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Science (科学 Kagaku?) is a general term used to refer to any entity, like persons or technology, that has roots in science and scientific knowledge. Science dwells primarily in rational thinking and the study of the natural world, but also extends to the applications of advances in technology in a number of fields. Academy City, for example, is well-known for its Power Curriculum Program which allows normal people to develop supernatural abilities.
In Toaru Majutsu no Index, the term is frequently used to refer to Academy City and its affiliates, and is interchangeable with the term Science Side (科学サイド Kagaku saido?) as a contrast to the realm of magic, which is also called Magic Side.
The history of contemporary science in general can be traced to thousands of years back, to when major civilizations, from the Middle East and Mesopotamia to Greece and the Roman Empire, formulate their own theories on various disciplines. However, it was during the Renaissance period, with the Copernican Revolution ushering the scientific revolution, that modern science as we know it flourished, allowing further development of the different branches of study.
During the latter half of the 20th century, a man named Aleister Crowley, himself a magician who fled from the realm of magic, and with the help of the man who saved his life, a doctor named Heaven Canceller, established an independent territory within the island country of Japan. This territory, later to be known as Academy City, gradually became the world's forerunner in scientific research, creating technologies 30 years ahead of its time.
Science primarily works through experimentation and observing various phenomena to obtain desired results. This practice is widespread throughout the world, but starts in an earlier age in Academy City, where students who study in specialized academic institutions are able to develop and present their research together with teachers and older members of the academy. Nunotaba Shinobu is one such case as the developer of the Testament machines at a young age.
Most of the time, the methods used in scientific research conform to standards in practice at the present. There are experiments, however, which tread on the rules of ethics in scientific practice like cloning (see Sisters Project and Chemicaloid Project) and human experimentation (see Dark May Project). Regardless, most of these projects are approved and even funded by Academy City, allowing partial or full access to facilities like the supercomputer Tree Diagram to hasten its progress if deemed necessary. On the other hand, even if a project receives a lack of support from Academy City, resources are still within reach, although the options to acquire these resource often involve shady tactics like hostile takeovers or using the influence of persons of authority. This condoning of inhuman and immoral practices creates a culture of laxity towards this issue amongst the entire academe, causing most scientists to develop an inhumane outlook on any living things as long as it is needed in an experiment.
In spite of the issues with unethical standards among the scientific community, science remains positively accepted in human society due to its aid in the development of various aspects of the world, as do in Academy City, where a majority are left uninformed of the more sinister workings of science in general.
One unique aspect of science is its focus on developing psychic abilities, which aims to replicate the existence of people born with supernatural abilities called Gemstones through various methods. These abilities are one of the most prominent features of the Science side and is often used to identify members of the Science side the same way magicians represent the Magic side.
Academy City is one of the very few entities which are successful in this field, and it later created the Power Curriculum Program to integrate psychic ability development into the standard academic curriculum. This program, combined with the exposure of students to various medical and non-medical procedures, aims to unlock a person's potential in using supernatural abilities, and is usually the first step in becoming an esper. Academy City itself is largely composed of students, and those who have undergone the Power Curriculum Program are classified based on their Level, from 0 to 5.
The Power Curriculum Program is centered on various concepts, some of which explain the origins and effects of esper abilities. Both Personal Reality and quantum mechanics explain how espers can cause changes based on one's will, like creating a flame from nothing (Pyrokinesis) or traveling from one place to another instantaneously (Teleport). Espers who develop their Personal Reality manifest a field of energy around them called An Involuntary Movement (AIM), which is often used to identify that esper's Personal Reality and in research involving the interactions of AIM between espers.
Other countries such as the United States and the Soviet Union have tried and failed to create their own espers. Because of the desire to create their own espers, some of the countries and other factions lacking knowledge in how to create espers have resorted to kidnapping Gemstones in order to find out how espers can be made and in turn create their own. According to Kumokawa Seria, however, even if these organizations acquired a gemstone and experimented on them, they would still be unable to create their own espers.
In the current year of the timeline, Academy City is not only still the only place that can make espers but has all the Gemstones of the world as well after rescuing them. This is the reason aspiring students (such as Saten Ruiko) go to the city for the purpose of gaining these esper powers.
Science-based organizations in Academy City consist of groups that may or may not be involved with espers or esper development. Most of these organizations specialize in scientific research, with only a few that deal with psychic abilities. There are also organizations that are known to few, engaging in inhuman acts like human experimentation and assassinations. These organizations are often gathered under one term, the Dark Side of Academy City, and often move in secret.