Definitions - Fields of Science and Engineering
Fields of science and engineering in this survey consist of eight broad field categories, each consisting of a number of detailed fields. The broad fields are life sciences; psychology; physical sciences; environmental sciences; mathematics
and computer sciences; engineering; social sciences; and other sciences, not elsewhere classified. The term "not elsewhere classified" (n.e.c.) is used for multidisciplinary projects within a broad field and for single-discipline projects for which
a separate field has not been assigned. The following list presents the detailed fields grouped under each of the broad fields, together with illustrative disciplines of detailed fields.
The illustrative disciplines are intended to be guidelines, not sharp definitions; they represent examples of disciplines generally classified under each detailed field. A discipline under one detailed field may be classified under another detailed
field when the major emphasis is elsewhere. Research in biochemistry, for example, might be reported as biological, agricultural, or medical, depending on the orientation of the project. Human biochemistry would be classified under biological, but
animal biochemistry or plant biochemistry would fall under agricultural. In no case is the research reported under more than one field. No double counting is intended or allowed.
- Life sciences consist of five detailed fields: biological (excluding environmental); environmental biology; agricultural; medical; and life sciences, n.e.c. Examples of the disciplines under each of these fields are as follows:
- Biological (excluding environmental): anatomy; biochemistry; biology; biometry and biostatistics; biophysics; botany; cell biology; entomology and parasitology; genetics; microbiology; neuroscience (biological); nutrition; physiology;
zoology; other biological, n.e.c.
- Environmental biology: ecosystem sciences; evolutionary biology; limnology; physiological ecology; population and biotic community ecology; population biology; systematics; other environmental biology, n.e.c.
- Agricultural: agronomy; animal sciences; food science and technology; fish and wildlife; forestry; horticulture; phytopathology; phytoproduction; plant sciences; soils and soil science; general agriculture; other agriculture, n.e.c.
- Medical: dentistry; internal medicine; neurology; obstetrics and gynecology; ophthalmology; otolaryngology; pathology; pediatrics; pharmacology; pharmacy; preventive medicine; psychiatry; radiology; surgery; veterinary medicine; other
- Life sciences, n.e.c.
- Psychology deals with behavior, mental processes, and individual and group characteristics and abilities. Psychology in this survey is divided into three categories: biological aspects; social aspects; and psychological sciences, n.e.c.
Examples of the disciplines under each of these fields are as follows:
- Biological aspects: animal behavior; clinical psychology; comparative psychology; ethology; experimental psychology
- Social aspects: development and personality; educational, personnel, and vocational psychology and testing; industrial and engineering psychology; social psychology
- Psychological sciences, n.e.c.
- Physical sciences are concerned with understanding of the material universe and its phenomena. They comprise the fields of astronomy; chemistry; physics; and physical sciences, n.e.c. Examples of disciplines under each of these fields
are as follows:
- Astronomy: laboratory astrophysics; optical astronomy; radio astronomy; theoretical astrophysics; X-ray, gamma-ray, and neutrino astronomy
- Chemistry: inorganic; organic; organometallic; physical
- Physics: acoustics; atomic and molecular; condensed matter; elementary particle; nuclear structure; optics; plasma
- Physical sciences, n.e.c.
- Environmental sciences (terrestrial and extraterrestrial) are, with one exception, concerned with the gross nonbiological properties of the areas of the solar system that directly or indirectly affect human survival and welfare. The one
exception is that obligations for studies pertaining to life in the sea or other bodies of water are reported as support of oceanography and not biology. Environmental sciences comprise the fields of atmospheric sciences; geological sciences;
oceanography; and environmental sciences, n.e.c. Examples of disciplines under each of these fields are as follows:
- Atmospheric sciences: aeronomy; extraterrestrial atmospheres; meteorology; solar; weather modification
- Geological sciences: engineering geophysics; general geology; geodesy and gravity; geomagnetism; hydrology; inorganic geochemistry; isotopic geochemistry; laboratory geophysics; organic geochemistry; paleomagnetism; paleontology;
physical geography and cartography; seismology; soil sciences
- Oceanography: biological oceanography; chemical oceanography; marine geophysics; physical oceanography
- Environmental sciences, n.e.c.
- Mathematics and computer sciences employ logical reasoning with the aid of symbols and are concerned with the development of methods of operation employing such symbols and, in the case of computer sciences, with the application of such
methods to automated information systems. Examples of disciplines under these fields are as follows:
- Mathematics: algebra; analysis; applied mathematics; foundations and logic; geometry; numerical analysis; statistics; topology
- Computer sciences: computer and information sciences (general); design, development, and application of computer capabilities to data storage and manipulation; information sciences and systems; programming languages; systems analysis
- Mathematics and computer sciences, n.e.c.
- Engineering is concerned with studies directed toward developing engineering principles or toward making specific principles usable in engineering practice. Engineering in this survey is divided into eight fields: aeronautical;
astronautical; chemical; civil; electrical; mechanical; metallurgy and materials; and engineering, n.e.c. Examples of disciplines under each of these fields are as follows:
- Aeronautical: aerodynamics
- Astronautical: aerospace; space technology
- Chemical: petroleum; petroleum refining; process
- Civil: architectural; hydraulic; hydrologic; marine; sanitary and environmental; structural; transportation
- Electrical: communication; electronic; power
- Mechanical: engineering mechanics
- Metallurgy and materials: ceramic; mining; textile; welding
- Engineering, n.e.c.: agricultural; bioengineering; biomedical; industrial and management; nuclear; ocean; systems
- Social sciences are directed toward an understanding of the behavior of social institutions and groups and of individuals as members of a group. Social sciences include anthropology; economics; political science; sociology; and social
sciences, n.e.c. Examples of disciplines under the fields of social science are as follows:
- Anthropology: applied anthropology; archaeology; cultural and personality; social and ethnology
- Economics: economic systems and development; econometrics and economic statistics; history of economic thought; industrial, labor, and agricultural economics; international economics; macroeconomics; microeconomics; public finance and
fiscal policy; theory
- Political science: area or regional studies; comparative government; history of political ideas; international relations and law; national political and legal systems; political theory; public administration
- Sociology: comparative and historical; complex organizations; culture and social structure; demography; group interactions; social problems and social welfare; sociological theory
- Social sciences, n.e.c.: linguistics; research in education; research in history; research in law (e.g., attempts to assess impact on society of legal systems and practices); socioeconomic geography
- Other sciences, n.e.c.: This category is used for multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary projects that cannot be classified within one of the broad fields of science already listed.