Soft science

In science, soft science, as compared to a hard science, is a branch of systematic knowledge, pure and applied, susceptible to the scientific method, elementary in stage of development.

The following are the 2013 independently polled ranking of the relative hardness and softness of the various modern sciences according to Romanians economist Gheorghe Savoiu and physicist Ion Siman, in discussion with American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims, in followup discussion on the relative ranking of the sciences in respect to their UPESW 2013 talk on the new taxonomies of the sciences in respect to the emerging new econo-disciplines, such as econophysics and sociophysics: [1]

Savoiu ranking

Siman ranking

“To the extent that a field of inquiry succeeds in eliminating the personal equation, to that degree does it claim a place among the hierarchy of the scientific disciplines.”
Morris Zucker (1945), on scientific disciplines [2]

1a. PhysicsHard1. Quantum physics
1b. Particle physics

2. Nuclear physics2. Chemistry
3a. Astrophysics3. Particle physics
3b. Cosmology

4a. Chemistry
4. Cosmology
4b. Sociophysics

4c. Econophysics

5. Biology
5. Molecular biology
6. Molecular biology
6. Genetics
7. Organic biology
7. Environmental physics
8. Geology
8. Communications sciences
9. Climatology
9a. Mathematics

9b. Econophysics

9c. Sociophysics

10. Physiology
10. Quantum psychology
11. Sociology
11. Sociology
12. Psychology
12. Ecology
13. Ecology
13. Economics
14. Economics14a. Political sciences

14b. Robotics

15. Political sciences15. Religious sciences

One note we can discern from a comparison of the rankings is the lower position Siman, a physicist by training, assigns to the newer econophysics/sociophysics sciences, i.e. rank 9 (softer), as compared to Savoiu, an economist by training, who sees them at rank 4 (harder). This we can attribute to a clearly picture of the interdisciplinary subjects of the physicist over the economist, in that the physicist has a better grasp of the harder parts of the subject, and thus sees more clearly how the subjects are still relatively immature. We also see a higher ranking in hardness given by Siman to econophysics as compared to sociophysics, which seems about right given the number of articles, books, and conferences being devoted to econophysics as compared to sociophysics as of late.

1. (a) Savoiu, Gheorge and Siman, Ion. (2013). “Econo-sciences vs. Econo-disciplines” (Article pdf, 11-pgs) (PowerPoint ppt-pdf, 56-slides), talk delivered at the University of Pitesti Econophysics and Sociophysics Workshop (UPESW) / Exploratory Domains of Econophysics News (EDEN V). University of Pitesti, Pitesti, Romania, Jun 29.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2013). “Poll of Gheorghe Savoiu and Ion Siman on Soft vs. Hard Rankings of the Sciences”, conducted in person, Pitesti, Romania, Jun 30.
2. Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (pg. 630). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.

External links
‚óŹ Hard and soft sciences – Wikipedia.

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