Science, or scientia in Latin for “knowledge”, is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world. Its purpose is to explain nature and subordinate it to man. In the course of evolution, nature has nurtured man the urge to create things. To a lot of people, the word “science” stands for seeking of the new and the unknown. These people possessed a certain body of knowledge which he uses in his work.
Science is usually classified into the three basic domains: the applied sciences, the humanities and the natural sciences. Any research in the sphere of applied sciences pursues a practical end. The trends of development of the applied sciences are guided by the practical needs of mankind, the needs of the nation.
The division into natural and applied sciences is not a physical division by branches of knowledge. Physicists who study the laws of scattering of elementary particles; chemists who study the law governing the breaking of chemical bonds; biologists using an electron microscope to study the structure of bacteriophage’s flagellum- these are all workers in the same detachment. According to our classification, these people belong to different armies, and perhaps the classification may be arbitrary. Or in the other way around, giving singular identities to physicists as physicists, or chemists as chemists, may also developed misconceptions.
The basic trends of the scientific development can never be understood if we cling to the habit of building fences to separate physicists from chemists, or from biologists. But in the last few decades, there had been destruction of boundaries between different chapters of natural science.
The purpose of science is to elucidate facts still hidden from science. Every newly established fact however insignificant it might be, and every new point of view however negligible the phenomenon it refers, is bound to be used. In a year or several decades, they are bounded to be of use to some other worker. The achievements of science may be handed on through dozens of scientific papers by dozens of authors, and they will ultimately reach the stage when they begin to pay off and become a component of major discovery or accomplishment.
No scientific investigation is ever complete in itself. It acquires meaning only thanks to the works of predecessors and followers. If science is compared with a great building, then an individual research is a brick in its walls.
The purpose of natural science as a whole can be understood from what the Novel laureate Fridtjof Nansen had said: “The history of mankind is an endless striving from darkness to light. That is why it is useless to study the goals of knowledge: man wants to know; when this urge passes he will stop being a man.” Man’s thirst for knowledge needs no explanation: it a thirst for the joys of life.
And here goes the quoted passage from Ptolemy’s works that defines the joys of science: “I know I am a mortal and my existence is Grief. But when I study the stellar multitudes, my feet no longer rest on the Earth; I stand next to Zeus, partake the food of the Gods and feel myself next to God.”
In truth, understanding the nature, knowledge of her secrets, ability to predict a phenomenon in its entire details fill a man with sense of tremendous pride, with tremendous joy, help his assertion. Nothing is more capable of overthrowing God than learning and knowledge. A man, who knows nature feels himself its creator, feels himself its omnipotent and does not require spiritual support.