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One hundred words of science

by PhilipJ on 25 September 2008

This week’s Nature has a correspondence from Marco Prunotto on a science education workshop for 16-18 year olds in Venice, where (among other things I’m sure) they came up with a list of 100 words to describe science today. There’s even a website for the workshop, 100 parole per la scienza.

The list? In alphabetical order:

Acid/base, aggregation status, analysis, antimatter, apparatus, atmosphere, atom, bacteria, Big Bang, biodiversity, bioethics, biosphere, black hole, carbon, cell, chaos, climate, cloning, DNA, ecosystem, electricity, electron, element, energy, entropy, environment, enzyme, equilibrium, error, ethology, evolution, experiment, force, fossil, galaxy, gene, genetically modified organism, gravity, greenhouse effect, H2O, heat, hydrocarbon, infinity, intelligence, Internet, life, light, link, magnetism, mass, matter, measurement, metabolism, mind, mole, molecule, motion, mutation, natural selection, nebula, neuron, organism, osmosis, particle, periodic table, pH, photosynthesis, planet, pollution, pressure, probability, protein, pulsar, quantum, quark, radioactivity, reaction, relativity, reproduction, research, rule, science, scientific method, solution, space, species, star, stem cell, symbiosis, systems, technology, temperature, theory, time, tissue, tumour, Universe, vacuum, virus, wave.

By my count (where my physicist background bias might show) here’s how things break down, in terms of words per discipline, for no particular reason other than I wondered:

Biology: 30
Chemistry: 12
Geology + environment: 6
Mathematics: 3
Physics + astronomy: 34
General: 12

Unusual words: Internet, aggregation analysis, link.

Other than those three words that I couldn’t really peg as being obviously for a specific discipline, I don’t think there’s anything really missing here, and for 16-18 year old students to come up with this kind of a list is really quite encouraging. Is there anything else you think that teen-aged science enthusiasts should have emphasized?

  1. Larry Moran    3366 days ago    #

    delete “biosphere” and add “eukaryote”

    delete “ethology” and add “thermodynamics”

    delete “stem cell” and add “nucleus”

    delete “symbiosis” and add “development”

    delete “internet” and add “hypothesis”

    delete “tumor” and add “RNA

    delete “aggregation status” and add “acceleration”

    replace “genetically modified organism” with “genetics”

    replace “intelligence” with “bond”

  2. Steve    3365 days ago    #

    Get rid of “ethology?” Hell no! The rest I agree with, but if Larry thinks “development” is important enough to make the list then “ethology” is as well. (can you tell I came from a neuroethology lab?)

  3. G. Tingey    3365 days ago    #

    NO: “X, Y, Z” ??

    Zero (absolute)

  4. Dr A    3363 days ago    #

    I LOVE this!! Everytime I thought of a word it was already included. Hypothesis is a pretty important missing one though. And genetically modified organism could be removed.

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