Applied Sciences – The Definitive Guide to Getting Started

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The applied sciences take existing scientific knowledge from natural or formal science and develop practical applications. The applied science fields highlighted here include engineering, medicine, nursing, and veterinary science. This definitive guide provides sources for convenient, online supplementation of traditional courses or for self-learning through our educational articles, books, and courses.

Table of Contents

Most of us probably know that science has played a huge role in advancing society, but you may not know that it’s really applied science doing all the leg work in that advancement.

Pure science by itself is just a method of evaluating how the natural world behaves. It involves a series of steps for testing certain situations to confirm theories and gain knowledge, but it doesn’t really apply that knowledge in any helpful way. And that’s where the applied sciences come in.

An applied science is an area of study that utilizes existing scientific knowledge and schools of thought to develop practical applications. The applied sciences consist of engineering, medicine, nursing, and the veterinary sciences. If you’re working in these areas of research and development, you pull from pure science to create the objects, machines, tools, and other modern marvels around us. Fields in this sector of science literally apply concepts to bring us innovations.

For example, pure science brought us the concepts of germs and microorganisms. Applied science took that knowledge and used it to create medications and health procedures to keep people like you and I healthy. Pure science also revealed the wonder of electricity. But that knowledge wasn’t put to use until people figured out that electricity running through wires of conductive material can create and power complex machines.

As an admirer of science and an inhabitant of the modern world, I hope to share the beauty of the two in this article.

I will detail some more examples of various types of applied sciences in the sections below to help you fully grasp the topic and get involved.

What Are the Applied Sciences?

When you think about how science has helped modern society, you likely think about applied sciences—computers, medicine, machines, etc. And many of these are popular fields are that young people dream of getting degrees in.

But because some people think of these areas as synonymous with pure science, I will start with a brief summary of their differences.

Understanding Pure Science First

Whether you understand science to be a broad term, vague concept, or simply a foundational element in basic academics, you surely know that it is a unique and ever-growing field that requires constant research and attention.

The first thing I need to emphasize about science is that it is not just a body of knowledge. Rather, it is also a method that you can use to gain knowledge. This method, which you’ve probably heard of before, is called the scientific method.

The modern scientific method consists of testing an idea with evidence such that you can reproduce the results. For example, maybe I think that brown oranges have mold on the inside. That is my hypothesis, and I can test it by peeling multiple brown oranges to see if there is mold on the inside. If all or most of the brown oranges I peeled have mold inside, I can say that my hypothesis was correct. I think this is an overly simple example, but it is nonetheless a scientific method of testing an idea by finding repetitive evidence.

In more complicated areas than oranges, science and the scientific method allow us to build knowledge on top of knowledge. And because the results are based on repeated evidence, I can be confident that each layer is reliable.

Applying the Sciences

Applied sciences are similar in that they build upon theories in both thought and physical design. However, they also go beyond testing natural phenomena and dive into how those phenomena are useful for us.

Maybe I know that the mold in the previous oranges has potent medical properties. Thus, I can use my knowledge of the brown oranges to increase the orange-mold medication production in the pharmacy I own.

Therefore, the applied sciences open the door for numerous technological developments and other innovations.

Within the field of applied sciences there are several interpretations and extensions. On this site, applied sciences articles and books delve into four of the largest fields. We consider engineering, medicine, nursing, and veterinary sciences in our scope of exploration.

I will cover each of these topics in more detail and discuss reading options for them below.

Applied Sciences female scientist in a quantum optics lab

The Fruit of Applied Sciences’ Labors

One example I will detail of something made from scientific knowledge is technology.

Consider the smart phone you likely have close at hand. I always marvel at the scientific understanding of elements and materials that goes into creating the device. The battery utilizes knowledge about energy and transference in order to allow it to operate.

It also applies wave theory to make long-distance communication possible. Through studying radio waves and frequencies, scientists manufactured a device that can transform vocal sounds into electrical signals that are sent using radio waves in order to transmit data. This is a prime example of applied science.

Other items that come from applied sciences that you and I likely use on a daily basis include microwaves, medicine, clothing, computers, and cars.

Applied Sciences Group workers assemble a transformer in mechanical engineering

Engineering Applied Sciences

Whether you are thinking about aeronautics, chemical design, mechanical applications, electrical elements, or computer development, you are thinking about the world of engineers.

Engineering is a broad field encompassing schools of thought from physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and more. In this article I include various links to material that aims to educate you on a range of engineering specialties.

Popular fields include chemical, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering. I provide links to articles on all of these areas and more in the applied sciences category. But I should emphasize that those four are just the start of a very long list. Many other multidisciplinary fields exist which mix and match skills of these four with other subjects and niches. These include chemical, mechanical, electrical and civil design fields. Each category delves into the sciences and scientists who make important developments in the area.

Articles, Books, Courses, and More in Engineering Applied Sciences

If you’re looking to build a career or simply intrigued by the potential of earning a degree in the field, I hope to provide you with the means of understanding engineering. I will talk about various materials available here that all work to evaluate all interconnecting aspects of engineering.

For example, the applied sciences books here won’t just talk about the work engineers do or the things they create. 

Engineering might specifically deal with the process of applying new knowledge to improve or create new tools and structures in society. But, you also need a great deal of background knowledge in subjects like math and physics to succeed in engineering.

Some of the applied sciences books here cover these topics as foundational materials of engineering. However, these books are still specifically applicable to or even made for those studying engineering. For example, I recommend Notes on Diffy Qs for engineering students taking their first courses in the field. But I think other books, such as Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering, will cover engineering topics more directly. In general, I suggest maintaining broad foundations in the pure sciences to strengthen your skills in the applied sciences.

Applied Sciences Electrophoresis device in a genetics lab to decrypt the genetic code

Medical Applied Sciences

You will find that medicine, nursing, and veterinary science all share qualities of medical study and applications. Their differences lie in the types of patients and methods of practice. Medicine and nursing focus on human patients and improving the health of humans. Veterinary science, on the other hand, deals with animals.

Nursing, a practice in holistic care and science to help with that treatment, differs from general medicine in its methods.

Veterinary science also holds its own position in the applied sciences despite sharing many qualities with medical science and nursing.

These three fields share several key areas of research, particularly within biology, physiology, and anatomy, as well as methods for research. Nonetheless, they are separate in their goals and application, so I will cover them individually later on in this article.

Books and Educational Materials for Medicine and Veterinary Science

One of the overlapping areas of study here actually comes about partly from the use of animals in testing medicine: ethics. In our collection of applied sciences books, you will find Animals & Ethics 101. Through this book you will learn less about the scientific aspects of the veterinary field and more about thinking critically about the rights and treatment of animals. This is a topic that professionals in the field encounter daily, making it an important part of applied veterinary science.

Similarly, I recommend the book Public Health Ethics: Cases Spanning the Globe which looks more at ethics than science (but for humans). Through it you can explore sensitive but important topics such as obesity, vaccinations, and HIV and how they relate to issues like race, gender, religion, and more.

I also want to highlight some other more subject-specific books that stick to the scientific fundamentals and applications in the field. Books such as Anatomy and Physiology and Veterinary Epidemiology give you a look at some of the more basic concepts in human and animal medical areas, respectively.

I believe they are ideal for medical and veterinary study, or even for educators looking for material to help create lesson plans. Then, books such as Field Trials of Health Interventions: A Toolbox help you really delve into the applications part of applied science. It talks about how field trials help discover new methods of preventing and treating diseases. These methods include many tools such as vaccines and drugs that came from scientific study of medicine.

Books and Educational Materials for Nursing

With regards to nursing, scientific study and research are typically not the main focus. Nursing does involve these aspects, but they are part of the medical study and practice that nurses take part in which overlaps with general medical subjects.

Nursing-specific books are those which focus on what makes nursing stand apart from other medical professions. Thus, I include applied science books here to help you learn more about what it’s like to work as a nurse and which skills are best to become successful.

One such book is Nursing Care at the End of Life. This applied sciences book, and others like it, gives information and management skills for facing certain situations in nursing. It can help prepare students who are getting ready to work in nursing homes, or even help those already working as nurses. Books such as these can help you switch into certain fields within nursing, or just improve your current skills in the area.

Aerospace engineering pieces of aircraft machinery

Five Engineering Disciplines of the Applied Sciences

Aerospace Engineering

One of the greatest accomplishments in the last century was the great leap of mankind leaving the planet you and I call home. The moon landings awed the world, maybe even including you, if you’re old enough.

We have aerospace engineering to thank for those spacecraft, as well as aircraft that circle our skies. And even the younger generations who weren’t around for the original space craze have a growing interest in the science of creating those aircraft and spacecraft.

In fact, they’re talking about making the next great leap to our neighboring planet, Mars. I’m still waiting for those tickets to get on the market!

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Aerospace Engineering

If you find a particular sub-discipline of applied sciences interesting, it’s best to find reading material that focuses on it. Aerospace engineering is a fascinating field with fascinating characters, so you can find lots to read. Even if you’re not familiar with the math and science of the field, I recommend picking up Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance is a great idea. Elon Musk is just one of those people that captures the interest and imagination of many. But I wouldn’t just take my word for it; you can check out the rave reviews online for confirmation.

The Design and Engineering of Curiosity by Emily Wakdawalla is another book that I consider a good fit for normal people outside of classrooms. However, I would say it’s definitely heavier on the technicalities than Elon Musk. It goes deeper into the math and science of the Mars Rover mission, so it might be best for you to already have some familiarity with engineering topics. And for a complete academic experience, I recommend Aircraft Structures by David Peery. It is a classic reference text for structural theory.

While books are extremely valuable, I still highly encourage courses for serious learners. I believe they support more active learning that engages you by putting knowledge to use. For example, something like the Aerospace Engineering: Aircraft Fundamentals and Advanced Course on Udemy is tough to find anywhere else. There are also the Ultimate Simple Guide to Rocket Science and the Rocket Engineering and Interstellar Space Propulsion courses to make all your childhood dreams come true. Note that advanced courses will require some prerequisites, while simpler ones do not. Typically, you should at least be familiar with basic math and science.

Balloon with the words Chemical Engineering lit up in yellow lighting

Chemical Engineering

If you’re not just interested in the engineering of tall buildings and big machines, then chemical engineering might be for you. It looks at the materials and energy that make these things at a more detailed level.

You will learn about the chemistry and properties of materials to see how they work together and how to optimize results in various settings. This includes working with materials and technologies on nano scales, as well as scaling huge industrial processes involving chemicals, microorganisms, energy, and more.

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Chemical Engineering

If you’re just looking into chemical engineering, then I think the first of these books is probably for you. Balancing Act by Dr. Bradley Ridder makes sure students see past potential salary figures by using his own experience to outline all the different facets of studying and working in chemical engineering.

For more advanced material, I recommend Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics and Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering. They both get into the specifics of narrow fields in chemical engineering. Both are academic textbooks with quality educational material, and they are available to rent so you can keep costs down.

As for chemical engineering courses, I have a few Udemy links up my sleeve. Flash Distillation in Chemical & Process Engineering is a very highly rated course. It teaches modelling and operation of flash distillation units in chemical plants, thus requiring numerous prerequisites. For something at a lower level, I recommend Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering. It goes over unit operations regarding piping and fitting, dealing with fluids, and other common chemical processes. Then, for something in between, Aspen Plus – Basic Process Modeling might be a good fit. With it, you’ll learn about modelling basic chemical and industrial processes using Aspen Plus (Version 7 or up).

Civil engineering industrial development project tower

Civil Engineering

If you always went straight to building sets like Legos and Lincoln Logs as a kid, then civil engineering might be for you.

The field includes all forms of construction, design, and maintenance of structures. These include buildings, roads, bridges, dams, and more.

Because the range of structures is so large, you will also find a range of sub-disciplines. Sub-disciplines in civil engineering are based on the type of structures and their purpose. I mention some books below on these fields to provide you with an introduction.

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Civil Engineering

The Engineers’ Practical Databook is something that students and professionals of all levels can benefit from. I would recommend it if you are tight on time, money, or space, as it’s a fairly compact but highly useful item that comes with a very low price tag.

Principles and Practice of Ground Improvement takes it up a notch by getting into the details of how to adapt civil engineering projects to poor ground conditions. And for anyone studying to take the practice of engineering (PE) exam, I would say the Civil Engineering Reference Manual has you covered.

You can also find various online courses on civil engineering. I recommend starting off with something like Fundamentals of Structural Analysis. It requires no prior knowledge of the field, so you can just sit down and learn. It looks at methods and concepts in static structural analysis starting from the basics. Once you have the basics down, something like Mastering Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams can move you to the next level. Some courses, like Reinforced Concrete, even have multiple levels to help you move up and and up.

Applied sciences students in electrical engineering course training with teacher

Electrical Engineering

You surely know that the application of electricity is an major modern invention. It has even become critical for health and safety in many areas. Without it, large stores of food would go to waste, medications would become useless, and peoples’ homes can become unlivable due to cold.

As an electrical engineer, you apply science of creating, maintaining, and improving systems and objects that use electricity. Because of the widespread application of electricity, you can work in anything from huge power stations to tiny microchips.

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Electrical Engineering

To start, I suggest the book Mechatronics by William Bolton. It will really show you how electrical engineering works with various other types of engineering to produce many of the cool gadgets we know today (as well as more yet to come). I also recommend Fundamentals of Engineering and the Study Guide for Fundamentals of Engineering for focusing more on practicing the skills you need for passing exams. They contain helpful tips, full length practice exams, and solutions that I am sure will help boost your scores.

For even more engagement, courses like Electrical Power Engineering Principles can get you working on real problems in the field. It goes over all the basic principles and theories of electrical engineering, only requiring basic knowledge of math. I also want to link to the Complete Electric Circuits Course for Electrical Engineering for learners who still have little experience in the field, but have a specific interest in circuits. This course not only teaches the fundamentals, but also tests your new knowledge with dozens of examples. And finally, the course Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Explained crosses boundaries for the adventurous learner who wants it all.

Mechanical engineering inspector check pressure of gas booster compressor engine before startup Daily checklist with log sheet to record abnormal condition at offshore oil and gas

Mechanical Engineering

The word mechanical refers to the working parts of machines, or things that are produced by machines. Thus, mechanical engineering works with objects and machines that have moving parts.

This can include the factory machines, machines like cars, or the production of specialized objects like prosthetics that need to move while attached to the human body.

In all cases, electrical engineers consider the motion, force, and energy involved in the function of the object.

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Mechanical Engineering

The Machinery’s Handbook is a classic that has been around for over a hundred years as a popular reference work. I would count on it to help you cover topics in design, manufacturing, metalworking, and other basics of mechanical engineering. Basic Mechanical Engineering also covers core engineering material that’s useful to first year students.

For students looking to prepare for exams, I believe the Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam is a great choice. However, be careful to use the most recent version published in December of 2019. Previous editions do not support 2020 exams.

I can also suggest some online courses that can take your learning up a notch. Internal Combustion Engine Basics doesn’t require any prerequisite knowledge and goes over numerous important topics. It will get you familiar with the main components of different kinds of engines. Once you have this base to work off of, you might move on to something more specific. Diesel Engine Fundamentals I and II are great choices for getting very familiar with diesel engines. The first requires little experience and provides the perfect base for the second. These are all a great place to start especially if you’re considering getting into the automobile industry.

Medium shot of doctors analyzing cervical spine x-ray during a meeting

Applied Sciences of Medicine, Nursing, and Veterinary Science

Medicine

You have likely benefited from medicine throughout your life, and will continue to do so until death.

Although medicine has been around for thousands of years, the medicine you and I receive today is much different.

Modern medicine has changed the way (and amount of time) that we live all over the planet. It helps us figure out what’s wrong with our bodies, how to fix it, and how to prevent the same thing from happening again. Medicine today includes the application of various sciences such as genetics, anatomy, and biology.

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Medicine

Anyone in medicine knows that the vocabulary is endless. That’s why I have included The Language of Medicine here to help. It relates medical terms with their context in the field of medicine to help learners retain the terms better. For someone who already has the terminology down and is looking to specialize, I think something like the Handbook of Neurosurgery is a better choice.

For something a little different, I suggest checking out Medicine: The Definitive Illustrated History. It delves into the discipline’s story starting from ancient times using a vivid visual display. You will find that the images really help your imagination grasp the splendor of the journey medicine has gone through.

As anatomy is one of the biggest fundamental concepts in medicine, I recommend really getting a firm foothold in it. You can do this by checking out courses online like Easy Anatomy and Physiology which goes over important topics and terminology. There are even courses that specifically cover material that will help students improve their grades in academic classes. For a course that narrows down to a certain area, take a look at Cardiac Anatomy & Physiology. You will master your understanding of cardiac excitation and contraction and receive certification after completing the course.

Hospital Nurse With Digital Tablet Talks To Senior Patient

Nursing

As society advances, so too do our standards for healthcare. They no longer include purely keeping someone alive. Rather, medical settings should also consider the happiness and well-being of individuals. Nurses do just this by providing care to make patients comfortable, reduce their pain, and consider all parts of their life that may affect their health. This can involve applying sciences such as psychology, physiology, and nutrition, as well as those sciences that medical doctors employ.

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Nursing

The bestseller Nursing Care Plans makes sure you are familiar with the most common ailments that occur in adults. Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses then helps you be familiar with common medications and how to administer them.

Because some medications can be trickier than others, I have included Dosage Calculations for Nursing Students which helps you learn how to proportion the right amounts. I also recommend an online course on similar material: Dosage Calculations Mastery for Nursing & Pharmacy Students. It doesn’t rely on formula memorization and is especially useful for passing NCLEX or PTCB exams.

Students can also find help for school in general with other online courses. I suggest starting with the Nursing Student Support Program. It helps you get through topics like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and more. But if you’re aiming to improve your career options, something like the Occupational Therapy Introduction Certificate might be for you. It will get you familiar with what the career entails so you can decide if it’s a good fit.

Veterinarian treat the tiger in a zoo

Veterinary Sciences

If you have a soft spot for our furry, feathery, and scaly friends like I do, then you might want to look into veterinary sciences. Like medicine, this field applies various sciences like biology and chemistry. However, it focuses the applications on animals and improving their health.

There are as many fields of veterinary science as there are of general human medicine. But then multiply that number by many more species!

Highly Rated Books and Courses on Veterinary Sciences

If you have a pet, it’s always handy to be up to date on some basic care. The Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook provides information on common problems that dogs might experience. With its help, you can care for them as best you can.

If you want to expand professionally into animal care, then The Merck Veterinary Manual is a good place to start. It covers a wide range of diseases, medicines, and worldwide domesticated species. I then suggest following it up with the Introduction to Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology Workbook. The workbook helps information stick by using interesting and interactive exercises.

There are also various online courses that can help you gain veterinary skills. For example, Ozone Therapy – Most Needed Adjunct to Veterinary Medicine addresses an interesting approach to healing animals. The method is already used in human medicine, and proves useful for treating many ailments.

Other courses encourage hands-on learning as well as at-home care to prevent injuries and illness. Dog Training – Natural Remedies for Health & Dog Training helps you care for your own pets every day to prevent costly vet visits. And the Animal Reiki Practitioner Certification shows you how to use the Japanese technique of Reiki for helping animals.

Applied Sciences Frequency Asked Questions

Are you looking for some quick answers? The below questions are the ones we get most frequently, inspiring the topics above. You’ll find more detail in the above article, but I have provided the most important points below.

What subjects are included in the applied sciences?

The applied sciences cover engineering, medicine, nursing, and veterinary science. Within each of these are a number of sub-fields. Engineering sub-fields will specialize on designing and building things for specific purposes and applying certain sciences. Sub-fields in medicine, nursing, and veterinary science focus on different types of medicine and patients.

What does a degree in the applied sciences entail?

To learn how to apply science, you will first learn about science itself. This is why most applied sciences degrees start with a core curriculum of courses such as physics, biology, and chemistry. You will then learn how each of these sciences applies in your particular field. At an advanced level you will start practicing methods of application and perhaps doing your own research.

What is the difference between applied science and pure science?

Pure science looks at the natural world and how it functions while only considering truth and logic. It doesn’t care much about how these truths of the natural world can help humans and society, it just aims to discover how things work. Applied science, on the other hand, involves using the information gathered from pure science for practical applications that improve technology and society.

What jobs can you do with a degree in an applied science?

Because a degree in applied science is inherently useful, jobs in the field are very practical and in demand. Common professional titles include various types of engineer, doctor, nurse, and veterinarian. With a degree in applied science you can work in public, private, or government settings that usually pay very well.

Applied Sciences Happy dentist and head nurse standing at room and smiling

Conclusion – The Benefits of Applied Sciences Await

Applied sciences are really what take science to the next level and advance society throughout time. The field is full of discoveries waiting to be made, as well as careers in making them.

Now is the time to choose a field and get involved.

If you already have an interest in one of the applied sciences but aren’t involved academically or professionally yet, let us help you move forward.

Whatever the topic, the applied sciences books and articles here will add to your knowledge and skills. Students and educators will find plenty of material to help them through classes. For instance, many of the books include practice problems, especially in areas such as math and physics.

Professionals, too, can find material for staying up to date on current events in their field or gaining new skills. And the electronic format of the available books and articles means that they are ideal for anyone, anywhere. You can read them on various devices while avoiding paper books that contribute to deforestation and a cluttered home. So take a look through the selection of applied sciences readings. They’re sure to help you improve your grades, knowledge, and skills.

Did you already know about the differences between pure and applied sciences? Which of the applied sciences interest you most, and what’s your preferred method for learning about them?

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