Science in the United States

Science Definition

Science signifies knowledge, the knowledge of many. It springs from the recognition of the existence of general truths or laws, to which the relation of things and their operation upon each other conform. These laws or truths ascertained by the investigation of men devoted to particular departments of inquiry, methodically digested and arranged so as to be attainable, constitute science. 3 Bosworth (N. Y.) 13. It is not synonymous with “art”. Eg., Rifle shooting, though it may be an art, is not a science. Fletcher Encyclopedia Corporations 241. (1)

There are related meanings of Science in the legal Dictionaries.

Science, Technology, and the Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, the United States Constitution’s only reference to science occurs in Article I, section 8, which grants, among other congresional powers, the authority to “promote Science and useful Arts” by establishing nationwide protection of patents and copyrights.

Executive Order 13539

Executive Order in relation with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (April 21, 2010):

“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish an advisory council on science,
technology, and innovation, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is hereby established. The PCAST shall be composed of not more than 21 members, one of whom shall be the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology (the “Science Advisor”), and 20 of whom shall include distinguished individuals and representatives from sectors outside of the Federal Government appointed by the President. These nonfederal members shall have diverse perspectives and expertise in science, technology, and innovation. The Science Advisor shall serve as a Co-Chair of the PCAST. The President shall also designate at least one, but not more than two, of the nonfederal members to serve as a Co-Chair of the PCAST with the Science Advisor.

Sec. 2. Functions. (a) The PCAST shall advise the President, directly at its meetings with the President and also through the Science Advisor, on matters involving science, technology, and innovation policy. This advice shall include, but not be limited to, policy that affects science, technology, and innovation, as well as scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, and other topics. The PCAST shall meet regularly and shall:

(i) respond to requests from the President or the Science Advisor for information, analysis, evaluation, or advice;

(ii) solicit information and ideas from the broad range of stakeholders, including but not limited to the research community, the private sector, universities, national laboratories, State and local governments, foundations, and nonprofit organizations;

(iii) serve as the advisory committee identified in subsections 101(b) and 103(b) of the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-194), as amended (15 U.S.C. 5511(b) and 5513(b)). In performing the functions of such advisory committee, the PCAST shall be known as the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee; and

(iv) serve as the advisory panel identified in section 4 of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (15 U.S.C. 7503) (21st Century
Act). In performing the functions of such advisory committee, the PCAST shall be known as the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel. Nothing in this
order shall be construed to require the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel to comply with any requirement from which it is exempted by section 4(f)
of the 21st Century Act.

(b) The PCAST shall provide advice from the nonfederal sector to the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) in response to requests from the NSTC.

Sec. 3. Administration. (a) The heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide the PCAST with information concerning scientific and technological matters when requested by the PCAST Co-Chairs and as required for the purpose of carrying out the PCAST’s functions.

(b) In consultation with the Science Advisor, the PCAST is authorized to create standing subcommittees and ad hoc groups, including, but not limited to, technical advisory groups to assist the PCAST and provide preliminary information directly to the PCAST.

(c) So that the PCAST may provide advice and analysis regarding classified matters, the Science Advisor may request that members of the PCAST, its standing subcommittees, or ad hoc groups who do not hold a current clearance for access to classified information, receive security clearance and access determinations pursuant to Executive Order 12968 of August 2, 1995, as amended, or any successor order.

(d) The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) shall provide such funding and administrative and technical support as the PCAST may require.

(e) Members of the PCAST shall serve without any compensation for their work on the PCAST, but may receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law for persons serving intermittently in the government service (5 U.S.C. 5701-5707).

Sec. 4. Termination. The PCAST shall terminate 2 years from the date of this order unless extended by the President.”

Science in the Criminal Justice System

This section covers the topics below related with Science:


Finding the law: Science in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to science, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines science topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.



This definition of Science is based on The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary.

See Also

  • Technology