What is science?

We can read the steps of the scientific method and know about conventions such as the peer review process but at its core what is science? I have been thinking about this question more and more recently. In trying to pin it down the definition seems to diffuse into a overly abstract statement that resembles something I dislike as a shortcut to thinking and refer to as "bumper sticker philosophy." It seems odd to phrase it this way but science is, in a way, about what works and what doesn't work, and understanding the reasons why what works and what doesn't work in a very rigorous way. Science, ideally, is a careful balance of keeping an open mind, embracing curiosity, taking details seriously, and reasoned agreement and disagreement with others. Then there is the real world human aspect of how science is or is not practiced. Statements such as "believing" in evolution or "believing" in climate change do not sit well in a scientific perspective. In current American English this implies faith in something... However, pointing this out can be misinterpreted and hijacked by people with non-scientific motivations.

At the risk of sounding like a kōan, I thought two famous historical case examples, one from physics and one from biology, that have interested me for different reasons, might provide more of an illustration of what science is then trying to nail down a precise verbal/text definition. However, this comes at the risk of people not being patient enough to read them. Perhaps therein lies part of the modern problem. If it doesn't fit into a snappy short phrase it never reaches most people. I've linked PDFs of the two examples below.

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