What are the branches of science?
Science is a system of acquiring and verifying knowledge that is based on empirical observation of the tangible world and experimentation organized and subject to interpretation and verification. Heir to the philosophy of yesteryear, science is one of the great systems of thought designed by humanity, the fruits of which have radically modified our way of living.
The interests of science are very diverse since it is concerned with understanding and explaining reality in its entirety: both to the human being, to the outside world, and to the very matter of which things are composed. For this reason, science is made up of a large number of disciplines or “branches”, whose classification starts from the most general and advances towards the most specific, taking into account their particular approach to the object of study.
The classification of sciences, however, has not always been the same throughout history and is continually being reviewed and rethought to accommodate new disciplines and new approaches.
For much of history, what we understand today as “science” did not exist, but was part of philosophy (natural philosophy or naturalism). This changed after the Renaissance and the scientific revolution, events that marked the birth of modern sciences and established their hierarchies (hence the metaphor of a tree is used).
The tree of science has two thick main branches, which are then subdivided into more specific branches, and these in turn into thinner, individual branches, and so on. This organization can be summarized in the following scheme:
Branches of science
Basic or “pure” sciences
- formal sciences
- Natural Sciences
- Social Sciences
- human sciences or humanities
- Health Sciences
- Communication Sciences
- Materials science
- information sciences
- technological sciences
- Forensic Science
Basic or “pure” sciences
Basic sciences, also called “pure” sciences or fundamental sciences, are that set of disciplines that study a real reference without considering immediate practical purposes , but are committed to simply obtaining knowledge, that is, to understanding the universe. . Its purpose is to increase the amount of knowledge that humanity has regarding a given topic, which is carried out through different methods and approaches, which generally take place within universities and other academic institutions.
The basic sciences are subdivided into natural sciences , formal sciences , social sciences and human sciences.
Applied sciences are those scientific disciplines that use scientific and theoretical knowledge for practical purposes , that is, with the aim of solving specific real-life problems . In this they are distinguished from the basic sciences: the applied sciences are not enough with the accumulation of knowledge, but rather they aspire to apply it to everyday life , for the development of new technologies , new methods of solving problems, etc.
Applied sciences are subdivided into a vast set of thematic disciplines, depending on what scientific knowledge they seek to apply, such as health sciences, communication sciences , information sciences, materials sciences, technological sciences or forensic sciences, among other.
Difference between basic and applied sciences
Basic sciences and applied sciences differ in their fundamental purpose: the former aspire to accumulate knowledge for the mere fact of expanding humanity’s knowledge, while the latter aim to use that knowledge in a practical way , to solve problems and create new methods and devices.
For example, biology is a basic science dedicated to the study of life, and therefore interested in the functioning of bodies and biochemistry . However, the application of said knowledge to combat diseases and improve human health allows the emergence of applied sciences such as medicine and other health sciences.
Types of basic sciences
Formal sciences are those basic or fundamental sciences that are dedicated to formal languages and formal systems, that is, to certain types of abstract patterns and relationships that are possible in the human mind, and that serve to describe and represent existing relationships in the human mind. real and tangible world.
Formal languages and systems are sets of signs and elements closed in themselves, like mathematical language, and therefore only allow analytical reasoning by deduction , in which some premises are used to obtain certain logical conclusions. Thus, they validate their theories through axioms , propositions , definitions and rules of inference , since they assume themselves to be perfect or exact: their results have no room for ambiguity (for example, 2 + 2 is always 4, regardless of In what conditions).
There are three formal sciences:
- The math
- The logic
The natural sciences, natural sciences or physical-natural sciences are, as their name suggests, those that are dedicated to the study of nature , understood as the universe that surrounds us . It is a set of basic sciences, heirs of ancient natural philosophy, which are organized according to the specific area of interest of each one: biology studies life, chemistry studies matter, physics studies natural forces, etc. .
The purpose of natural sciences is, then, to measure, understand and explain reality and its fundamental laws. For this, they are based on logical reasoning and what is contemplated in the scientific method , that is, the empirical-analytical research method . The natural sciences have, however, a very close relationship with the formal sciences, since they borrow their system of representation of reality in order to provide accuracy and precision to their measurements.
The main natural sciences are:
- The chemistry
- The astronomy
The social sciences are those basic sciences that study society and the behavior of humanity ; For this reason, it is possible to find classifications that are also called “social and human sciences.” The social sciences are the youngest of the basic sciences, mostly emerging from the 19th century, under the positivist premise of applying the scientific method and empirical analyzes to humanity itself.
Currently, the social sciences represent a complex field of knowledge, dedicated to both individual and collective behavior, whose purpose is to find recognizable patterns and trends in the way humanity is organized. For this, they use elements of both basic research and applied research, both in a deductive and inductive sense, and unlike the natural sciences, they are applied in both a quantitative and qualitative sense .
Finally, the social sciences tend to obtain probable results, which require interpretation and contextual thinking , rather than universal laws such as those identified by the natural sciences.
The social sciences are very numerous, but the following stand out:
- anthropology _
- Political science
- The legal sciences
- The demographics
- The economy
- The geography
- The history
- linguistics _
- psychology _
- The sociology
The human sciences, also called “humanities” and in some cases “sciences of the spirit”, are a set of scientific disciplines that study specifically human manifestations, such as verbal language , art, thought and culture in general.
The approach to these topics is done in an entirely different way from that of the natural sciences, heir to that proposed by the so-called Studia humanitatis of classical antiquity (that is, rhetoric , grammar , dialectic , poetry , history and philosophy ), which is based in hermeneutical interpretation, dialectics , historical-critical comparison, among other methodological practices.
The main human sciences are the following:
- Philology _
- The philosophy
- The aesthetics
- The pedagogy
- Theology _
- The historiography
- The architecture
Types of applied sciences
Health sciences are a set of applied sciences whose unifying purpose is the care of human (and animal) health and the fight against diseases . To this end, it applies the theoretical knowledge of the basic sciences, the statistical knowledge of the social sciences, and even the contributions of other applied sciences, especially engineering and technology.
The main protagonist of the health sciences is, logically, medicine , but the following are also part of the group:
- The vet
- The pharmacy
- The infirmary
- medical technology
- The bioanalysis
Communication sciences are a set of applied sciences (often referred to under the name “communication” or “social communication”), whose object of study and analysis is human communication in its various aspects , such as mass media. , the cultural industries ( cinema , video games, newspapers, among others) and communication consumption.
His approach to these topics includes, on the one hand, the description of the processes, and on the other, the reflection on their legislation, production and reception. Consequently, he often approaches the field of knowledge of the humanities.
The set of communication sciences is very diverse and its methodology is usually interdisciplinary, covering areas such as:
- The journalism
- Public and inter-institutional relations
- political communication
- The cultural industry
- The media study
Information sciences are a set of applied sciences whose common axis is the study of humanity’s information management techniques, that is, those modes and procedures with which information is organized, preserved and recovered through different means. systems and models .
Information sciences use tools from both the formal sciences and the social sciences and, eventually, the humanities. Some of the main scientific disciplines in this category are:
- Archival or archival science
- data science
- Computing _
- Documentary linguistics
- information theory
Materials sciences are the set of applied sciences that are linked to engineering and construction. Its field of study, therefore, focuses on the nature and properties of materials commonly used in industries , such as metals , minerals, plastics , and other substances useful for manufacturing machines, tools, and buildings. For this they use the theoretical knowledge of some natural sciences and the language of formal sciences.
Some examples of materials science are:
- civil engineering
- military engineering
- Nautical engineering
- Systems engineering
- mechanical engineering
- industrial engineering
- agricultural engineering
- geological engineering
- analytical chemistry
- Polymer science
Technology sciences or technological sciences are an applied science that may or may not be considered a specialization of materials sciences. In that sense, it is a set of disciplines that focus on the study of technological tools, that is, on the conception and design of tools capable of solving human problems in an easy and novel way, based on the application of the theoretical scientific knowledge of the natural sciences.
Some examples of technological sciences are:
- The electronic
- Nuclear and particle physics
- The construction
Forensic sciences, often included in the term “ criminalistics ”, are a set of applied sciences whose objective is the practical study of crime , that is, the understanding and combating of crime . They are distinguished from the legal sciences, with which they are related, in that they do not dedicate efforts to reflect on the theoretical nature of crime or the administration of justice , but rather limit themselves to better understanding the evidence of a crime scene to draw conclusions. useful in establishing the truth .
Forensic sciences employ an interdisciplinary perspective , drawing on natural sciences, social sciences, and other applied sciences as appropriate.
The main forensic sciences are:
- forensic anthropology
- Forensic ballistics
- The documentoscopy
- forensic genetics
- The calligraphic expertise
- forensic photography