Concepts in science

By Juan R. González Álvarez

Fundamental science

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Juan R. González Álvarez
Juan R. González Álvarez
Fundamental science is that part of the science devoted to the development and testing of the basic formalisms [1] and methods that would, in principle, apply to any system subject to scientific study [2].

The term “fundamental” derives from the late Latin “fundamentalis”, from Latin “fundamentum” meaning “primary, original, primary principles or rules”. Fundamental physics is a traditional example due to the generic nature of physics, and recent research in the social and behavioral sciences –for example, cognitive neuroscience– can also be considered fundamental [3].
Image by GarryKillian on Freepik
Image by GarryKillian on Freepik
Fundamental science provides a common basis for the development of the rest of scientific disciplines such as analytical, synthetic, or engineering, but it also depends on the technical advances provided by them. For instance, new sophisticated measurement instruments or ultrapure substances are required to test, in experiments and observations, the new hypothesis formulated by fundamental scientists. As aptly remarked by the Nobel laureate George Porter, “Thermodynamics owes more to the steam engine than the steam engine owes to science” [4].
REFERENCES AND NOTES
  1. A formalism is the collection of axioms, definitions, and derived theorems.
  2. It is implicitly admitted in the definition that no formalism is known to work for any system; that is, no one has developed a theory of everything.
  3. However, as noted in analysis of science, the traditional division of science into physics, chemistry, biology, etc is not well-defined due to ambiguous boundaries. Furthermore, research belonging to one discipline is sometimes unfairly attributed to another.
  4. CERN - Basic versus applied science 2012 October 30 (access): http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/about/BasicScience2-en.html. Llewellyn Smith, C. H.
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Juan R. González Álvarez
Juan R. González Álvarez @juanrga

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