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When I first read "Earth Science" (singular), I assumed this was a site about geology. But the on-topic page specifically says there's multiple sciences represented here:

  • meteorology
  • geophysics
  • geology
  • climatology
  • oceanography
  • geochemistry
  • hydrology

And there's others that are unlisted, e.g. paleontology.

Question: Why "Earth Science" (singular) and not "Earth Sciences" (plural)?

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    $\begingroup$ In spanish it sounds weird in singular. I have also wondered that, but as my english is bad never asked. $\endgroup$
    – user18590
    Feb 23 '20 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ You might consider also asking a different but related question in English SE. Something about "X Science" vs. "X Sciences" perhaps, usage and differences if any. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 25 '20 at 5:16
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    $\begingroup$ It equally could be a linguistic question, too. With «earth science» as keyword in the English wikipedia, I briefly looked for the corresponding sites in other languages (Danish, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portoguese). It seems the «Roman languages» focus more on the plural «sciences», as do Polish and Russian, too. $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Feb 25 '20 at 21:28
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To my way of thinking, and people may disagree with me, I have no objections to that; earth science denotes science about the Earth as a whole (single entity). For me earth science is science of the planet.

The plural term, earth sciences, tends to focus on the individual sciences rather than on a unified science.

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    $\begingroup$ Like "peoples of Earth" (Germans, Kurds, Hmong, Cherokee, Kikuyu, etc.) versus "people of Earth" (the population of Earth as a unified whole)? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Feb 29 '20 at 19:04
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Good question. I ran a web search for "department of earth science" just to see how university departments are calling themselves.

Some use "Earth Science": Bergen, Dartmouth, Rice, Imperial, Western Cape.

More use "Earth Sciences": Cambridge, Macquarie, Oxford, Gothenburg, Hong Kong, Toronto, ETH, Utrecht, Durham, and many more because I stopped writing them. This with "science" as the search term.

So "Sciences" is more common than "Science" in university department names. Make of it what you wish.

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The "science" in "Earth Science" isn't singular in the first place; it's non-count. It's not referring to "a science", but to science. All of those things are science.

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Looks like we can use it as we like, maybe as suggested above the singular when referring to a certain aspect or discipline, the plural when using more common terms. Doesn't really matter.

What does matter is that the Geosciences are not limited to the 3rd planet of our solar system, as is also reflected in publications for example of the geophysical unions and journals like Nature Geoscience. The view is quite natural, because the same principles apply not only for Earth as it is today and as it was in the past, but also for the other rocky planets, specifically Mars as it is being visited and observed. Much work is based on the assumption of analogy and uniformity of the observed patterns with earthly counterparts, and this is a reasonable starting point as long as one is aware of the differences and how they may influence the interpretation of observations and the uncertainties they may introduce.

Truly a meta-discussion :-)

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