How does technology differ from science? 

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both science and technology are used interchangeably.  They are strongly linked to one another, but are fundamentally different.  Science is the theoretical base that enables technology to take flight.  Technology becomes the practical applications of science.  Consider Webster's definition of technology:  "Technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them."  Such an understanding displays how science is fundamentally different from technology as it gives birth to it.

The practicality that defines technology is what makes it fundamentally different from science.  The idea of "tools, machines" or "utensils" helps to bring out the applicability of technology with which science is not necessarily concerned. Science is defined as "is the reasoned investigation or study of phenomena, aimed at discovering enduring principles among elements of the phenomenal world by employing formal techniques such as the scientific method."  This investigatory and theoretical aspect that is highlighted in "enduring principle" discovery and "formal techniques such as the scientific method" differentiates science from technology.  There is a "real world" application element that defines technology which is not as present in the scientific reasoning process.

Technology is a form of "applied science." It is viewed as “the practical applications of science.”  American engineer Vannevar Bush suggested that one of the basic elements of the relationship between science and technology is how the former gives birth to the latter:  "New products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions to knowledge of the laws of nature ... This essential new knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research." The fruit of scientific labor is technology.  It is in this light where science and technology are fundamentally different.  The realm of technology is geared towards real world application and execution.  It takes science out of the laboratory and places it in the real world context.  This differentiation is critical to understanding the premises of both. 

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Science is basically the knowledge, while technology is the tools and application of that knowledge.  If this was an English class, science would be more of an abstract noun, but technology would be more closely related to a concrete noun.  

CaitlynnReeves | Student

It seems to me that technology is a subheading beneath science. Technology is a broad term used for electronics, machinery, and the study thereof. It is a slightly smaller umbrella as oposed to science which also contains life sciences and the study of living organisms. Technology generally does not encompas anything living. 

rachellopez | Student

The main difference between technology and science is technology is a machine while science is done by the minds of people.

When you think of science you think of people in labs doing experiments, using equations, procedures, and chemicals. When you think of technology you would think of computers, phones, and hi-tech machines.

However, technology is used by scientists as a tool for discovery. Technology can help scientists predict chemical reactions, weather, medicine and cures for diseases, etc. Without technology we wouldn't be as advanced in science and medicine as we are today. 

steamgirl | Student

Science is the theory behind the technology that employs it. For example, the principle of conservation of mass/ energy is a scientific phenomenon, it can be calculated and intellectually understood. Engines, such as the internal combustion engine, use this scientific theory to produce energy from the change of state in water when boiled. So technology depends on scientific principles to function, but science relies on test, such as these technological advancements, to prove it's legitimacy. If a theory cannot be closely proven or supported in the real life, then the science behind it might be faulty.

ssarfraz | Student

What is Science?

Science involves more than the gaining of knowledge. It is the systematic and organized inquiry into the natural world and its phenomena. Science is about gaining a deeper and often useful understanding of the world.

What is the Purpose of Science?

Perhaps the most general description is that the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality. We use observation of natural phenomena and controlled experiments that simulate natural processes to justify science and its theories.

There are many and many different possible fields of study within science such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Earth science. Each one of the fields consists of a large number of fields of study.

For example: Biology consists of the study of Anatomy, Genetics, Microbiology and many more fields. Earth Science consist of Astronomy, Oceanography, Meteorology and Geology. Many of the fields also worked together like Astrobiology. Which is a field consisting or Astronomers that study the possibilities of Biological life outside the Earth.

Technology for science teaching is classified into three categories:

  • Technology that is unrelated to science but is used in the service of science. Word processing, spreadsheets, or graphic software fall into this category.
  • Technology designed for teaching and learning science. Programs like Model-It, Virtual Frog, Cooties, BIOKids, and WISE have been developed specifically for K-12 science.
  • Technology designed and used to do science. This includes instruments such as microscopes, remote (web-based) telescopes, CBL proves, and scientific calculators

Technology and Science are Interrelated

An important idea to note is how solving problems with either science or technology is very similar. If solving problems is this similar it is only natural these two skills would work well together in teaching. Technology is used to solve problems in the same way science was which is why these two concepts fit nicely together and are used in the classroom and in our everyday lives. The pedagogy (PK) of teaching science leads itself to using technology. Teachers only need to find ways to integrate these shared procedures into their content (CK).

Differences between Science and Technology

The words science and technology can and often are used interchangeably. But the goal of science is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake while the goal of technology is to create products that solve problems and improve human life. Simply put, technology is the practical application of science.

What the Expert Says:

The two are related and are very intertwined in our modern world, but they are also distinct in terms of their goals. The goal of science is to understand the natural world, hence the highest aim is to create theories (a theory explains). The goal of technology is to solve problems; hence the aim is to create solutions. I hope this helps.
Michael L. Bentley, EdD, Expert Panelist


  • Science

Science from the Latin scientia (knowledge) is a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

  • Technology

Technology is a term with origins in the Greek "technologia", "τεχνολογία" — "techne", "τέχνη" ("craft") and "logia", "λογία" ("saying"). Technology generally is the application of scientific knowledge to solve man's problems.


  • Science

Science as defined here is sometimes termed pure science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of scientific research to specific human needs.

  • Technology

Technology is a broad concept that deals with a species' usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species' ability to control and adapt to its environment.

"Technology" can refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines, hardware or utensils, but can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include "construction technology", "medical technology", or "state-of-the-art technology".


  • Science

Science investigates and come to a conclusion about any phenomena or existence or cause of happening and then brings to the knowledge of the human being about his findings and the truth behind it.

  • Technology

Technology utilizes the findings to the use of the general public and people starts using it in practice. So Technology translates and facilitates the findings of Science and presents to the general public.

Major Concepts

  • Science

Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.

The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system. Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it.

  • Technology

Technology is a body of knowledge used to create tools, develop skills, and extract or collect materials. It is also the application of science (the combination of the scientific method and material) to meet an objective or solve a problem. Scale is a way to represent the relationship between the actual size of an object and how that size is characterized, either numerically or visually.

Purpose/ Motto

  • Science

Science is knowing.

  • Technology

Technology is doing.


  • Science

The search for and theorizing about cause.

  • Technology

The search for and theorizing about new processes.

Result Relevance

  • Science

Making virtually value-free statements.

  • Technology

Activities always value-laden.

Procedure/ Evaluation Methods

  • Science

Analysis, generalization and creation of theories.

  • Technology

Analysis and synthesis of design


  • Science

Focuses on understanding natural phenomena

  • Technology

Focuses on understanding the made environment

Goals Achieved Through

  • Science

Corresponding Scientific Processes

  • Technology

Key Technological Processes

Development Methods

  • Science

Discovery (controlled by experimentation)

  • Technology

Design, invention, production

Most observed Quality

  • Science

Drawing correct conclusions based on good theories and accurate data.

  • Technology

Taking good decisions based on incomplete data and approximate models.

Skills needed to excel

  • Science

Experimental and logical skills needed.

  • Technology

Design, construction, testing, planning, quality assurance, problem solving, decision making, interpersonal and communication skills.


  • Science

Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines:

  1. Natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life),
  2. Social sciences, which study human behavior and societies.
  • Technology

Technology In human society, it is a consequence of science and engineering, although several technological advances predate the two concepts.

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