Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, co-discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. She was credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century"; the discovery was recognised by the award of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, but despite the fact that she was the first to observe the pulsars, Bell was not one of the recipients of the prize. The paper announcing the discovery of pulsars had five authors. Bell's thesis supervisor Antony Hewish was listed first, Bell second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with the astronomer Martin Ryle. Many prominent astronomers criticised Bell's omission, including Sir Fred Hoyle. In 1977, Bell Burnell played down this controversy, saying, "I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in exceptional cases, I do not believe this is one of them." The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in its press release announcing the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, cited Ryle and Hewish for their pioneering work in radio-astrophysics, with particular mention of Ryle's work on aperture-synthesis technique, Hewish's decisive role in the discovery of pulsars.
Bell served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, as president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, as interim president of the Institute following the death of her successor, Marshall Stoneham, in early 2011. In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, she donated the whole of the £2.3 million prize money to help female and refugee students become physics researchers. Jocelyn Bell was born in Northern Ireland, to M. Allison and G. Philip Bell, her father was an architect who had helped design the Armagh Planetarium, during visits she was encouraged by the staff to pursue astronomy professionally. Young Jocelyn discovered her father's books on astronomy, she grew up in Lurgan and attended the Preparatory Department of Lurgan College from 1948 to 1956, where she, like the other girls, was not permitted to study science until her parents protested against the school's policy. The girls' curriculum had included such subjects as cooking and cross-stitching rather than science.
She failed the eleven-plus exam and her parents sent her to The Mount School, a Quaker girls' boarding school in York, England. There she was favourably impressed by her physics teacher, Mr Tillott, stated: You do not have to learn lots and lots... of facts. He was a good teacher and showed me how easy physics was. Bell Burnell was the subject of the first part of the BBC Four three-part series Beautiful Minds, directed by Jacqui Farnham, she graduated from the University of Glasgow with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Philosophy, with honours, in 1965 and obtained a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge in 1969. At Cambridge, she attended New Hall and worked with Hewish and others to construct the Interplanetary Scintillation Array to study quasars, discovered. In July 1967, she detected a bit of "scruff" on her chart-recorder papers that tracked across the sky with the stars, she established that the signal was pulsing with great regularity, at a rate of about one pulse every one and a third seconds.
Temporarily dubbed "Little Green Man 1" the source was identified after several years as a rotating neutron star. This was documented by the BBC Horizon series, she worked at the University of Southampton between 1968 and 1973, University College London from 1974 to 82 and the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. From 1973 to 1987 she was a tutor, consultant and lecturer for the Open University. In 1986, she became the project manager for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Hawaii, she was Professor of Physics at the Open University from 1991 to 2001. She was a visiting professor at Princeton University in the United States and Dean of Science at the University of Bath, President of the Royal Astronomical Society between 2002 and 2004. Bell Burnell is Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of Mansfield College, she was President of the Institute of Physics between 2008 and 2010. In February 2018 she was appointed Chancellor of the University of Dundee. In 2018, Bell Burnell visited Parkes, NSW, to deliver the keynote John Bolton lecture at the CWAS AstroFest event.
In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, worth three million dollars, for her discovery of radio pulsars. The Special Prize, in contrast to the regular annual prize, is not restricted to recent discoveries, she donated all of the money "to fund women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students to become physics researchers", the funds to be administered by the Institute of Physics. That Bell did not receive recognition in the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics has been a point of controversy since, she helped build the Interplanetary Scintillation Array over two years and noticed the anomaly, sometimes reviewing as much as 96 feet of paper data per night. Bell claimed that she had to be persistent in reporting the anomaly in the face of scepticism from Hewish, insistent that it was due to interference and man-made, she spoke of meetings held by Ryle to which she was not invited. In 1977, she commented on the issue: First, demarcation disputes between supervisor and student are always difficult impossible to resolve.
Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage, its Latin root literatura/litteratura was used to refer to all written accounts. The concept has changed meaning over time to include texts that are spoken or sung, non-written verbal art forms. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature. Literature is classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, whether it is poetry or prose, it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as short story or drama. Definitions of literature have varied over time: it is a "culturally relative definition". In Western Europe prior to the 18th century, literature denoted all writing. A more restricted sense of the term emerged during the Romantic period, in which it began to demarcate "imaginative" writing.
Contemporary debates over what constitutes literature can be seen as returning to older, more inclusive notions. The value judgment definition of literature considers it to cover those writings that possess high quality or distinction, forming part of the so-called belles-lettres tradition; this sort of definition is that used in the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition when it classifies literature as "the best expression of the best thought reduced to writing." Problematic in this view is that there is no objective definition of what constitutes "literature": anything can be literature, anything, universally regarded as literature has the potential to be excluded, since value judgments can change over time. The formalist definition is. Jim Meyer considers this a useful characteristic in explaining the use of the term to mean published material in a particular field, as such writing must use language according to particular standards; the problem with the formalist definition is that in order to say that literature deviates from ordinary uses of language, those uses must first be identified.
Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "learning, a writing, grammar," "writing formed with letters," from litera/littera "letter". In spite of this, the term has been applied to spoken or sung texts. Literary genre is a mode of categorizing literature. A French term for "a literary type or class". However, such classes are subject to change, have been used in different ways in different periods and traditions; the history of literature follows the development of civilization. When defined as written work, Ancient Egyptian literature, along with Sumerian literature, are considered the world's oldest literatures; the primary genres of the literature of Ancient Egypt—didactic texts and prayers, tales—were written entirely in verse. Most Sumerian literature is poetry, as it is written in left-justified lines, could contain line-based organization such as the couplet or the stanza, Different historical periods are reflected in literature. National and tribal sagas, accounts of the origin of the world and of customs, myths which sometimes carry moral or spiritual messages predominate in the pre-urban eras.
The epics of Homer, dating from the early to middle Iron age, the great Indian epics of a later period, have more evidence of deliberate literary authorship, surviving like the older myths through oral tradition for long periods before being written down. Literature in all its forms can be seen as written records, whether the literature itself be factual or fictional, it is still quite possible to decipher facts through things like characters' actions and words or the authors' style of writing and the intent behind the words; the plot is for more than just entertainment purposes. Studying and analyzing literature becomes important in terms of learning about human history. Literature provides insights about how society has evolved and about the societal norms during each of the different periods all throughout history. For instance, postmodern authors argue that history and fiction both constitute systems of signification by which we make sense of the past, it is asserted that both of these are "discourses, human constructs, signifying systems, both derive their major claim to truth from that identity."
Literature provides views of life, crucial in obtaining truth and in understanding human life throughout history and its periods. It explores the possibilities of living in terms of certain values under given social and historical circumstances. Literature helps us understand references made in more modern literature because authors reference mythology and other old religious texts to describe ancient civi
A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. They have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the British Magna Carta of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate, they were, are still, used to establish significant organisations such as boroughs and learned societies. Charters should be distinguished from royal warrants of appointment, grants of arms and other forms of letters patent, such as those granting an organisation the right to use the word "royal" in their name or granting city status, which do not have legislative effect; the British monarchy has issued over 1,000 royal charters. Of these about 750 remain in existence; the earliest charter recorded by the UK government was granted to the University of Cambridge in England in 1231, although older charters are known to have existed including to the Worshipful Company of Weavers in England in 1150 and to the town of Tain in Scotland in 1066.
Charters continue to be issued by the British Crown, a recent example being that awarded to The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, in 2014. Charters have been used in Europe since medieval times to grant rights and privileges to towns and cities. During the 14th and 15th century the concept of incorporation of a municipality by royal charter evolved. Among the past and present groups formed by royal charter are the Company of Merchants of the Staple of England, the British East India Company, the Hudson's Bay Company, the Chartered Bank of India and China, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, the British South Africa Company, some of the former British colonies on the North American mainland, City livery companies, the Bank of England and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Between the 14th and 19th centuries, royal charters were used to create chartered companies – for-profit ventures with shareholders, used for exploration and colonisation. Early charters to such companies granted trade monopolies, but this power was restricted to parliament from the end of the 17th century.
Until the 19th century, royal charters were the only means other than an act of parliament by which a company could be incorporated. The use of royal charters to incorporate organisations gave rise to the concept of the "corporation by prescription"; this enabled corporations that had existed from time immemorial to be recognised as incorporated via the legal fiction of a "lost charter". Examples of corporations by prescription include Cambridge universities. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, of the 81 universities established in pre-Reformation Europe, 13 were established ex consuetudine without any form of charter, 33 by Papal bull alone, 20 by both Papal bull and imperial or royal charter, 15 by imperial or royal charter alone. Universities established by royal charter did not have the same international recognition – their degrees were only valid within that kingdom; the first university to be founded by charter was the University of Naples in 1224, founded by an imperial charter of Frederick II.
The first university founded by royal charter was the University of Coimbra in 1290, by King Denis of Portugal, which received Papal confirmation the same year. Other early universities founded by royal charter include the University of Perpignan and the University of Huesca, both by Peter IV of Aragon, the Jagiellonian University by Casimir III of Poland, the University of Vienna by Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria, the University of Caen by Henry VI of England, the University of Girona and the University of Barcelona, both by Alfonso V of Aragon, the University of Valence by the Dauphin Louis, the University of Palma by Ferdinand II of Aragon; the University of Cambridge was confirmed by a Papal bull in 1317 or 1318, but despite repeated attempts, the University of Oxford never received such confirmation. The three pre-Reformation Scottish universities were all established by Papal bulls. Following the reformation, establishment of universities and colleges by royal charter became the norm; the University of Edinburgh was founded under the authority of a royal charter granted to the Edinburgh town council in 1582 by James VI as the "town's college".
Trinity College Dublin was established by a royal charter of Elizabeth I in 1593. Both of these charters were given in Latin; the Edinburgh charter gave permission for the town council "to build and to repair sufficient houses and places for the reception and teaching of professors of the schools of grammar, the humanities and languages, theology and law, or whichever liberal arts which we declare detract in no way from the aforesaid mortification" and granted them the right to appoint and remove professors. But, as concluded by Edinburgh's principal, Sir Alexander Grant, in his tercentenary history of the university, "Obviously this is no charter founding a university". Instead
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen's 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1776, fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world. While working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow, Watt became interested in the technology of steam engines, he realised that contemporary engine designs wasted a great deal of energy by cooling and reheating the cylinder. Watt introduced a design enhancement, the separate condenser, which avoided this waste of energy and radically improved the power and cost-effectiveness of steam engines, he adapted his engine to produce rotary motion broadening its use beyond pumping water. Watt attempted to commercialise his invention, but experienced great financial difficulties until he entered a partnership with Matthew Boulton in 1775; the new firm of Boulton and Watt was highly successful and Watt became a wealthy man.
In his retirement, Watt continued to develop new inventions though none was as significant as his steam engine work. He developed the concept of horsepower, the SI unit of power, the watt, was named after him. James Watt was born on 19 January 1736 in a seaport on the Firth of Clyde, his father James Watt, was a shipwright, ship owner and contractor, served as the town's chief baillie, whilst his mother, Agnes Muirhead, came from a distinguished family and was well educated. Both were strong Covenanters. Watt's grandfather, Thomas Watt, was a mathematics teacher and baillie to the Baron of Cartsburn. Despite being raised by religious parents, he became a deist. Watt did not attend school regularly, he exhibited great manual dexterity, engineering skills and an aptitude for mathematics, while Latin and Greek failed to interest him. He is said to have suffered prolonged bouts of ill-health as a child; when he was eighteen, his mother died and his father's health began to fail. Watt travelled to London and was apprenticed as an instrument maker for a year returned to Scotland, settling in the major commercial city of Glasgow intent on setting up his own instrument-making business.
He made and repaired brass reflecting quadrants, parallel rulers, parts for telescopes, barometers, among other things. Because he had not served at least seven years as an apprentice, the Glasgow Guild of Hammermen blocked his application, despite there being no other mathematical instrument makers in Scotland. Watt was saved from this impasse by the arrival from Jamaica of astronomical instruments bequeathed by Alexander Macfarlane to the University of Glasgow, instruments that required expert attention. Watt was remunerated; these instruments were installed in the Macfarlane Observatory. Subsequently three professors offered him the opportunity to set up a small workshop within the university, it was initiated in 1757 and two of the professors, the physicist and chemist Joseph Black as well as the famed Adam Smith, became Watt's friends. At first he worked on maintaining and repairing scientific instruments used in the university, helping with demonstrations, expanding the production of quadrants.
In 1759 he formed a partnership with John Craig, an architect and businessman, to manufacture and sell a line of products including musical instruments and toys. This partnership lasted for the next six years, employed up to sixteen workers. Craig died in 1765. One employee, Alex Gardner took over the business, which lasted into the twentieth century. In 1764, Watt married his cousin Margaret Miller, with whom he had five children, two of whom lived to adulthood: James Jr. and Margaret. His wife died in childbirth in 1772. In 1777 he was married again, to Ann MacGregor, daughter of a Glasgow dye-maker, with whom he had two children: Gregory, who became a geologist and mineralogist, Janet. Ann died in 1832. Between 1777 and 1790 he lived in Birmingham. There is a popular story that Watt was inspired to invent the steam engine by seeing a kettle boiling, the steam forcing the lid to rise and thus showing Watt the power of steam; this story is told in many forms. James Watt of course did not invent the steam engine, as the story implies, but improved the efficiency of the existing Newcomen engine by adding a separate condenser.
This is difficult to explain to someone not familiar with concepts of heat and thermal efficiency. It appears that the story of Watt and the kettle was created by Watt's son James Watt Jr. and persists because it is easy for children to understand and remember. In this light it can be seen as akin to the story of Isaac Newton, the falling apple and his discovery of gravity. Although it is dismissed as a myth, like most good stories the story of James Watt and the kettle has a basis in fact. In trying to understand the thermodynamics of heat and steam James Watt carried out many laboratory experiments and his diaries record that in conducting these he used a kettle as a boiler to generate steam. In 1759 Watt's friend, John Robison, called his attention to the use of steam as a source of motive power; the design of the Newcomen engine, in use for 50 years for pumping water from mines, had hardly changed from its first implementation. Wat
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts of Scotland; the city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education in the fields of medicine, Scots law, philosophy, the sciences and engineering, it is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom and the city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year. Edinburgh is Scotland's second most populous city and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom; the official population estimates are 488,050 for the Locality of Edinburgh, 513,210 for the City of Edinburgh, 1,339,380 for the city region.
Edinburgh lies at the heart of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region comprising East Lothian, Fife, Scottish Borders and West Lothian. The city is the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, it is home to national institutions such as the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 and now one of four in the city, is placed 18th in the QS World University Rankings for 2019; the city is famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the world's largest annual international arts festival. Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the churches of St. Giles and the Canongate, the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th/19th centuries. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999. "Edin", the root of the city's name, derives from Eidyn, the name for this region in Cumbric, the Brittonic Celtic language spoken there.
The name's meaning is unknown. The district of Eidyn centred on the dun or hillfort of Eidyn; this stronghold is believed to have been located at Castle Rock, now the site of Edinburgh Castle. Eidyn was conquered by the Angles of Bernicia in the 7th century and by the Scots in the 10th century; as the language shifted to Old English, subsequently to modern English and Scots, The Brittonic din in Din Eidyn was replaced by burh, producing Edinburgh. Din became dùn in Scottish Gaelic, producing Dùn Èideann; the city is affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie, Scots for Old Smoky, for the views from the country of the smoke-covered Old Town. Allan Ramsay said. A name the country people give Edinburgh from the cloud of smoke or reek, always impending over it."Thomas Carlyle said, "Smoke cloud hangs over old Edinburgh,—for since Aeneas Silvius's time and earlier, the people have the art strange to Aeneas, of burning a certain sort of black stones, Edinburgh with its chimneys is called'Auld Reekie' by the country people."A character in Walter Scott's The Abbot says "... yonder stands Auld Reekie--you may see the smoke hover over her at twenty miles' distance."Robert Chambers who said that the sobriquet could not be traced before the reign of Charles II attributed the name to a Fife laird, Durham of Largo, who regulated the bedtime of his children by the smoke rising above Edinburgh from the fires of the tenements.
"It's time now bairns, to tak' the beuks, gang to our beds, for yonder's Auld Reekie, I see, putting on her nicht -cap!"Some have called Edinburgh the Athens of the North for a variety of reasons. The earliest comparison between the two cities showed that they had a similar topography, with the Castle Rock of Edinburgh performing a similar role to the Athenian Acropolis. Both of them had fertile agricultural land sloping down to a port several miles away. Although this arrangement is common in Southern Europe, it is rare in Northern Europe; the 18th-century intellectual life, referred to as the Scottish Enlightenment, was a key influence in gaining the name. Such luminaries as David Hume and Adam Smith shone during this period. Having lost most of its political importance after the Union, some hoped that Edinburgh could gain a similar influence on London as Athens had on Rome. A contributing factor was the neoclassical architecture that of William Henry Playfair, the National Monument. Tom Stoppard's character Archie, of Jumpers, said playing on Reykjavík meaning "smoky bay", that the "Reykjavík of the South" would be more appropriate.
The city has been known by several Latin names, such as Aneda or Edina. The adjectival form of the latter, can be seen inscribed on educational buildings; the Scots poets Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns used Edina in their poems. Ben Jonson described it as "Britaine's other eye", Sir Walter Scott referred to it as "yon Empress of the North". Robert Louis Stevenson a son of the city, wrote, "Edinburgh is what Paris ought to be"; the colloquial pronunciation "Embra" or "Embro" has been used, as in Robert Garioch's Embro to the Ploy. The earliest known human habitation in the Edinburgh area was at Cramond, where evidence was found of a Mesolithi
Peter Ware Higgs is a British theoretical physicist, emeritus professor in the University of Edinburgh, Nobel Prize laureate for his work on the mass of subatomic particles. In the 1960s, he proposed that broken symmetry in electroweak theory could explain the origin of mass of elementary particles in general and of the W and Z bosons in particular; this so-called Higgs mechanism, proposed by several physicists besides Higgs at about the same time, predicts the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson, the detection of which became one of the great goals of physics. On 4 July 2012, CERN announced the discovery of the boson at the Large Hadron Collider; the Higgs mechanism is accepted as an important ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics, without which certain particles would have no mass. Higgs has been honoured with a number of awards in recognition of his work, including the 1981 Hughes Medal from the Royal Society; the discovery of the Higgs boson prompted fellow physicist Stephen Hawking to note that he thought that Higgs should receive the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work, which he did, shared with François Englert in 2013.
Higgs was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour in the 2013 New Year Honours and in 2015 the Royal Society awarded him the Copley Medal, the world's oldest scientific prize. Higgs was born in the Elswick district of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to Thomas Ware Higgs and his wife Gertrude Maude née Coghill, his father worked as a sound engineer for the BBC, as a result of childhood asthma, together with the family moving around because of his father's job and World War II, Higgs missed some early schooling and was taught at home. When his father relocated to Bedford, Higgs stayed behind with his mother in Bristol, was raised there, he attended Cotham Grammar School in Bristol from 1941–46, where he was inspired by the work of one of the school's alumni, Paul Dirac, a founder of the field of quantum mechanics. In 1946, at the age of 17, Higgs moved to City of London School, where he specialised in mathematics in 1947 to King's College London where he graduated with a first class honours degree in Physics in 1950 and achieved a master's degree in 1952.
He was awarded an 1851 Research Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, performed his doctoral research in molecular physics under the supervision of Charles Coulson and Christopher Longuet-Higgins. He was awarded a PhD degree in 1954 with a thesis entitled Some problems in the theory of molecular vibrations. After finishing his doctorate, Higgs was appointed a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, he held various posts at Imperial College London, University College London. He returned to the University of Edinburgh in 1960 to take up the post of Lecturer at the Tait Institute of Mathematical Physics, allowing him to settle in the city he had enjoyed while hitchhiking to the Western Highlands as a student in 1949, he was promoted to Reader, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1974 and was promoted to a Personal Chair of Theoretical Physics in 1980. He became Emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh. Higgs was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1983 and Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1991.
He was awarded the Rutherford Medal and Prize in 1984. He received an honorary degree from the University of Bristol in 1997. In 2008 he received an Honorary Fellowship from Swansea University for his work in particle physics. At Edinburgh Higgs first became interested in mass, developing the idea that particles – massless when the universe began – acquired mass a fraction of a second as a result of interacting with a theoretical field. Higgs postulated that this field permeates space, giving mass to all elementary subatomic particles that interact with it; the Higgs mechanism postulates the existence of the Higgs field which confers mass on quarks and leptons. However this causes only a tiny portion of the masses of other subatomic particles, such as protons and neutrons. In these, gluons that bind quarks together confer most of the particle mass; the original basis of Higgs' work came from the Japanese-born theorist and Nobel Prize laureate Yoichiro Nambu from the University of Chicago. Professor Nambu had proposed a theory known as spontaneous symmetry breaking based on what was known to happen in superconductivity in condensed matter.
Higgs is reported to have developed the basic fundamentals of his theory after returning to his Edinburgh New Town apartment from a failed weekend camping trip to the Highlands. He stated, he wrote a short paper exploiting a loophole in Goldstone's theorem and published it in Physics Letters, a European physics journal edited at CERN, in Switzerland, in 1964. Higgs wrote a second paper describing a theoretical model (no
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE, their contributions to mathematics and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to explain events of the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries of the Middle Ages but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age; the recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived natural philosophy, transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape.
Modern science is divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences, which study nature in the broadest sense. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences. Science is based on research, conducted in academic and research institutions as well as in government agencies and companies; the practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, health care, environmental protection. Science in a broad sense existed in many historical civilizations. Modern science is distinct in its approach and successful in its results, so it now defines what science is in the strictest sense of the term. Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge, rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge.
In particular, it was the type of knowledge which people can communicate to share. For example, knowledge about the working of natural things was gathered long before recorded history and led to the development of complex abstract thought; this is shown by the construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous plants edible, public works at national scale, such as those which harnessed the floodplain of the Yangtse with reservoirs and dikes, buildings such as the Pyramids. However, no consistent conscious distinction was made between knowledge of such things, which are true in every community, other types of communal knowledge, such as mythologies and legal systems. Metallurgy was known in prehistory, the Vinča culture was the earliest known producer of bronze-like alloys, it is thought that early experimentation with heating and mixing of substances over time developed into alchemy. Neither the words nor the concepts "science" and "nature" were part of the conceptual landscape in the ancient near east.
The ancient Mesopotamians used knowledge about the properties of various natural chemicals for manufacturing pottery, glass, metals, lime plaster, waterproofing. The Mesopotamians had intense interest in medicine and the earliest medical prescriptions appear in Sumerian during the Third Dynasty of Ur. Nonetheless, the Mesopotamians seem to have had little interest in gathering information about the natural world for the mere sake of gathering information and only studied scientific subjects which had obvious practical applications or immediate relevance to their religious system. In the classical world, there is no real ancient analog of a modern scientist. Instead, well-educated upper-class, universally male individuals performed various investigations into nature whenever they could afford the time. Before the invention or discovery of the concept of "nature" by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to be used to describe the natural "way" in which a plant grows, the "way" in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god.
For this reason, it is claimed these men were the first philosophers in the strict sense, the first people to distinguish "nature" and "convention." Natural philosophy, the precursor of natural science, was thereby distinguished as the knowledge of nature and things which are true for every community, the name of the specialized pursuit of such knowledge was philosophy – the realm of the first philosopher-physicists. They were speculators or theorists interested in astronomy. In contrast, trying to use knowledge of nature to imitate nature was seen by classical scientists as a more appropriate interest for lower class artisans; the early Greek philosophers of the Milesian school, founded by Thales of Miletus and continued by his successors A