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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    developments in science vs. developments of science

    What is the difference between "modern developments in science" and "modern developments of science"? If it turns out to be an elusive nuance that is hard to tell, please let me know and I will search more about it.

    Ngram shows that that is a very interesting phenomenon: before 1925 (down to 1840), "developments of science" was more widely used than "developments in science". 1925 was a departing point from which the latter saw an abrupt rise in use; in 1960 it reached its peak and then went down but it remains much more commonly used than the former to this day. I don't know why and perhaps you native English speakers can still sense its refershing air in the leading role.

    Ngram screenshot: Click image for larger version. 

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    The two lines below are especially impressive to me and I remembered them today to find that I wrote "developments of science" rather than "developments in sciece", hence the thread.
    ======================
    Tranditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics.

    -The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    I don't have any reason to believe there is any difference in meaning between the two phrases. One is preferred over the other. That's all.
    Not a professional teacher

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    #3

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    I don't think I have heard of "developments of science" being used. It is always "developments in (the field of) science" like other fields of studies. "Developments of" seems to be used in more specific subjects in a field, e.g. developments of Covid-19 vaccine/AI/5G technology, etc.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    What is the difference between "modern developments in science" and "modern developments of science"?
    The difference is in meaning. This is shown very clearly by the two different prepositions.

    If it turns out to be an elusive nuance that is hard to tell, please let me know and I will search more about it.
    I don't really understand what you mean.

    Ngram shows that that is a very interesting phenomenon: before 1925 (down to 1840), "developments of science" was more widely used than "developments in science". 1925 was a departing point from which the latter saw an abrupt rise in use; in 1960 it reached its peak and then went down but it remains much more commonly used than the former to this day. I don't know why and perhaps you native English speakers can still sense its refershing air in the leading role.
    Forget about ngram data. This is not going to help. Remember that ngrams tell you nothing about meaning.

    You should approach this by looking at the use of the preposition in when used in conjunction with the idea of academic fields. In other words, with the phrase in science, you should conceive of science as a field/area (a conceptual space) in which developments happen.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    I don't think I have heard of "developments of science" being used. It is always "developments in (the field of) science" like other fields of studies.
    Well, not always. There are also contexts where only of could work.

    "Developments of" seems to be used in more specific subjects in a field, e.g. developments of Covid-19 vaccine/AI/5G technology, etc.
    That's just one of many possible uses, yes.

    Can we be clear about the question here, GoodTaste? Are you talking about modern developments of/in science or just developments of/in science? (There are important differences.) I assume it's the latter.

  6. Key Member
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    #6

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Can we be clear about the question here, GoodTaste? Are you talking about modern developments of/in science or just developments of/in science? (There are important differences.) I assume it's the latter.
    Both are in question.

  7. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    Both are in question.
    Either way, I'd use in.

    Using of would be grammatical but not natural.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: developments in science vs. developments of science

    You could avoid having to make a decision by saying "scientific developments".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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