Dear Dr. Universe: I was wondering, how did science get its name? Who thought of it? Does it mean something special? -Jada, 10
My friend Michael Goldsby is a philosopher of science at Washington State University. He said the English word “science” comes from the Latin, scientia, which means knowledge.
In medieval times, the pursuit of knowledge included things like grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Of course, the meaning of the word “science” has changed over time.
My friend Debbie Lee, a researcher and Regents professor of English at WSU who wrote a book on the history of science, said that, in the 18th and 19th centuries, a lot of people in Europe were going out to other parts of the world to explore.
“They came up with these huge systems of cataloging and naming the world,” she said. “Science really continued to grow out of that pursuit.”