The sciences division was the corps of officers and crewmen within Starfleet who specialized in both scientific and medical research and control functions on starbases, aboard starships, and at Starfleet Command.
Officers within this division were mostly limited to scientific or medical assignments such as doctors, nurses, and scientists working in a variety of disciplines. These officers served as department heads such as chief medical officers and head science officers. Opportunities for command assignments were somewhat limited for these officers due to their lack of overall command experience and training. However, officers who had taken and passed the Bridge Officer's Test could be promoted in rank to commander and were certified to command a starship, if necessary. In most instances, however, science division officers would only take command of a ship or starbase in the absence of other senior officers due to circumstances such as an emergency, illness of a commanding officer, or manpower shortages as may have occurred in wartime, for example. Additionally, these officers could fill the role of executive officer where needed. Jadzia Dax, for instance, took over as XO and then commander of the USS Defiant during the Dominion War when the situation required it. (TNG: "Tapestry", "Lessons", "Thine Own Self"; DS9: "Behind the Lines")
Officers who belonged to the sciences division sometimes wore the division color of a department other than that in which they specialized. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "The Conscience of the King") For example, if a science officer became a department head, they might have worn the colors of command division, or if they had a dual specialty in an operations division department, an alternate color might have been worn. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Mudd's Women", "Charlie X", "The Naked Time")
Beginning with the Earth Starfleet of the 2140s and 2150s, line officers and noncoms of science division wore blue-division stripes on their uniforms. This use of blue continued through several uniform styles until the 2260s. On starships, such as the USS Enterprise, science-division crewmembers had a specialty insignia in their insignia patch, a circle with two longitudinal lines dividing it.
By the 2270s, new uniforms showed different division colors, with the sciences division signified by two differing colors. Science-research and technical staff wore orange behind their Starfleet badge, on uniform bands, accessories, and epaulets. Medical crew wore green badge backings and accessories.
The sciences division was changed again with the 2280s uniforms, with green continuing to represent medical personnel, but science and technical staff now wore gray colors (which was a style shared by services personnel of operations division). The insignia used gave the officer the option of wearing command-division, white-uniform insignia, with another department color like sciences' banded across, or the opposite, with department-color insignia (green or grey, in this case) with command-white banded across.
On the uniforms used from 2350s onward, blue had again become the sciences division color.
The second variant of the 2371 uniform, while still referred to as blue, was actually a shade of green, jungle green. The color was later applied to the 2373 uniforms as well. The uniform variants used in the 2380s and 2390s returned to a true blue for sciences division.
|Starfleet uniform sciences division colors:|
|2140s-Early 2160s||Mid 2160s||2230s||Late 2230s-2250s|
|2250s-Early 2270s||Mid 2270s||Late 2270s-2350s||2350s-2370s|
R&D and Technical
R&D and Technical
|Late 2360s-Early 2370s||2370s||Early 2380s||Mid 2380s||2390s|
Science division officers
During Star Trek: The Original Series, sciences blue first appeared in "The Cage" and was regularly worn by the science station officers, medical personnel, and security personnel who later wore red after 2265. (TOS: "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before") Science Officer Spock wore sciences blue, although he briefly wore command gold for his dual position as executive officer. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before") Some scientists (like astrobiologist Ann Mulhall and historian Marla McGivers) even wore operations red, suggesting they had more operational primary duties. The work coveralls were muted variations in the pilots from the duty uniforms and were light blue in color. Later they matched the blue of the standard duty uniform.
Apparently officers with degrees of scientific or technical training held positions in other departments than just science and medical. Extra characters in blue uniforms were often seen occupying posts normally occupied by command or operations division personnel, up to and including captaincy. One notable example is Hoshi Sato who performed the role of an operations communications officer, while wearing the department color of a exolinguist.
In the movie era, Star Trek: The Motion Picture featured Spock wearing orange bands and McCoy wearing green. By the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan uniforms, McCoy continued to wear green, but science officers wore grey, according to schemes and insignia of the later movie-era uniforms by Robert Fletcher.
The decision to switch the meaning of the colors for command and ops divisions between the TOS and Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform styles was made in pre-production of "Encounter at Farpoint". However, the TOS blue was kept as the sciences division color.
Most often, in the Federation Starfleet, all captains and admirals wore command division colors; however there were exceptions, which proves that this was not a requirement. In TOS, Captain Krasnovsky wore a science blue dress uniform, the only captain in Trek to ever do so.