That the meaning of science is somewhat weakly defined is exemplified by the following popular concepts. “Cavendish discovered hydrogen, De Soto discovered the Mississippi River, and Ziegfield discovered Gypsy Rose Lee.” Only one of these discoveries is considered scientific. By scientific evaluation, the discovery of Pikes Peak has a different rating than the discovery of the Van Allen Belts. When James Corbett beat John Sullivan in 1892, he established a reputation that still holds today, of being the most scientific boxer of all time; and when farmer Jones ran a wire from his house to the barn to attach an incandescent lamp on it in the Ozark Mountains in 1922, he was hailed by the neighbors for being a modern, scientific farmer. Scientific research can be carried on in the laboratory, out in the field, or in the library. Some people will tell you that psychology is not a science while physics is, that mathematics is the only one hundred percent exact science, that genealogy ceases to be a science when the investigator looks up his own family tree, and so on.

1.
J. R. Newman, The World of Mathematics (Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York, 1960), Vol. 1, pp. 10–14, 79–80, 170.
2.
This was discussed by the author in a memorandum to the record dated September 25, 1957,
and in a paper “
Description Mechanics
”,
Information and Control
1
,
240
266
(
1958
).
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