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Science or the philosophy of nature

What is Science?

The English Oxford Dictionary defines science as “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. Science is a fairly modern term and is attributed to the philosopher, theologian and wordsmith William Whewell. William was a master of Trinity College, born in 1794. Before the early 19th century, the study of the physical and natural world was known as natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature. From this definition, it is obvious that science covers the vast area of human understanding of the physical world. This website will not include every aspect of science. 

Engraving of Reverend Doctor William Whewell FRS FGS FRSE
CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Science book and reading glasses
Image by The Enviro Engineer - Scientific book with glasses
View of modern microscope
Image by The Enviro Engineer - Modern microscope

I hope you find the science on this website interesting.

My experience

In the world most people visualize a scientist as someone wearing a white coat. They are standing in front of a workbench with laboratory equipment, including retort stands, glass tubes and beakers. Fortunately, with the Open University television programmes and the rise of citizen science, the image of scientists is changing.

My own experience of science, begun with Bunsen burners and glass beakers in a chemistry class at school. I Later on gained further experience during my degree course at the UHI Millennium Institute. The UHI later became the University of the Highlands and Islands.

I now have a degree in Applied Environmental Science. Therefore, most of the science pages on this website focus on this branch of the subject. This allows me to link these pages to the environmental engineering pages on this website.

During my degree, scientific study consisted of wading through books or online documents in the library. The physical aspects of the course included crawling around fields. This was to try to identify plant species from field guides or writing up reports on a computer. Work in a science laboratory usually meant measuring soil samples. It also involved passing oven dried soil through a series of sieves and recording the results. And all this while wearing a white coat.

After completing my degree, I started working as an environmental engineer. This often consisted of wading through water filled ditches to measure the channel size for flood risk assessments. It also involved standing around for hours in a field waiting to obtain percolation values from test pits. This was to determine the ground infiltration of a field.

Page created 2 years ago
last updated 15 November 2022

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