Natural sciences are the basis for applied sciences. Together, the natural and applied sciences are distinguished from the social sciences on the one hand, and the humanities on the other. Though mathematics, statistics, and computer science are not considered natural sciences (mathematics traditionally considered among the liberal arts and statistics among the humanities, for instance), they provide many tools and frameworks used within the natural sciences.
Alongside this traditional usage, the phrase natural sciences is also sometimes used more narrowly to refer to natural history. In this sense "natural sciences" may refer to the biology and perhaps also the earth sciences, as distinguished from the physical sciences, including astronomy, physics, and chemistry.
Within the natural sciences, the term hard science is sometimes used to describe those subfields which some people view as relying on experimental, quantifiable data or the scientific method and focus on accuracy and objectivity. These usually include physics, chemistry and biology. By contrast, soft science is often used to describe the scientific fields that are more reliant on qualitative research, including the social sciences.
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