The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society still in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London". The Society today acts as a scientific advisor to the British government, receiving a parliamentary grant-in-aid. The Society acts as the UK's Academy of Sciences, and funds research fellowships and scientific start-up companies.
The Society is governed by its Council, which is chaired by the Society's President, according to a set of Statutes and Standing Orders. The members of Council and the President are elected from and by its Fellows, the basic members of the Society, who are themselves elected by existing Fellows. There are currently 1,314 Fellows, allowed to use the postnominal title FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society), with 44 new Fellows appointed each year. There are also Royal Fellows, Honorary Fellows and Foreign Members, the last of which are allowed to use their postnominal title ForMemRS (Foreign Member of the Royal Society). The current Royal Society President is Sir Paul Nurse, who took up the position on 30 November 2010.
The philosophy of science is concerned with all the assumptions, foundations, methods, implications of science, and with the use and merit of science. This discipline sometimes overlaps metaphysics, ontology and epistemology, viz., when it explores whether scientific results comprise a study of truth. In addition to these central problems of science as a whole, many philosophers of science consider problems that apply to particular sciences (e.g. philosophy of biology or philosophy of physics). Some philosophers of science also use contemporary results in science to reach conclusions about philosophy.
Philosophy of science has historically been met with mixed response from the scientific community. Though scientists often contribute to the field, many prominent scientists have felt that the practical effect on their work is limited.
Chemistry and physics are branches of science that both study matter. The difference between the two lies in their scope and approach. Chemists and physicists are trained differently, and they have different professional roles, even when working in a team. The division between chemistry and physics becomes diffuse at the interface of the two branches, notably in fields such as physical chemistry, chemical physics, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics/chemistry, material science, spectroscopy, solid state physics, crystallography, and nanotechnology.
Physics and chemistry may overlap when the system under study involves matter commonly encountered on earth, composed of electrons and nuclei made of protons and neutrons. On the other hand, chemistry is not concerned with other forms of matter such as quarks, mu and tau leptons and dark matter, which do not participate in the transformation of one kind of substance into another, and which we do not observe under typical terrestrial conditions.
The natural sciences are those branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world through scientific methods, the cornerstone of which are measured by quantitative data. Based on formal sciences, they also attempt to provide mathematical (either deterministic or stochastic) models of natural processes. The term "natural science" is used to distinguish the subject from the social sciences, which apply the scientific method to study human behavior and social patterns; the humanities, which use a critical or analytical approach to study the human condition; and the formal sciences such as mathematics and logic, which use an a priori, as opposed to empirical methodology to study formal systems.
There are five branches of natural science: astronomy, biology, chemistry, the Earth sciences and physics. This distinguishes sciences that cover inquiry into the world of nature from humanities such as linguistics, anthropology, literary science, and from formal sciences such as mathematics and logic. Despite their differences, these sciences sometimes overlap. For example, the social sciences and biology both study human beings as organisms while mathematics is used regularly in all the natural sciences.