According to Wikipedia,

The history of science is the study of the historical development of science and scientific knowledge, including both the natural sciences and social sciences.

There have been quite a few questions already on which fields of study are considered on topic for this site:

I am proposing that we have one post (this one) where each field of study is an answer and where people could vote each answer to indicate their opinion (upvote if on topic, downvote if off topic).

  • $\begingroup$ Please feel free to add a field of study as an answer if you feel that it deserves its own discussion. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Oct 31 '14 at 1:14

The history of the natural sciences

(also known as the hard sciences)

These include biology and the physical sciences (physics, astronomy, chemistry, and Earth science).


The history of mathematics

The American Mathematical Society uses a Mathematics Subject Classification that can be used as a list of what is considered as mathematics.

Some of the topics include

  • statistics
  • computer science
  • mechanics of particles and systems
  • mechanics of deformable solids
  • fluid mechanics
  • optics, electromagnetic theory
  • classical thermodynamics, heat transfer
  • quantum theory
  • statistical mechanics, structure of matter
  • relativity and gravitational theory
  • astronomy and astrophysics
  • geophysics
  • operations research, mathematical programming
  • game theory, economics, social and behavioral sciences
  • biology and other natural sciences
  • mathematics education
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ So the AMS think pretty much all of science is just a subset of mathematics? lol $\endgroup$ – winwaed Oct 31 '14 at 1:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah that's a pretty broad definition of mathematics, in the light of the definition I think we can rename this SE "History of mathematics", that should be enough to cover all science fields :) $\endgroup$ – Franck Dernoncourt Oct 31 '14 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ I know, it's pretty funny. But I guess the point is if we have a question about, say, the history of the use of mathematical methods for the social sciences, then it could be argued that the question would be on topic. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Oct 31 '14 at 5:21

The history of the social sciences

(also known as the soft sciences)

These include anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology.

  • $\begingroup$ The social sciences can also include environmental studies, anthropology, area studies, business studies, communication studies, criminology, demography, development studies, economics, education, geography, history, industrial relations, information science, law, library science, linguistics, media studies, political science, psychology, public administration, sociology, and social work. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Oct 31 '14 at 1:11
  • $\begingroup$ I am literally not sure about this one $\endgroup$ – user22 Oct 31 '14 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ That is a long list Joel: I feel some are on topic and some aren't. Eg. Biological anthropology and physical geography are definitely on topic, but political science, public admin and business studies are not. $\endgroup$ – winwaed Oct 31 '14 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps a definition of something like 'soft sciences in relation to the hard sciences' as per @winwaed's examples $\endgroup$ – user22 Oct 31 '14 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to explore more on social science, so I'll upvote this. Nevertheless, I can't refuse the truth that 13/15 public sites of SE are natural sciences (the other two are Philosophy and Linguistics). I think that questions in social sciences hardly get enough attention to be answered. They should be asked on their own communities. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 1 '14 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker I wonder how you get 13/15 natural sciences from that list. The only ones I'd classify as natural sciences are Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, and Astronomy. Mathematical/formal sciences are another 7 sites, and the remaining three are CogSci (clearly social science), Linguistics (also social science), and Philosophy (somewhat unclear). As for attention, we're hoping to build a new community here, not just leech off existing ones, so ideally we can get some social scientists here as well. $\endgroup$ – Logan M Nov 3 '14 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ @LoganMaingi: you are right. Then let me correct it: 12/15 sites are about natural sciences and math. I know that if wet get some social scientists here, it will be good for our community. However, unless we attract enough social scientists, for community we should suggest askers to ask on their own sites which have enough experts (another SE site, forum, blog, etc). It's just like the help suggestion of Cross Validated $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 3 '14 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ Political science?? $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Nov 9 '14 at 3:44

The history of medecine

The study of diseases and their treatment is arguably the oldest science.

There doesn't seem to be a question about medecine on the site now (perhaps because most participants are from existing Stack Exchange sites and there isn't one about medecine?), but I don't see why it would be off-topic.

  • $\begingroup$ medecine?...... $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 21 '20 at 7:55

The history of Exploration

It would seem that space exploration is on topic (eg. "Why it did take so many attempts before the Russians managed to land a probe on Venus?" "Who discovered Titan?"), but what about geographic exploration? It seems to me that as with the social sciences, there is a line somewhere. E.g.

On topic:

  • Determination that the North Pole was not a large magnetic mountain
  • Questions on Amundsen's magnetic observatory during his NW Passage voyage
  • Questions on meteorological, natural and geological observations made by Darwin & Humboldt during their voyages

Off topic:

  • Who was the first person to visit both Poles?
  • Questions on the subsistence lessons that Amundsen learnt from the Inuit and other native people, on his NW Passage voyage
  • How did Mallory & Irvine probably fail in their ascent/descent of Everest?
  • $\begingroup$ Why first-person-questions are off topic? If it is not yet available on common sources like Wiki, I think we should let the askers ask these. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 3 '14 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ This site is about the history of math and science. I think winwaed is saying that a question such as "Who was the first person to visit both poles?" is more appropriate for the History StackExchange site. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Nov 3 '14 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes Joel. I wasn't meaning to me any comments on first person. Just the topic of the question: Amundsen's magnetic observatory: on topic, his survival lessons from the Inuit: off topic $\endgroup$ – winwaed Nov 3 '14 at 13:44

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