Natural Science Education

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Natural Science Education


the preparation of specialists in the natural sciences: biology, geology, geography, physics, astronomy, chemistry, and mathematics.

The explanation of natural phenomena and knowledge of the basic laws of nature make possible the most effective application of those laws in the interests of developing modern society and forming a materialist world-view. There are two types of natural science education: general and special. A systematic study of the bases of the natural sciences and some of the most general laws of nature is undertaken in general secondary schools, starting with the youngest classes. This study of the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, and geography gives students a general idea of the various forms of the motion of matter and the laws of natural development. This general education is given to all students in professional and technical schools, specialized secondary schools, and higher educational institutions, regardless of the students’ area of specialization.

Specialized natural science education—the preparation of specialists in the natural sciences for work in various branches of economics, science, or education—is offered in higher and secondary specialized educational institutions of pedagogy, agriculture, medicine, geological prospecting, engineering, and technology, as well as in universities but it is the latter that are the main centers of training in the natural sciences.

During a period of rapid development in the scientific and technological revolution, when science is becoming a direct productive force in society, education in the natural sciences takes on special relevance. The scientific and technical revolution is accompanied by rapid development in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and astronomy, as well as in the many branches of the biological sciences. Especially great strides are being made in such branches of biology as biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology, virology, genetics, and histology, making possible an understanding of the life processes on the cellular, subcellular, and molecular levels. Specialists trained in microbiology, mycology, genetics, and biochemistry can, with the aid of engineers, technologists, and chemists, produce a whole series of biological syntheses that could not be achieved by chemical means alone, such as the biosynthesis of antibiotics, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, amino acids, and other biologically active compounds. The advances of contemporary physics, chemistry, and biology are linked with the rapid development of mathematics and its application to these sciences. At the same time, the development of the natural sciences makes possible further rapid progress in science and technology. During this period of interpenetration by the various natural sciences, new, more rapidly developing directions for research emerge at their points of contact.

Natural science education is closely associated with education in the humanities and with technical education and provides the general theoretical basis for many specialties.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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