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Is chemistry 'The Central Science'? How are different sciences related? Co-citations, reductionism, emergence, and posets

Summary

According to a widely used introductory chemistry text by T. E. Brown et al.,1 chemistry is 'The Central Science'. But scientometric co-citation analyses indicate that biochemistry seems presently to be more interconnected to other sciences. On the other hand, mathematics is considered by many to permeate all sciences and hence might compete as the choice for centrality. A critical commentary and argument leads to a proposal for an alternative partially ordered hierarchical “framework” map of sciences. This argument is supplemented by a scientometric approach based on university course requirements for different curricula, so as to support our partially ordered map. This alternative “framework” mapping then is seen to indicate a special position for chemistry, as where significant branching begins.

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Correspondence to Alexandru T. Balaban.

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Balaban, A., Klein, D. Is chemistry 'The Central Science'? How are different sciences related? Co-citations, reductionism, emergence, and posets. Scientometrics 69, 615–637 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-006-0173-2

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Keywords

  • Earth Science
  • Computer Technology
  • Physical Organic Chemistry
  • Mathematical Chemistry
  • Mathematics Requirement