Science & Society (Edexcel A Level Physics)

Revision Note

Test Yourself
Katie M


Katie M



Science Informs Decision Making

  • Society makes decisions based on scientific evidence
    • This is why the evidence must be thoroughly tested and trusted
  • Scientific work leads to important discoveries that benefit humankind
    • For example, rigorous testing for medication means it is safe for consumption to treat the symptoms of an illness
  • These results are used by society to make decisions about how people live, eat, drive, work etc.
    • All sections of society use scientific evidence to make these decisions
    • This is mostly done by policy makers, politicians and government
  • Most individual making these decisions may not be scientists themselves, so they will be trusting the research to base their opinions on
    • Other factors can influence decisions about science or the way that it is used

Economic Factors

  • The economy is based on money and the cost of implementing these changes 
    • Not only can experiments be very expensive to run, but the cost of buying technology for healthcare or transport costs a lot of taxpayer money
  • Therefore, when research is expensive, the government must justify spending money on new equipment,
    • Such as a telescope, instead of other areas of society such as schools or healthcare
  • However, the long term benefits should also be considered
    • For example, reducing carbon emissions to limit the human contribution to climate change
    • In this case, the current human contribution to climate change will be provided from scientific research, as well as methods to reduce carbon emissions (e.g. solar power)

Social Factors

  • Social factors are considered for decisions that affect people's daily life
    • This could be how it affects the surrounding area when people live, such as noise pollution
  • These factors should take into account all members of society, whether they're young, old, disabled and for all genders
  • An example of this is scientific knowledge of a healthy lifestyle informing the choices we make
    • E.g. Cycling to work instead of driving in order to exercise and reduce carbon footprint

Environmental Factors

  • Environmental factors are taken into account for any decisions that could affect the environment
    • This is primarily plants and animals within the geography of an area
  • An example of this is wind farms
    • Although they are cheap and environmentally friendly (wind is a sustainable energy source) way to generate electricity, the turbines can harm birds and bats
    • This means another method of electricity production should be considered, to not cause harm to the environment 


Wind farms can be harmful to wildlife, which may mean they shouldn't be built in certain areas

You've read 0 of your 0 free revision notes

Get unlimited access

to absolutely everything:

  • Downloadable PDFs
  • Unlimited Revision Notes
  • Topic Questions
  • Past Papers
  • Model Answers
  • Videos (Maths and Science)

Join the 100,000+ Students that ❤️ Save My Exams

the (exam) results speak for themselves:

Did this page help you?

Katie M

Author: Katie M

Katie has always been passionate about the sciences, and completed a degree in Astrophysics at Sheffield University. She decided that she wanted to inspire other young people, so moved to Bristol to complete a PGCE in Secondary Science. She particularly loves creating fun and absorbing materials to help students achieve their exam potential.

Join over 500 thousand students
getting better grades