Branches of science

The branches of science, also referred to as sciences, "scientific fields", or "scientific disciplines," are commonly divided into three major groups:

Natural and social sciences are empirical sciences, meaning that the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and must be capable of being verified by other researchers working under the same conditions. [2] This verifiability may well vary even within a scientific discipline[3][4]

Natural, social, and formal science make up the fundamental sciences, which form the basis of interdisciplinary and applied sciences such as engineering and medicine. Specialized scientific disciplines that exist in multiple categories may include parts of other scientific disciplines but often possess their own terminologies and expertises.[5]

The Scientific Universe
The scale of the Universe mapped to branches of science and the hierarchy of the sciences.

Natural/Pure Science

Natural science is a branch of science that seeks to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by applying an empirical and scientific method to the study of the universe. The term natural sciences is used to distinguish it from the social sciences, which apply the scientific method to study human behavior and social patterns; the humanities, which use a critical, or analytical approach to the study of the human condition; and the formal sciences.

Physical science

Physical science is an encompassing term for the branches of natural science and science that study non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences. However, the term "physical" creates an unintended, somewhat arbitrary distinction, since many branches of physical science also study biological phenomena. There is a difference between physical science and physics.

Physics

Physics (from Ancient Greek: φύσις, translit. physis, lit. 'nature') is a natural science that involves the study of matter[6] and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force.[7] More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.[8][9][10]

Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines, perhaps the oldest through its inclusion of astronomy.[11] Over the last two millennia, physics was a part of natural philosophy along with chemistry, certain branches of mathematics, and biology, but during the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century, the natural sciences emerged as unique research programs in their own right.[12] Certain research areas are interdisciplinary, such as biophysics and quantum chemistry, which means that the boundaries of physics are not rigidly defined. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries physicalism emerged as a major unifying feature of the philosophy of science as physics provides fundamental explanations for every observed natural phenomenon. New ideas in physics often explain the fundamental mechanisms of other sciences, while opening to new research areas in mathematics and philosophy.

Chemistry

Chemistry (the etymology of the word has been much disputed)[13] is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes. The science of matter is also addressed by physics, but while physics takes a more general and fundamental approach, chemistry is more specialized, being concerned by the composition, behavior (or reaction), structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions.[14] It is a physical science which studies various substances, atoms, molecules, and matter (especially carbon based); biochemistry, the study of substances found in biological organisms; physical chemistry, the study of chemical processes using physical concepts such as thermodynamics and quantum mechanics; and analytical chemistry, the analysis of material samples to gain an understanding of their chemical composition and structure. Many more specialized disciplines have emerged in recent years, e.g. neurochemistry the chemical study of the nervous system (see subdisciplines).

Earth science

Earth science (also known as geoscience, the geosciences or the Earth sciences) is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth.[15] It is arguably a special case in planetary science, the Earth being the only known life-bearing planet. There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences. The formal discipline of Earth sciences may include the study of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, oceans and biosphere, as well as the solid earth. Typically Earth scientists will use tools from physics, chemistry, biology, geography, chronology and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how the Earth system works, and how it evolved to its current state.

Ecology (from Greek: οἶκος, "house"; -λογία, "study of") is the scientific study of the relationships that living organisms have with each other and with their abiotic environment. Topics of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems.

Oceanography, or marine biology, is the branch of Earth science that studies ocean. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics; ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor; and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it: biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics as well as geography.

Geology (from the Greek γῆ, gê, "earth" and λόγος, logos, "study") is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change.

Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 17th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries. After the development of the computer in the latter half of the 20th century, breakthroughs in weather forecasting were achieved.

Space Science or Astronomy

Space science or Astronomy is the study of everything in outer space.[16] This has sometimes been called astronomy, but recently astronomy has come to be regarded as a division of broader space science, which has grown to include other related fields,[17] such as studying issues related to space travel and space exploration (including space medicine), space archaeology[18] and science performed in outer space (see space research).

Science of living things

The science of living things comprises the branches of science[19] that involve the scientific study of living organisms, like plants, animals, and human beings. However, the study of behavior of organisms, such as practiced in ethology and psychology, is only included in as much as it involves a clearly biological aspect. While biology remains the centerpiece of the science of living things, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and new, often interdisciplinary, fields.

Biology

Biology is the branch of natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy.[20] Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines.

Zoology, occasionally spelled zoölogy, is the branch of science that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct. The term is derived from Ancient Greek ζῷον (zōon, "animal") + λόγος (logos, "knowledge"). Some branches of zoology include: anthrozoology, arachnology, archaeozoology, cetology, embryology, entomology, helminthology, herpetology, histology, ichthyology, malacology, mammalogy, morphology, nematology, ornithology, palaeozoology, pathology, primatology, protozoology, taxonomy, and zoogeography.

Human biology is an interdisciplinary academic field of biology, biological anthropology, nutrition and medicine which focuses on humans; it is closely related to primate biology, and a number of other fields.

Some branches of biology include: microbiology, anatomy, neurology and neuroscience, immunology, genetics, physiology, pathology, biophysics, biolinguistics, and ophthalmology.

Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Botany covers a wide range of scientific disciplines including structure, growth, reproduction, metabolism, development, diseases, chemical properties, and evolutionary relationships among taxonomic groups. Botany began with early human efforts to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest sciences. Today botanists study over 550,000 species of living organisms. The term "botany" comes from Greek βοτάνη, meaning "pasture, grass, fodder", perhaps via the idea of a livestock keeper needing to know which plants are safe for livestock to eat.

Social sciences

The social sciences are the fields of scholarship that study society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term for empirical fields outside of the natural sciences. These include: anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, linguistics, international relations, political science (aka government), public health, sociology, some branches of psychology (results of which can not be replicated or validated easily - e.g. social psychology), and certain aspects of business administration, communication, education, geography, history, and law.[21][22]

Formal sciences

The formal sciences are the branches of science that are concerned with formal systems, such as logic, mathematics, theoretical computer science, information theory, systems theory, decision theory, statistics, and theoretical linguistics.

Unlike other sciences, the formal sciences are not concerned with the validity of theories based on observations in the real world (empirical knowledge), but rather with the properties of formal systems based on definitions and rules. Methods of the formal sciences are, however, essential to the construction and testing of scientific models dealing with observable reality,[23] and major advances in formal sciences have often enabled major advances in the empirical sciences.

Decision theory

Decision theory in economics, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and statistics is concerned with identifying the values, uncertainties and other issues relevant in a given decision, its rationality, and the resulting optimal decision. It is very closely related to the field of game law.

Logic

Logic (from the Greek λογική logikē)[24] is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science. Logic examines general forms which arguments may take, which forms are valid, and which are fallacies. In philosophy, the study of logic figures in most major areas: epistemology, ethics, metaphysics. In mathematics and computer science, it is the study of valid inferences within some formal language.[25] Logic is also studied in argumentation theory.[26]

Mathematics

Mathematics, first of all known as The Science of numbers which is classified in Arithmetic and Algebra, is classified as a formal science,[27][28] has both similarities and differences with the empirical sciences (the natural and social sciences). It is similar to empirical sciences in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods.[29]

Statistics

Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, and interpretation of data.[30][31] It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments.[30]

A statistician is someone who is particularly well versed in the ways of thinking necessary for the successful application of statistical analysis. Such people have often gained this experience through working in any of a wide number of fields. There is also a discipline called mathematical statistics, which is concerned with the theoretical basis of the subject.

The word statistics, when referring to the scientific discipline, is singular, as in "Statistics is an art."[32] This should not be confused with the word statistic, referring to a quantity (such as mean or median) calculated from a set of data,[33] whose plural is statistics ("this statistic seems wrong" or "these statistics are misleading").

Systems theory

Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems in all fields of research. The term does not yet have a well-established, precise meaning, but systems theory can reasonably be considered a specialization of systems thinking and a generalization of systems science. The term originates from Ludwig von Bertalanffy's General System Theory (GS) and is used in later efforts in other fields, such as the action theory of Alcott Parsons and the system-theory of Nickolas McLuhan.

In this context the word systems is used to refer specifically to self-regulating systems, i.e. that are self-correcting through feedback. Self-regulating systems are found in nature, including the physiological systems of our body, in local and global ecosystems, and in climate.

Theoretical computer science

Theoretical computer science (TCS) is a division or subset of general computer science and focuses on more abstract or mathematical aspects of computing.

These divisions and subsets include analysis of algorithms and formal semantics of programming languages. Technically, there are hundreds of divisions and subsets besides these two. Each of the multiple parts have their own individual personal leaders (of popularity) and there are many associations and professional social groups and publications of distinction.

Applied sciences

Applied science is the application of scientific knowledge transferred into a physical environment. Examples include testing a theoretical model through the use of formal science or solving a practical problem through the use of natural science.

Applied science differs from fundamental science, which seeks to describe the most basic objects and forces, having less emphasis on practical applications. Applied science can be like biological science and physical science.

Example fields of applied science include

Fields of engineering are closely related to applied sciences. Applied science is important for technology development. Its use in industrial settings is usually referred to as research and development (R&D).

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Social Science
  2. ^ Popper 2002, p. 20.
  3. ^ Davide Castelvecchi, Nature Magazine (2015-12-23). "Is String Theory science?". Scientific American. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. ^ Editorial Staff (2016-03-03). "Psychology's reproducibility problem". Nature. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  5. ^ see: Editorial Staff (March 7, 2008). "Scientific Method: Relationships among Scientific Paradigms". Seed magazine. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  6. ^ Richard Feynman begins his Lectures with the atomic hypothesis, as his most compact statement of all scientific knowledge: "If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations ..., what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is ... that all things are made up of atoms – little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. ..." R.P. Feynman; R.B. Leighton; Matthew Sands (1963). The Feynman Lectures on Physics. 1. p. I-2. ISBN 0-201-02116-1.
  7. ^ J.C. Maxwell (1878). Matter and Motion. D. Van Nostrand. p. 9. ISBN 0-486-66895-9. Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of events.
  8. ^ H.D. Young; R.A. Freedman (2004). University Physics with Modern Physics (11th ed.). Addison Wesley. p. 2. Physics is an experimental science. Physicists observe the phenomena of nature and try to find patterns and principles that relate these phenomena. These patterns are called physical theories or, when they are very well established and of broad use, physical laws or principles.
  9. ^ S. Holzner (2006). Physics for Dummies. Wiley. p. 7. ISBN 0-470-61841-8. Physics is the study of your world and the world and universe around you.
  10. ^ Note: The term 'universe' is defined as everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. However, the term 'universe' may also be used in slightly different contextual senses, denoting concepts such as the cosmos or the philosophical world.
  11. ^ Evidence exists that the earliest civilizations dating back to beyond 3000 BCE, such as the Sumerians, Ancient Egyptians, and the Indus Valley Civilization, all had a predictive knowledge and a very basic understanding of the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars.
  12. ^ Francis Bacon's 1620 Novum Organum was critical in the development of scientific method.
  13. ^ See: Chemistry (etymology) for possible origins of this word.
  14. ^ Chemistry. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  15. ^ Wordnet Search: Earth science
  16. ^ space science – definition of space science by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia
  17. ^ National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) – NASA Science
  18. ^ Space science | Define Space science at Dictionary.com
  19. ^ Branches of Science
  20. ^ Based on definition from Aquarena Wetlands Project glossary of terms. Archived June 8, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Verheggen; et al. (1999). "From shared representations to consensually coordinated actions". In Morrs, John; et al. Theoretical Issues in Psychology. International Society for Theoretical Psychology.
  22. ^ Garai, L.; Kocski, M. (1995). "Another crisis in the psychology: A possible motive for the Vygotsky-boom". Journal of Russian and East-European Psychology. 33 (1): 82–94. doi:10.2753/RPO1061-0405330182.
  23. ^ Popper 2002, pp. 79–82.
  24. ^ "possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative", also related to λόγος (logos), "word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle" (Liddell & Scott 1999; Online Etymology Dictionary 2001).
  25. ^ Hofweber, T. (2004). "Logic and Ontology". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  26. ^ Cox, J. Robert; Willard, Charles Arthur, eds. (1983). Advances in Argumentation Theory and Research. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-1050-0.
  27. ^ Marcus Tomalin (2006) Linguistics and the Formal Sciences
  28. ^ Benedikt Löwe (2002) "The Formal Sciences: Their Scope, Their Foundations, and Their Unity"
  29. ^ Popper 2002, pp. 10–11.
  30. ^ a b Dodge, Y. (2003) The Oxford Dictionary of Statistical Terms, OUP. ISBN 0-19-920613-9
  31. ^ The Free Online Dictionary
  32. ^ "Statistics". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
  33. ^ "Statistic". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

References

American Astronomical Society

The American Astronomical Society (AAS, sometimes spoken as "double-A-S") is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC. The primary objective of the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science, while the secondary purpose includes enhancing astronomy education and providing a political voice for its members through lobbying and grassroots activities. Its current mission is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe.

American Society for Engineering Education

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is a non-profit member association, founded in 1893, dedicated to promoting and improving engineering and engineering technology education. The purpose of ASEE is the advancement of education in all of its functions which pertain to engineering and allied branches of science and technology, including the processes of teaching and learning, counseling, research, extension services and public relations.

Candidate of Sciences

Kandidat nauk (Russian: Кандидат наук, literally "Candidate of Sciences") is the first of two doctoral level scientific degrees in some former Soviet countries. It is formally classified as UNESCO ISCED level 8, 'doctoral or equivalent', and is thus officially translated into English and other languages as Doctor of Philosophy (i.e. PhD) and recognised as such.As in Germany, former Soviet countries have an additional doctoral degree, Doktor nauk (Доктор наук), which by official agreement is equivalent to habilitation and typically requires 10 years of original research after Kandidat nauk is attained.

Chirality

Chirality is a property of asymmetry important in several branches of science. The word chirality is derived from the Greek χειρ (kheir), "hand," a familiar chiral object.

An object or a system is chiral if it is distinguishable from its mirror image; that is, it cannot be superposed onto it. Conversely, a mirror image of an achiral object, such as a sphere, cannot be distinguished from the object. A chiral object and its mirror image are called enantiomorphs (Greek, "opposite forms") or, when referring to molecules, enantiomers. A non-chiral object is called achiral (sometimes also amphichiral) and can be superposed on its mirror image. If the object is non-chiral and is imagined as being colored blue and its mirror image is imagined as colored yellow, then by a series of rotations and translations the two can be superposed, producing green, with none of the original colors remaining.

The term was first used by Lord Kelvin in 1893 in the second Robert Boyle Lecture at the Oxford University Junior Scientific Club which was published in 1894:

I call any geometrical figure, or group of points, 'chiral', and say that it has chirality if its image in a plane mirror, ideally realized, cannot be brought to coincide with itself.

Human hands are perhaps the most universally recognized example of chirality. The left hand is a non-superimposable mirror image of the right hand; no matter how the two hands are oriented, it is impossible for all the major features of both hands to coincide across all axes. This difference in symmetry becomes obvious if someone attempts to shake the right hand of a person using their left hand, or if a left-handed glove is placed on a right hand. In mathematics, chirality is the property of a figure that is not identical to its mirror image.

Density of air

The density of air or atmospheric density, denoted ρ (Greek: rho), is the mass per unit volume of Earth's atmosphere. Air density, like air pressure, decreases with increasing altitude. It also changes with variation in atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity. At 1013,25 hPa (abs) and 15°C, air has a density of approximately 1.225 kg/m³ (0.001225 g/cm³, 0.0023769 slug/(cu ft), 0.0765 lb/(cu ft)) according to ISA (International Standard Atmosphere).Air density is a property used in many branches of science, engineering, and industry, including aeronautics; gravimetric analysis; the air-conditioning industry; atmospheric research and meteorology; agricultural engineering (modeling and tracking of Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere-Transfer (SVAT) models); and the engineering community that deals with compressed air.Depending on the measuring instruments used, different sets of equations for the calculation of the density of air can be applied. Air is a mixture of gases and the calculations always simplify, to a greater or lesser extent, the properties of the mixture.

Dimitri Nanopoulos

Dimitri V. Nanopoulos (; Greek: Δημήτρης Νανόπουλος; born 13 September 1948) is a Greek physicist. He is one of the most regularly cited researchers in the world, cited more than 48,500 times over across a number of separate branches of science.

Discipline (academia)

An academic discipline or academic field, also known as a field of study, field of inquiry, research field and branch of knowledge, is a subdivision of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined (in part), and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong.

It includes scientific disciplines.

It incorporates expertise, people, projects, communities, challenges, studies, inquiry, and research areas that are strongly associated with a given scholastic subject area or college department. For example, the branches of science are commonly referred to as the scientific disciplines, e.g. physics, chemistry, and biology.

Individuals associated with academic disciplines are commonly referred to as experts or specialists. Others, who may have studied liberal arts or systems theory rather than concentrating in a specific academic discipline, are classified as generalists.

While academic disciplines in and of themselves are more or less focused practices, scholarly approaches such as multidisciplinarity/interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and cross-disciplinarity integrate aspects from multiple academic disciplines, therefore addressing any problems that may arise from narrow concentration within specialized fields of study. For example, professionals may encounter trouble communicating across academic disciplines because of differences in language or specified concepts.

Some researchers believe that academic disciplines may, in the future, be replaced by what is known as Mode 2 or "post-academic science", which involves the acquisition of cross-disciplinary knowledge through collaboration of specialists from various academic disciplines.

Fractionation

Fractionation is a separation process in which a certain quantity of a mixture (gas, solid, liquid, enzymes, suspension, or isotope) is divided during a phase transition, into a number of smaller quantities (fractions) in which the composition varies according to a gradient. Fractions are collected based on differences in a specific property of the individual components. A common trait in fractionations is the need to find an optimum between the amount of fractions collected and the desired purity in each fraction. Fractionation makes it possible to isolate more than two components in a mixture in a single run. This property sets it apart from other separation techniques.

Fractionation is widely employed in many branches of science and technology. Mixtures of liquids and gases are separated by fractional distillation by difference in boiling point. Fractionation of components also takes place in column chromatography by a difference in affinity between stationary phase and the mobile phase. In fractional crystallization and fractional freezing, chemical substances are fractionated based on difference in solubility at a given temperature. In cell fractionation, cell components are separated by difference in mass.

Geoinformatics

Geoinformatics is the science and the technology which develops and uses information science infrastructure to address the problems of geography, cartography, geosciences and related branches of science and engineering.

Index of branches of science

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, economics) which study people and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g. mathematics, logic, theoretical computer science), which study abstract concepts. There is disagreement, however, on the formal sciences being a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use science, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.

Indian National Science Academy

The Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in New Delhi is the apex body of Indian scientists representing all branches of science and technology.

Jan Svatopluk Presl

Jan Svatopluk Presl (4 September 1791 – 6 April 1849) was a Bohemian natural scientist.

He was the brother of botanist Karel Bořivoj Presl (1794–1852). The Czech Botanical Society commemorated the two brothers by naming its principal publication Preslia (founded in 1914). He is the author of Czech scientific terminology of various branches of science, including the Czech chemical nomenclature. He was the co-author of an important Czech taxonomic work,O Přirozenosti Rostlin.

List of life sciences

The life sciences or biological sciences comprise the branches of science that involve the scientific study of life and organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, and animals including human beings.

Life science is one of the two major branches of natural science, the other being physical science, which is concerned with non-living matter.

By definition, biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, with the other life sciences being its sub-disciplines.

Some life sciences focus on a specific type of organism. For example, zoology is the study of animals, while botany is the study of plants. Other life sciences focus on aspects common to all or many life forms, such as anatomy and genetics. Some focus on the micro scale (e.g. molecular biology, biochemistry) other on larger scales (e.g. cytology, immunology, ethology, ecology). Another major branch of life sciences involves understanding the mind – neuroscience.

Life sciences discoveries are helpful in improving the quality and standard of life, and have applications in health, agriculture, medicine, and the pharmaceutical and food science industries.

Outline of science

The following outline is provided as a topical overview of science:

Science – the systematic effort of acquiring knowledge—through observation and experimentation coupled with logic and reasoning to find out what can be proved or not proved—and the knowledge thus acquired. The word "science" comes from the Latin word "scientia" meaning knowledge. A practitioner of science is called a "scientist". Modern science respects objective logical reasoning, and follows a set of core procedures or rules in order to determine the nature and underlying natural laws of the universe and everything in it. Some scientists do not know of the rules themselves, but follow them through research policies. These procedures are known as the scientific method.

Parapsychological Association

The Parapsychological Association (PA) was formed in 1957 as a professional society for parapsychologists following an initiative by Joseph B. Rhine. Its purpose has been "to advance parapsychology as a science, to disseminate knowledge of the field, and to integrate the findings with those of other branches of science." The work of the association is reported in the Journal of Parapsychology and the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.In 1969, the Parapsychological Association became affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Reciprocal length

Reciprocal length or inverse length is a measurement used in several branches of science and mathematics. As the reciprocal of length, common units used for this measurement include the reciprocal metre or inverse metre (m−1), the reciprocal centimetre or inverse centimetre (cm−1), and, in optics, the dioptre.

Quantities measured in reciprocal length include:

absorption coefficient or attenuation coefficient, in materials science

curvature of a line, in mathematics

gain, in laser physics

magnitude of vectors in reciprocal space, in crystallography

more generally any spatial frequency e.g. in cycles per unit length

optical power of a lens, in optics

rotational constant of a rigid rotor, in quantum mechanics

wavenumber, or magnitude of a wavevector, in spectroscopy

density of a linear feature in hydrology and other fields; see kilometre per square kilometre

Royal Astronomical Society

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is a learned society and charity that encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. Its headquarters are in Burlington House, on Piccadilly in London. The society has over 4,000 members, termed Fellows, most of them professional researchers or postgraduate students. Around a quarter of Fellows live outside the UK. Members of the public who have an interest in astronomy and geophysics but do not qualify as Fellows may become Friends of the RAS.

The society holds monthly scientific meetings in London, and the annual National Astronomy Meeting at varying locations in the British Isles. The RAS publishes the scientific journals Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and Geophysical Journal International, along with the trade magazine Astronomy & Geophysics.

The RAS maintains an astronomy research library, engages in public outreach and advises the UK government on astronomy education. The society recognises achievement in astronomy and geophysics by issuing annual awards and prizes, with its highest award being the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. The RAS is the UK adhering organisation to the International Astronomical Union and a member of the UK Science Council.

The society was founded in 1820 as the Astronomical Society of London to support astronomical research. At that time, most members were 'gentleman astronomers' rather than professionals. It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving a Royal Charter from William IV. A Supplemental Charter in 1915 opened up the fellowship to women.

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand

The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) is the New Zealand national astronomical society. It is an association of professional and amateur astronomers with the prime objective to the promotion and extension of knowledge of astronomy and related branches of science.

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