What we now loosely call science -- meaning the physical sciences -- was
until the mid-nineteenth century referred to under the rubric of
"natural philosophy." The long-lived journal of the Royal Society, begun under Charles II in 1660 and
still the principal avenue for publishing scientific discoveries in English
during Mary Shelley's day, was called Philosophical Transactions.
Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in the heyday of British
chemistry, and it is this branch of natural philosophy that is most
implicated in Victor's education and obsessiveness.