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In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature.

As a slow process over centuries, the word "science" became increasingly associated with what is today known as the scientific method, a structured way to study the natural world.

This is shown by the construction of complex calendars, techniques for making poisonous plants edible, public works at national scale, such which those which harnessed the floodplain of the Yangtse with reservoirs, dams, and dikes, and buildings such as the Pyramids.

However, no consistent conscientious distinction was made between knowledge of such things, which are true in every community, and other types of communal knowledge, such as mythologies and legal systems.

Science is related to research, and is normally organized by a university, a college, or a research institute.

From classical antiquity through the 19th century, science as a type of knowledge was more closely linked to philosophy than it is now and, in fact, in the West the term "natural philosophy" encompassed fields of study that are today associated with science such as physics, astronomy, medicine, among many others.

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In contrast, trying to use knowledge of nature to imitate nature (artifice or technology, Greek technē) was seen by classical scientists as a more appropriate interest for lower class artisans.Before the invention or discovery of the concept of "nature" (ancient Greek phusis) by the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the same words tend to be used to describe the natural "way" in which a plant grows, and the "way" in which, for example, one tribe worships a particular god.For this reason, it is claimed these men were the first philosophers in the strict sense, and also the first people to clearly distinguish "nature" and "convention." Science was therefore distinguished as the knowledge of nature and things which are true for every community, and the name of the specialized pursuit of such knowledge was philosophy – the realm of the first philosopher-physicists.Contemporary science is typically subdivided into the natural sciences which study the material world, the social sciences which study people and societies, and the formal sciences like mathematics.The formal sciences are often distinguished from the empirical sciences as the former does not depend on empirical observations.However, the general fields of science (or "natural philosophy" as it was called) and much of the general knowledge from the ancient world remained preserved through the works of the early Latin encyclopedists like Isidore of Seville.

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