Appleton, N. Y. 1896. 509 pp. $2.00. Revised 1915. Cajori, Florian. A History of Physics. Macmillan, N. Y. 1899.
8 + 322 pp. $1.60. Carnegie, Andrew. Life of James Watt. Doubleday, Page & Co.,
N. Y. 1905. 241 pp. $1.40. Chamberlain, Houston S. The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century. Tr. by John Lees. Lane, N. Y. 1913. 2 vols. S5.00. Cooke, Josiah P. Scientific Culture and Other Essays. N. Y. 1885.
293 pp. S1.oo. Cramer, F. The Method of Darwin. McClurg, Chicago. 1896.
232 pp. S1.00. Dewey, John. Science as Subject Matter and Method. Science,
Vol. 31, pp. 127 ff.> January 28, 1910. Mann, C. R. The History of Science. An Interpretation. Popular
Science Monthly, Vol. 72, pp. 313-322, April, 1908. Mivart, St. George. The Groundwork of Science. Putnam, N. Y.
1908. 328 pp. $1.75. Pearson, Karl. The Grammar of Science. A. & C. Black, London.
1911. 548 pp. $1.60. Macmillan, N. Y. 1915. 2 vols. $2.00. Thurston, R. H. A History of the Growth of the Steam Engine.
Appleton, N. Y. 1891. 481 pp. $2.50. Vallery-radot, Rene. The Life of Pasteur. McClure, Phillips &
Co., N. Y. 2 vols. 293 and 315 pp. Whetham, W. C. D. Article, Science, Encyclopedia Britannica, XI
Ed. Whetham, W. C. D. Science and the Human Mind. Longmans,
Green & Co., 1912. 304 pp. S1.6o.