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Science, in the broadest sense of the term, refers to any system of knowledge attained by verifiable means. In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on empiricism, experimentation, and methodological naturalism, as well as to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such qualified research.

Scientists maintain that scientific investigation must adhere to the scientific method, a rigorous process for properly developing and evaluating natural explanations for observable phenomena based on reliable empirical evidence and neutral, unbiased independent verification, and not on arguments from authority or popular preferences. Science therefore bypasses supernatural explanations, it instead only considers natural explanations that may be falsifiable.

Fields of science are distinguished as pure science or applied science. Pure science is principally involved with the discovery of new truths with little or no regard to their practical applications. Applied science is principally involved with the application of existing knowledge in new ways, including advances in technology.

Mathematics is the language in which scientific information is best presented, often it is the only way to formulate and present scientific knowledge. Therefore whether mathematics is a science in itself or the framework of science is a matter of perspective.

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DNA damage resulting in multiple broken chromosomes
DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process must be constantly active so it can respond rapidly to any damage in the DNA structure.

The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred by its DNA, can enter one of three possible states: an irreversible state of dormancy, known as senescence; cell suicide, also known as apoptosis or programmed cell death; or unregulated cell division, which can lead to the formation of a tumor that is cancerous.

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Paramecium aurelia, the best known of all. The bubbles throughout the cell are vacuoles. The entire surface is covered in cilia, which are blurred by their rapid movement. Cilia are short, hair-like projections that help with locomotion.
Credit: Josh Grosse

Paramecium aurelia, the best known of all ciliates. The bubbles throughout the cell are vacuoles. The entire surface is covered in cilia, which are blurred by their rapid movement. Cilia are short, hair-like projections that help with locomotion.

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Frank Macfarlane Burnet at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, 1945
Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (3 September 189931 August 1985), was an Australian virologist best known for his contributions to immunology. He went on to conduct pioneering research on bacteriophages and viruses at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and served as director of the Institute from 1944 to 1956. His virology research resulted

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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

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The Science Portal

Welcome to the Science Portal! This page is a guide to Wikiversity learning resources that are about science in general. Please help create and organize learning resources at the content development projects. Browse the major science categories: Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences.

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Featured learning activity

What is science? - participants explore and discuss the nature of science.

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"The alchemist" by William Fettes Douglas (1822 - 1891).

Modern alchemy
The goals of alchemy were transmutation of any metal into gold, to prolong life indefinitely and to create human life. It can be argued that all of the key elements of traditional alchemy have become incorporated into conventional sciences. Transmutation of elements has been accomplished by physicists. Modern medical science is devoted to the treatment of disease and the prolongation of life. Biological techniques provide a significant level of control over the creation of new life from non-living chemical precursors.

All of these alchemy-inspired activities within modern science continue to force us up against the boundaries of conventional science. Transmutation is difficult and expensive. Immortality is a dream of many transhumanists. Only the most primitive forms of life can be constructed from scratch. Artificial life is still in its infancy. Creation of a robotic artificial life form with human qualities might be viewed as one way of satisfying the dream of creating life. Genetic engineering has begun to provide tools for the creation of new forms of biological organisms.

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Featured research

Pinwheel Galaxy

Participants at the Wikiversity Astronomy Project access public astronomy databases and explore outer space. Learn astronomy "on the job" by participating in analysis of astronomical observations that are available in public databases.

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Computer generated image of Aristotle
by Kolja Mendler

Aristotle (384-322 BC) is said to have studied marine organisms at the island of Lesbos. Aristotle observed crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, and fish. He knew that cetaceans are mammals, and that some marine vertebrates release eggs that hatch outside the body while others have eggs that hatch within the body. Aristotle is often referred to as the father of marine biology.

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Related portals

Many science-related learning resources are for specific scientific sub-disciplines and can be found with the aid of other Wikiversity portals: Engineering and Technology - Life Sciences - Mathematics - Physical Sciences - Social Sciences

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Content development projects

Wikiversity is new and depends on volunteer editors. In the Sciences we have content development projects for: Biology - Biomechanics - School of Dentistry - Marine Sciences - Medicine - Pharmacy - Plant Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Zoology - Molecular Biology - Microbiology - Ecology - Genetics - Paleontology - School of Chemistry - School of Geology - School of Hydrology - School of Physics and Astronomy - School of Engineering - School of Electronics - Department of Astronomy - Center for the Study of General Relativity - Department of Anthropology - School of Criminal Justice - Economics - School of Media Studies - School of Developmental Sciences - Department of Anthropology - School of History - School of Linguistics - School of Political Science - Department of Sociology - School of Demography - Department Social Work - Center for Strategic Studies - Mathematics - Computer Science

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Categories

Browse science-related learning resources in these categories: Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Category:Metrology, Category:Open source science, Category:Physics and Astronomy, Category:Science journalism, Category:Scientific Computing, Category:The Question, Category:Time, Category:Wiki Science, Biology, Marine sciences, Medicine, Neuroscience, Plant Sciences, Zoology, Algebra, Algorithms, Analysis, Applied Mathematics, Calculus, Elementary mathematics, Geometry, School of Mathematics, Statistics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Hydrology, Marine sciences, Mathematics, Meteorology, Physics, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Communication, Criminal Justice, Cultural Studies, Economics, History, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Media Studies, Women's Studies

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Quotes

"...I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted." Alan Turing

"the equation E = mc², in which energy is put equal to mass, multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, showed that very small amounts of mass may be converted into a very large amount of energy and vice versa." Albert Einstein

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Featured Science learning projects

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Things you can do

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Science news

The Wikiversity Science Journalism Center is a content development project where Wikiversity participants can collaborate to develop learning resources for science journalism. The 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello for their discovery of RNA interference.

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