big science

noun, often capitalized B&S

Definition of big science

: large-scale scientific research consisting of projects funded usually by a national government or group of governments

Examples of big science in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In this age of big science, with fundamental physics generally tested in sprawling laboratories such as CERN and LIGO, maverick individuals who make a big difference through their spot-on hunches are an increasingly rare breed. Paul Halpern, Scientific American, 18 Aug. 2021 Though small, an Alka-Rocket is powered by big science. Scientific American, 19 Oct. 2017 Lander is known for his enthusiasm for big science projects and his healthy ego. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, 15 Jan. 2021 At Signorello, French decided to turn 2020 into one big science experiment. Esther Mobley,, 17 Oct. 2020 The idea that sequencing the whole human genome might provide biology with some big science of its own first began to take root in the 1980s. The Economist, 12 Mar. 2020 The reality is that big science requires big models. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, 13 Apr. 2020 But Greene’s own passion was math and science and then big science–the kind that seduces you with questions that both demand and defy answers, that can cross the line from science to something else entirely. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 20 Feb. 2020 Some experts also worry the huge cash injection could mean that big science projects in Germany and elsewhere will suffer. Edwin Cartlidge, Science | AAAS, 18 Dec. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'big science.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of big science

1914, in the meaning defined above

Buying Guide

Encourage future scientists with science kits selected by our Reviews team.

Learn More About big science

Time Traveler for big science

Time Traveler

The first known use of big science was in 1914

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near big science

Big Sandy

big science


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for big science

Cite this Entry

“Big science.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on big science Encyclopedia article about big science


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!