Science[nb 1] is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[nb 2] In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to this body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. Ever since classical antiquity, science as a type of knowledge has been closely linked to philosophy. In the West during the early modern period the words "science" and "philosophy of nature" were sometimes used interchangeably,:p.3 and until the 19th century natural philosophy (which is today called "natural science") was considered a branch of philosophy.
In modern usage "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature. Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology. It is in the 19th century also that the term scientist began to be applied to those who sought knowledge and understanding of nature.
Modern science is typically subdivided into the natural sciences which study the material world, the social sciences which study people and societies, and the formal sciences like mathematics. The formal sciences are often excluded as they do not depend on empirical observations. Disciplines which use science like engineering and medicine may also be considered to be applied sciences
Science in a broad sense existed before the modern era, and in many historical civilizations. Modern science is distinct in its approach and successful in its results: 'modern science' now defines what science is in the strictest sense of the term.
Science in its original sense is a word for a type of knowledge, rather...