The history of science is the study of the development of science and scientific knowledge, including both the natural sciences and social sciences.Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about thenatural world, produced by scientists who emphasize the observation,explanation, and prediction of real world phenomena. Historiography of science, in contrast, often draws on the historical methods of both intellectual history and social history.

The English word scientist is relatively recent—first coined by William Whewellin the 19th century. Previously, people investigating nature called themselves natural philosophers. While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since classical antiquity , and scientific methods have been employed since the Middle Ages, the dawn of modern science is often traced back to the early modern period and in particular to thescientific revolution that took place in 16th- and 17th-century Europe. Scientific methods are considered to be so fundamental to modern science that some consider earlier inquiries into nature to be pre-scientific. Traditionally, historians of science have defined science sufficiently broadly to include those inquiries.