Thousands of years ago people studied the stars and planets; hence Astrology and Astronomy. Many learned and thoughtful people sought to find out how things "worked".The study of Nature, herbs, plants, animals in the wild, was done by people who wanted to know such things as the healing properties of plants; or even if there were any! These were mainly women who had the "time" whilst looking after the home and children; they were "the gatherers". And it was the women who found out a great deal about the healing properties of Plants.They became known as the wise ones. Men, who also wanted to "know", tried different things, and learnt by trial and error. Eventually they became known as Alchemists, "experimenters".
Over centuries, Mankind attained much knowledge of how the World (and the Universe) works. Some by the careful study of Nature, witchcraft. Others by the study of science,Alchemists. Both were condemned by the ignorant. But just about all of modern society is the result of these people who thought deeply about the things around them. I will give you two examples before I leave the thread to others for comment.
Witchcraft. In ancient times a witch would make an "ointment", with herbs and flowers (perfume) and one in particular by boiling oil until it reduced into a paste. That paste is still used today, and is a by-product of refining crude oil into petrol (gasoline). The paste is petroleum jelly. Vaseline!
Alchemy. One of the greatest Alchemists in history was Isaac Newton. He did a lot more than just discover gravity! He was the first person to find that sunlight contained all colour. He did some fantastic experiments with light, and with lenses.The modern optician is extremely grateful for the work of Newton;to say nothing of how a solar panel gets energy from the sun!