Science History

History of Natural Sciences

A volcanic eruption

Our world is full of science, which is present in our everyday lives. Several fields of science make up the entirety of the world we are living in, including what we see in nature, as well as things not seen. Furthermore, every living and non-living thing on our planet are all a part of nature.

If you ever wondered how the mysteries of our world, as well as other planets in the solar system, this field of science, would catch your interest. Everything present in our nature is included in a field called natural science. It consists of several branches, such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science, along with various specific sub-branches under each category. All of these branches are what defines our universe, our world, and the lifeforms living on the planet. It also gives a scientific explanation of the different natural events happening on our planet.

Moreover, what exactly is natural science and its branches? Furthermore, what is its history, and how did it grow to the field of study that it is today?

What is Natural Science?

Natural science is one of the major fields of science, which uses the scientific method to study nature. It is responsible for defining, predicting, and understanding natural phenomena with the helpof observation and experimentation. There are several other processes related to natural science, which helps to ensure the validity of scientific advances.

Since natural science is a broad field, it is consists of much more specific branches, mainly life science and physical science. Based on the name itself, life science focuses on the study of life, also known as biology. On the other hand, physical science is the study of natural phenomena present in various objects and occurrences. This branch of science is divided into smaller categories, including physics, chemistry, astronomy, and Earth science. Under these categories are much more specific branches, which focuses on deeper studies on a particular subject.

What is the origin of natural science?

A painting of Plato and Aristotle

There is no definite date as to when the study of natural science started. However, there are speculations from some scholars that the origin of natural science began thousands of years ago, even before the age of pre-literate human societies. During this time, people need to have an understanding of the natural world for them to survive. Similar to common practice, these people gained knowledge about plants and animals, particularly about their usages, such as food, clothes, and medicine.

This knowledge gained by ancient people was passed down to several generations until roughly 3500 to 3000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. These empires adopted the knowledge of their culture, which gave birth to the first-ever written account of natural philosophy. This writing was a significant milestone in the development of natural science despite its touch of other fields of science, such as mathematics.

However, earlier forms of natural science do not show a scientific basis at all. The written evidence of natural philosophy was a creation based on mythological thoughts and does not have concrete cause and effect explanation based on nature. Several records show other evidence of the origin of natural science. It shows historical accounts in various countries, such as ancient China, India, and Greece.

Fast forward to 600 to 400 BC when the mythological concepts took its giant leap to a much more realistic point of view. During this time, natural philosophy is gradually learning about nature’s cause and effects. However, the idea of magic and mythology continues to be a part of the ancient study of science. However, early philosophers are exerting effort to develop more sound explanations about the happenings in nature. At this point, different theories are starting to arise, such as the idea of earthquakes caused by the movement of landmass above water; the idea of the atom, where everything was made of indivisible particles; and early speculations of the Earth’s shape.

During 400 BC, the Greek philosopher and mathematician, Aristotle, contributed more to the development of natural science. His work includes various areas of study, such as biology, physics, nature, and astronomy. He studied the behavior of nature in a more in-depth method, wherein it resulted in scientific advancements never seen before. The study of Aristotle influenced several philosophers and scientists, and it created a strong foundation in the world of science, mainly in nature. Because of his incredible work in studying lifeforms, he was considered as the father of biology.

Over the years, several other philosophers and scientists contributed to the advancement of natural science, which helped it to attain the stage that it is today. In our modern world, various scientists continue to study the mysteries of our universe and building knowledge to pass on the succeeding generations.

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