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Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is the endevor to aquire an understanding of the universe. It refers to the practice of creating and proving or disproving conjectures made based on observations of the natural world, as well as the organization of information gained from this practice. When combined with various other words it can also denote a specific field, i.e. "environmental science ". In addition, a scientist is an individual who is devoted to this undertaking.
While not yet systemized, the practice of science can be said to have begun with the evolution of homo sapiens into behavioral modernity, about 50,000 years ago. The rise of civilization in Mesopotamia, starting at around 4000 BCE, allowed for this systemization, as well as making a practical application of what is learned not necessarily required.
Science typically becomes a vital part of a society once it develops past a simple, agriculture-based state. This can be seen first with the Sumerian city-states eluded to above, then in Africa approximately at the point of the unification of the Egyptian Kingdom circa 3100 BCE, and finally in East Asia with the formation of the Chinese Shang Dynasty in the 18th century BCE. As time passed, the major fields began to take shape. This includes physics, the study of how matter and energy interact with each other; biology, which focuses on how life forms operate as well as came to be; mathematics (which may not be included depending on the specific definitions of it and “science” used), which observes various patterns in systems related to numbers; and many more.