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What is the difference between pure and applied science?

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Quick Answer

Pure science is science that yields theories and predictions, as in natural sciences such as chemistry, biology, geology and physics, as well as in empirical sciences such as cognitive and certain behavioral sciences. Applied science is a field of science that uses existing knowledge to create practical applications, such as for technology or education.

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Full Answer

Pure science creates and establishes information to understand nature, whereas applied science uses this information to develop technology or techniques to change outcomes. Engineering is a dominant form of applied science, as it utilizes the findings from pure science as the basis of applications. Pure science is often referred to as natural science, basic science or fundamental science.

Examples of applied sciences include medical sciences such as medical microbiology and genetic epidemiology, and formal sciences such as probability theory and statistics. Other examples include fluid mechanics, dynamics, kinematics, earth sciences, engineering physics and statistics.

Pure science is often conducted in a laboratory, whereas applies science is done outside the lab. The main objective of pure science is to increase information of a particular field of study. The main objective of applied sciences is to use this information to solve practical problems.

Both pure science and applied science are used together to yield products and services in sciences such as biomedicine and engineering.

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