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Natural science is a
branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who spe ...
of
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

science
concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of
natural phenomena Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and ...
, based on
empirical evidence Empirical evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is s ...
from
observation Observation is the active acquisition of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. Th ...

observation
and
experimentation File:Mirror baby.jpg, 160px, Even very young children perform rudimentary experiments to learn about the world and how things work. An experiment is a procedure carried out to support or refute a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy or likeliho ...
. Mechanisms such as
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant . Peer review methods ar ...
and repeatability of findings are used to try to ensure the validity of scientific advances. Natural science can be divided into two main branches:
life science Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, a ...
and
physical science Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies abiotic component, non-living systems, in contrast to life science. It in turn has many branches, each referred to as a "physical science", together called the "physical sciences". D ...
. Life science is alternatively known as
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, and physical science is subdivided into branches:
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
,
chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a with other . ...

chemistry
,
earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Ta ...
, and
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
. These branches of natural science may be further divided into more specialized branches (also known as fields). As empirical sciences, natural sciences use tools from the
formal science Formal science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable ...
s, such as mathematics and logic, converting information about nature into measurements which can be explained as clear statements of the " laws of nature". Modern natural science succeeded more classical approaches to
natural philosophy Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from ''philosophia naturalis'') was the study of and the physical that was dominant before the development of . From the ancient world, at least since , to the 19th century, ''natural philosophy' ...
, usually traced to
Taoists Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of China, Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, Taoism#Spelling and pronunciation, or ''Dao''). In Taoism, the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern a ...
traditions in Asia and in the Occident to
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
.
Galileo Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( , ; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific qu ...

Galileo
,
Descartes
Descartes
,
Bacon Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork Pork is the culinary name for the meat of a domestic pig The domestic pig (''Sus scrofa domesticus'' or only ''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or simply pig when there is no need to dis ...

Bacon
, and
Newton Newton most commonly refers to: * Isaac Newton (1642–1726/1727), English scientist * Newton (unit), SI unit of force named after Isaac Newton Newton may also refer to: Arts and entertainment * Newton (film), ''Newton'' (film), a 2017 Indian fil ...

Newton
debated the benefits of using approaches which were more
mathematical Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
and more experimental in a methodical way. Still, philosophical perspectives,
conjecture In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no ge ...
s, and
presupposition In the branch of linguistics known as pragmatics In linguistics and related fields, pragmatics is the study of how context (language use), context contributes to meaning. The field of study evaluates how human language is utilized in social int ...
s, often overlooked, remain necessary in natural science. Systematic data collection, including
discovery science Discovery science (also known as discovery-based science) is a scientific method The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th ...

discovery science
, succeeded
natural history Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history ...

natural history
, which emerged in the 16th century by describing and classifying plants, animals, minerals, and so on. Today, "natural history" suggests observational descriptions aimed at popular audiences.


Criteria

Philosophers of science have suggested several criteria, including
Karl Popper Sir Karl Raimund Popper (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) was an Austrian-British , and . One of the 20th century's most influential , Popper is known for his rejection of the classical views on the in favour of . According to Popper, a ...

Karl Popper
's controversial
falsifiability Falsifiability is a standard of evaluation of scientific theories and hypotheses that was introduced by the philosopher of science Karl Popper in his book The Logic of Scientific Discovery, ''Logik der Forschung'' (1934). He proposed it as the ...
criterion, to help them differentiate scientific endeavors from non-scientific ones. Validity,
accuracy In a set of measurements, accuracy is closeness of the measurements to a specific value, while precision is the closeness of the measurements to each other. ''Accuracy'' has two definitions: # More commonly, it is a description of ''systematic err ...

accuracy
, and
quality control Quality control (QC) is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. ISO 9000 The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems A quality management system (QMS) is a collection of business process ...

quality control
, such as
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant . Peer review methods ar ...
and repeatability of findings, are amongst the most respected criteria in today's global scientific community. In natural science, impossibility assertions come to be widely accepted as overwhelmingly probable rather than considered proved to the point of being unchallengeable. The basis for this strong acceptance is a combination of extensive evidence of something not occurring, combined with an underlying theory, very successful in making predictions, whose assumptions lead logically to the conclusion that something is impossible. While an impossibility assertion in natural science can never be absolutely proved, it could be refuted by the observation of a single counterexample. Such a counterexample would require that the assumptions underlying the theory that implied the impossibility be re-examined.


Branches of natural science


Biology

This field encompasses a diverse set of disciplines that examines phenomena related to living organisms. The scale of study can range from sub-component
biophysics uses protein domain dynamics on nanoscale Image:Protein translation.gif, 300px, A ribosome is a biological machine that utilizes nanoscale protein dynamics The nanoscopic scale (or nanoscale) usually refers to structures with a length scale ...
up to complex
ecologies Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics of interest include the biodiversity, di ...
. Biology is concerned with the characteristics,
classification Classification is a process related to categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the world (such as Object (philosophy), objects, eve ...

classification
and
behaviors Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is the Action (philosophy), actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems or Arti ...
of
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological me ...

organism
s, as well as how
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
were formed and their interactions with each other and the
environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism or ...
. The biological fields of
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
,
zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is usually regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical stru ...
, and
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
date back to early periods of civilization, while
microbiology Microbiology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

microbiology
was introduced in the 17th century with the invention of the microscope. However, it was not until the 19th century that biology became a unified science. Once scientists discovered commonalities between all living things, it was decided they were best studied as a whole. Some key developments in biology were the discovery of
genetics Genetics is a branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, ...

genetics
;
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
through
natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype right , Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrated, using a Punnett square, for the character of peta ...
; the
germ theory of disease The germ theory of disease is the currently accepted scientific theory A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world and universe that has been repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method ...
and the application of the techniques of
chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a with other . ...

chemistry
and
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...
at the level of the cell or
organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, catenate (form chains with other carbon ...
. Modern biology is divided into subdisciplines by the type of organism and by the scale being studied.
Molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology that seeks to understand the molecule, molecular basis of biological activity in and between Cell (biology), cells, including biomolecule, molecular synthesis, modification, mechanisms, and interaction ...
is the study of the fundamental chemistry of life, while
cellular biology Cell biology (also cellular biology or cytology) is a branch of biology that studies the structure, Physiology, function and behavior of cell (biology), cells. All living organisms are made of cells. A cell is the basic unit of life that is resp ...
is the examination of the cell; the basic building block of all life. At a higher level,
anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, ...

anatomy
and
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
look at the internal structures, and their functions, of an organism, while
ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
looks at how various organisms interrelate.


Earth science

Earth science (also known as geoscience), is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...
, including
geology Geology (from the γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is a branch of concerned with both the liquid and , the of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Geology can ...

geology
,
geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...

geography
,
geophysics Geophysics () is a subject of concerned with the physical processes and of the and its surrounding space environment, and the use of quantitative methods for their analysis. The term ''geophysics'' sometimes refers only to solid earth applic ...

geophysics
,
geochemistry Geochemistry is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanatio ...
,
climatology Climatology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
,
glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Glacier.html" ;"title="moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier">moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt, Swiss Alps. The moraine is the high bank of ...
,
hydrology Hydrology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
,
meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the f ...
, and
oceanography Oceanography (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period ...
. Although
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occu ...

mining
and
precious stones A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewellery, jewelry or other adornments. However, certain Rock (geology), rocks ...
have been human interests throughout the history of civilization, the development of the related sciences of
economic geology Economic geology is concerned with earth materials that can be used for economic and/or industrial purposes. These materials include precious and base metals, nonmetallic minerals and construction-grade stone. Economic geology is a subdisciplin ...
and
mineralogy Mineralogy is a subject of geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is com ...

mineralogy
did not occur until the 18th century. The study of the earth, particularly
paleontology Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene epoch (geology), epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes th ...
, blossomed in the 19th century. The growth of other disciplines, such as
geophysics Geophysics () is a subject of concerned with the physical processes and of the and its surrounding space environment, and the use of quantitative methods for their analysis. The term ''geophysics'' sometimes refers only to solid earth applic ...

geophysics
, in the 20th century, led to the development of the theory of
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
in the 1960s, which has had a similar effect on the Earth sciences as the theory of evolution had on biology. Earth sciences today are closely linked to
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

petroleum
and mineral resources,
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
research and to
environmental assessment Environmental assessment (EA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. In this context, the term "environmental impact asses ...
and remediation.


Atmospheric sciences

Although sometimes considered in conjunction with the earth sciences, due to the independent development of its concepts, techniques, and practices and also the fact of it having a wide range of sub-disciplines under its wing,
atmospheric science Atmospheric science is the study of the Atmosphere of Earth, Earth's atmosphere and its various inner-working physical processes. Meteorology includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics with a major focus on weather forecasting. Climat ...
is also considered a separate branch of natural science. This field studies the characteristics of different layers of the atmosphere from ground level to the edge of the space. The timescale of the study also varies from day to century. Sometimes the field also includes the study of climatic patterns on planets other than earth.


Oceanography

The serious study of oceans began in the early- to the mid-20th century. As a field of natural science, it is relatively young but stand-alone programs offer specializations in the subject. Though some controversies remain as to the categorization of the field under earth sciences, interdisciplinary sciences, or as a separate field in its own right, most modern workers in the field agree that it has matured to a state that it has its own paradigms and practices.


Chemistry

Constituting the scientific study of matter at the
atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atom ...

atom
ic and
molecular A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In ...

molecular
scale, chemistry deals primarily with collections of atoms, such as
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space ...

gas
es, molecules,
crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformatio ...

crystal
s, and
metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

metal
s. The composition, statistical properties, transformations, and reactions of these materials are studied. Chemistry also involves understanding the properties and interactions of individual atoms and molecules for use in larger-scale applications. Most chemical processes can be studied directly in a laboratory, using a series of (often well-tested) techniques for manipulating materials, as well as an understanding of the underlying processes. Chemistry is often called "
the central science Chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molec ...
" because of its role in connecting the other natural sciences. Early experiments in chemistry had their roots in the system of
Alchemy Alchemy (from Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countri ...
, a set of beliefs combining mysticism with physical experiments. The science of chemistry began to develop with the work of
Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern che ...

Robert Boyle
, the discoverer of gas, and
Antoine Lavoisier Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier ( , ,; 26 August 17438 May 1794), When reduced without charcoal, it gave off an air which supported respiration and combustion in an enhanced way. He concluded that this was just a pure form of common air and th ...

Antoine Lavoisier
, who developed the theory of the
Conservation of mass In and , the law of conservation of mass or principle of mass conservation states that for any to all transfers of and , the of the system must remain constant over time, as the system's mass cannot change, so quantity can neither be added n ...
. The
discovery of the chemical elements The discovery of the 118 chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the ...
and
atomic theory Atomic theory is the scientific theory A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world and universe that has been repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method The scientific method is ...
began to systematize this science, and researchers developed a fundamental understanding of
states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. " ...
,
ion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ...
s,
chemical bond A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday ...
s and
chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and t ...

chemical reaction
s. The success of this science led to a complementary
chemical industry The chemical industry comprises the companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, with a spe ...
that now plays a significant role in the world economy.


Physics

Physics embodies the study of the fundamental constituents of the
universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development ...

universe
, the
forces
forces
and interactions they exert on one another, and the results produced by these interactions. In general, physics is regarded as the fundamental science, because all other natural sciences use and obey the field's principles and laws. Physics relies heavily on
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
as the logical framework for formulating and quantifying principles. The study of the principles of the universe has a long history and largely derives from direct observation and experimentation. The formulation of theories about the governing laws of the universe has been central to the study of physics from very early on, with
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
gradually yielding to systematic, quantitative experimental testing and observation as the source of verification. Key historical developments in physics include
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics a ...

Isaac Newton
's theory of universal gravitation and classical mechanics, an understanding of
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
and its relation to
magnetism Magnetism is a class of physical attributes that are mediated by magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For in ...

magnetism
,
Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity The theory ...

Einstein
's theories of
special Special or specials may refer to: Policing * Specials, Ulster Special Constabulary, the Northern Ireland police force * Specials, Special Constable, an auxiliary, volunteer, or temporary; police worker or police officer Literature * ''Special ...
and
general relativity General relativity, also known as the general theory of relativity, is the geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathema ...
, the development of
thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these quantities is governed b ...

thermodynamics
, and the
quantum mechanical Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with ...
model of atomic and subatomic physics. The field of physics is extremely broad, and can include such diverse studies as
quantum mechanics Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with ...
and
theoretical physics Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict List of natural phenomena, natural phenomena. This is in contrast to experimental ph ...
,
applied physics Applied physics is the application of physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (p ...
and
optics Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other wo ...

optics
. Modern physics is becoming increasingly specialized, where researchers tend to focus on a particular area rather than being "universalists" like
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics a ...

Isaac Newton
,
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity The theo ...

Albert Einstein
and
Lev Landau Lev may refer to: Common uses * Bulgarian lev, the currency of Bulgaria *an abbreviation for Leviticus, the third book of the Hebrew Bible and the Torah People and fictional characters * Lev (given name) * Lev (surname) LEV * Laborious Extra-Orb ...
, who worked in multiple areas.


Astronomy

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets. Astronomy is the study of everything in the universe beyond Earth's atmosphere. That includes objects we can see with our naked eyes. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Astronomers of early civilizations performed methodical observations of the night sky, and astronomical artifacts have been found from much earlier periods. There are two types of astronomy: observational astronomy and theoretical astronomy. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring and analyzing data, mainly using basic principles of physics while Theoretical astronomy is oriented towards the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. This discipline is the science of
celestial objects In astronomy, an astronomical object or celestial object is a naturally occurring physical object, physical entity, association, or structure that exists in the observable universe. In astronomy, the terms ''object'' and ''body'' are often use ...
and
phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
that originate outside the
Earth's atmosphere The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid, gas and plasma). The mo ...
. It is concerned with the evolution,
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
,
chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a with other . ...

chemistry
,
meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the f ...
, and
motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), position over time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of Displacem ...
of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe. Astronomy includes the examination, study, and modeling of stars, planets, comets. Most of the information used by astronomers is gathered by remote observation, although some laboratory reproduction of celestial phenomena has been performed (such as the molecular chemistry of the
interstellar medium In astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses math ...
). While the origins of the study of celestial features and phenomena can be traced back to antiquity, the scientific methodology of this field began to develop in the middle of the 17th century. A key factor was
Galileo Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( , ; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific qu ...

Galileo
's introduction of the telescope to examine the night sky in more detail. The mathematical treatment of astronomy began with
Newton Newton most commonly refers to: * Isaac Newton (1642–1726/1727), English scientist * Newton (unit), SI unit of force named after Isaac Newton Newton may also refer to: Arts and entertainment * Newton (film), ''Newton'' (film), a 2017 Indian fil ...

Newton
's development of
celestial mechanics Celestial mechanics is the branch of astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and cel ...
and the laws of
gravitation Gravity (), or gravitation, is a natural phenomenon Types of natural phenomena include: Weather, fog, thunder, tornadoes; biological processes, decomposition, germination seedlings, three days after germination. Germination is th ...

gravitation
, although it was triggered by earlier work of astronomers such as
Kepler Johannes Kepler (; ; 27 December 1571 – 15 November 1630) was a German , , , and writer on music. He is a key figure in the 17th-century , best known for his , and his books ', ', and '. These works also provided one of the foundations for ...

Kepler
. By the 19th century, astronomy had developed into formal science, with the introduction of instruments such as the
spectroscope An optical spectrometer (spectrophotometer, spectrograph or spectroscope) is an instrument used to measure properties of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that c ...

spectroscope
and
photography Photography is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and int ...

photography
, along with much-improved telescopes and the creation of professional observatories.


Interdisciplinary studies

The distinctions between the natural science disciplines are not always sharp, and they share many cross-discipline fields. Physics plays a significant role in the other natural sciences, as represented by
astrophysics Astrophysics is a science that employs the methods and principles of physics in the study of astronomical objects and phenomena. Among the subjects studied are the Sun, other stars, galaxy, galaxies, extrasolar planets, the interstellar medium and ...
,
geophysics Geophysics () is a subject of concerned with the physical processes and of the and its surrounding space environment, and the use of quantitative methods for their analysis. The term ''geophysics'' sometimes refers only to solid earth applic ...

geophysics
,
chemical physics Chemical physics is a subdiscipline of chemistry and physics that investigates physicochemical phenomena using techniques from atomic, molecular, and optical physics, atomic and molecular physics and condensed matter physics; it is the branch of ...
and
biophysics uses protein domain dynamics on nanoscale Image:Protein translation.gif, 300px, A ribosome is a biological machine that utilizes nanoscale protein dynamics The nanoscopic scale (or nanoscale) usually refers to structures with a length scale ...
. Likewise chemistry is represented by such fields as
biochemistry Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of es within and relating to living s. A sub-discipline of both and , biochemistry may be divided into three fields: , and . Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has beco ...

biochemistry
,
chemical biology Chemical biology is a scientific discipline spanning the fields of chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composi ...
,
geochemistry Geochemistry is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanatio ...
and
astrochemistry Astrochemistry is the study of the abundance and reactions of molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an elect ...
. A particular example of a scientific discipline that draws upon multiple natural sciences is
environmental science Environmental science is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other ...
. This field studies the interactions of physical, chemical, geological, and biological components of the
environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism or ...
, with particular regard to the effect of human activities and the impact on
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
and
sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many, sustainability is d ...

sustainability
. This science also draws upon expertise from other fields such as economics, law, and social sciences. A comparable discipline is
oceanography Oceanography (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period ...
, as it draws upon a similar breadth of scientific disciplines. Oceanography is sub-categorized into more specialized cross-disciplines, such as
physical oceanography Physical oceanography is the study of physics, physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean, especially the motions and physical properties of ocean waters. Physical oceanography is one of several sub-domains into which oceanograph ...
and
marine biology Marine biology is the scientific study of the biology of marine life Marine life, sea life, or ocean life is the plants, animals, and other organisms that live in the Seawater, salt water of the sea or ocean, or the brackish water of coast ...
. As the
marine ecosystem Marine ecosystems are the largest of Earth's aquatic ecosystems and exist in Saline water, waters that have a high salt content. These systems contrast with freshwater ecosystems, which have a lower salt content. Marine waters cover more than 70% ...
is very large and diverse, marine biology is further divided into many subfields, including specializations in particular
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
. There is also a subset of cross-disciplinary fields that have strong currents that run counter to specialization by the nature of the problems that they address. Put another way: In some fields of integrative application, specialists in more than one field are a key part of the most dialog. Such integrative fields, for example, include
nanoscience Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by havin ...
,
astrobiology Astrobiology, formerly known as exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have ...
, and
complex system A complex system is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, a ...
informatics Informatics is the study of computational systems, especially those for data storage and retrieval. According to ACM ''Europe and'' ''Informatics Europe'' informatics is synonym for computer science and computing as a profession, in which the cent ...
.


Materials science

Materials science is a relatively new, interdisciplinary field that deals with the study of
matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic particl ...
and its properties; as well as the discovery and design of new materials. Originally developed through the field of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering ''Materials Science and Engineering'' may refer to several journals in the field of materials science and engineering: * '' Materials Science and Engineering A'' * '' Materials Science ...
, the study of the properties of materials and solids has now expanded into all materials. The field covers the chemistry, physics, and engineering applications of materials including metals, ceramics, artificial polymers, and many others. The core of the field deals with relating the structure of materials with their properties. It is at the forefront of research in science and engineering. It is an important part of
forensic engineering Forensic engineering has been defined as ''"the investigation of failures - ranging from serviceability to catastrophic - which may lead to legal activity, including both civil and criminal".'' It includes the investigation of materials A mate ...
(the investigation of materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not operate or function as intended, causing personal injury or damage to property) and
failure analysisFailure analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing data to determine the cause of a failure The 1895 alt= Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective (goal), objective, and may be viewed as the op ...
, the latter being the key to understanding, for example, the cause of various aviation accidents. Many of the most pressing scientific problems that are faced today are due to the limitations of the materials that are available and, as a result, breakthroughs in this field are likely to have a significant impact on the future of technology. The basis of materials science involves studying the structure of materials, and relating them to their
properties Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether phys ...
. Once a materials scientist knows about this structure-property correlation, they can then go on to study the relative performance of a material in a certain application. The major determinants of the structure of a material and thus of its properties are its constituent chemical elements and how it has been processed into its final form. These characteristics, taken together and related through the laws of
thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these quantities is governed b ...

thermodynamics
and kinetics, govern a material's
microstructure Microstructure is the very small scale structure of a material, defined as the structure of a prepared surface of material as revealed by an optical microscope above 25× magnification. The microstructure of a material (such as metals, polymer ...
, and thus its properties.


History

Some scholars trace the origins of natural science as far back as pre-literate human societies, where understanding the natural world was necessary for survival. People observed and built up knowledge about the behavior of animals and the usefulness of plants as food and medicine, which was passed down from generation to generation. These primitive understandings gave way to more formalized inquiry around 3500 to 3000 BC in the
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
n and
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
ian cultures, which produced the first known written evidence of
natural philosophy Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from ''philosophia naturalis'') was the study of and the physical that was dominant before the development of . From the ancient world, at least since , to the 19th century, ''natural philosophy' ...
, the precursor of natural science. While the writings show an interest in astronomy, mathematics, and other aspects of the physical world, the ultimate aim of inquiry about nature's workings was in all cases religious or mythological, not scientific. A tradition of scientific inquiry also emerged in
Ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese h ...
, where
Taoist Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of c ...
alchemists File:Aurora consurgens zurich 044 f-21v-44 dragon-pot.jpg, Depiction of Ouroboros from the alchemical treatise ''Aurora consurgens'' (15th century), Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Switzerland Alchemy (from Arabic: ''al-kīmiyā''; from Ancient Gree ...
and philosophers experimented with elixirs to extend life and cure ailments. They focused on the
yin and yang In Ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significan ...

yin and yang
, or contrasting elements in nature; the yin was associated with femininity and coldness, while yang was associated with masculinity and warmth. The five phases – fire, earth, metal, wood, and water – described a cycle of transformations in nature. The water turned into wood, which turned into the fire when it burned. The ashes left by fire were earth. Using these principles, Chinese philosophers and doctors explored human anatomy, characterizing organs as predominantly yin or yang, and understood the relationship between the pulse, the heart, and the flow of blood in the body centuries before it became accepted in the West. Little evidence survives of how
Ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by mod ...

Ancient India
n cultures around the
Indus River The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including t ...

Indus River
understood nature, but some of their perspectives may be reflected in the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
, a set of sacred
Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used as ...

Hindu
texts. They reveal a conception of the universe as ever-expanding and constantly being recycled and reformed. Surgeons in the
Ayurvedic Ayurveda () is an alternative medicine Alternative medicine is any practice that aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and mana ...

Ayurvedic
tradition saw health and illness as a combination of three humors:
wind Wind is the natural movement of air or other gases relative to a planet's surface. Wind occurs on a range of scales, from thunderstorm A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm characterized by th ...

wind
,
bile Bile (from latin ''bilis''), or gall, is a dark-green-to-yellowish-brown fluid produced by the of most s that aids the of s in the . In humans, bile is produced continuously by the liver (liver bile) and stored and concentrated in the . After ...
and
phlegm Phlegm (; , ''phlégma'', "inflammation", "humour Humour (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English) or humor (American English) is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives fro ...
. A healthy life was the result of a balance among these humors. In Ayurvedic thought, the body consisted of five elements: earth, water, fire, wind, and space. Ayurvedic surgeons performed complex surgeries and developed a detailed understanding of human anatomy.
Pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued t ...
philosophers in
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
culture brought natural philosophy a step closer to direct inquiry about cause and effect in nature between 600 and 400 BC, although an element of magic and mythology remained. Natural phenomena such as earthquakes and eclipses were explained increasingly in the context of nature itself instead of being attributed to angry gods.
Thales of Miletus Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), ''Thalēs''; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (fr ...

Thales of Miletus
, an early philosopher who lived from 625 to 546 BC, explained earthquakes by theorizing that the world floated on water and that water was the fundamental element in nature. In the 5th century BC,
Leucippus Leucippus (; el, Λεύκιππος, ''Leúkippos''; fl. 5th century BCE) is reported in some ancient sources to have been a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλό ...
was an early exponent of
atomism Atomism (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...
, the idea that the world is made up of fundamental indivisible particles.
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...

Pythagoras
applied Greek innovations in mathematics to astronomy, and suggested that the earth was
spherical of a sphere A sphere (from Greek language, Greek —, "globe, ball") is a geometrical object in three-dimensional space Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values ...

spherical
.


Aristotelian natural philosophy (400 BC–1100 AD)

Later
Socratic
Socratic
and
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
nic thought focused on ethics, morals and art and did not attempt an investigation of the physical world; Plato criticized pre-Socratic thinkers as materialists and anti-religionists.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
, however, a student of Plato who lived from 384 to 322 BC, paid closer attention to the natural world in his philosophy. In his ''
History of Animals ''History of Animals'' ( grc-gre, Τῶν περὶ τὰ ζῷα ἱστοριῶν, ''Ton peri ta zoia historion'', "Inquiries on Animals"; la, Historia Animalium, "History of Animals") is one of the major texts on biology by the ancient Gr ...
'', he described the inner workings of 110 species, including the
stingray Stingrays are a group of sea rays, which are cartilaginous fish Chondrichthyes (; from Greek χονδρ- 'cartilage', ἰχθύς 'fish') is a class that contains the cartilaginous fishes that have skeletons primarily composed of cartil ...

stingray
,
catfish Catfish (or catfishes; order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, o ...

catfish
and
bee Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey. Bees are a monophyly, monophyletic lineage within the ...

bee
. He investigated chick embryos by breaking open eggs and observing them at various stages of development. Aristotle's works were influential through the 16th century, and he is considered to be the father of biology for his pioneering work in that science. He also presented philosophies about physics, nature, and astronomy using
inductive reasoning Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning Reason is the capacity of Consciousness, consciously making sense of things, applying logic, and adapting or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. It ...
in his works ''
Physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...
'' and ''
Meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the f ...
''. While Aristotle considered natural philosophy more seriously than his predecessors, he approached it as a theoretical branch of science. Still, inspired by his work,
Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
philosophers of the early 1st century AD, including
Lucretius Titus Lucretius Carus ( , ; 99 – c. 55 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman Roman literature, poet and Ancient Roman philosophy, philosopher. His only known work is the philosophical poem ''De rerum natura'', a didactic work about the tenets and ...
,
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
and
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, ...

Pliny the Elder
, wrote treatises that dealt with the rules of the natural world in varying degrees of depth. Many
Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
Neoplatonists Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic Plato's influence on Western culture was so profound that several different concepts are linked by being called Platonic or Platonist, for accepting some assumptions of Platonism, but which do not imply accep ...
of the 3rd to the 6th centuries also adapted Aristotle's teachings on the physical world to a philosophy that emphasized spiritualism. Early
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
philosophers including
Macrobius Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, usually referred to as Macrobius (fl. AD 400), was a Roman provincial who lived during the early fifth century, during Late Antiquity, the period of time corresponding to the late Roman Empire The history of the ...

Macrobius
,
Calcidius Calcidius (or Chalcidius) was a 4th-century philosopher (and possibly a Christian) who translated the first part (to 53c) of Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ''Plátōn'', in Attic Greek, Classical Attic; 428/427 o ...
and
Martianus Capella Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. c. 410–420) was a Latin literature, Latin prose writer of Late antiquity, Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education. H ...
also examined the physical world, largely from a cosmological and
cosmographical Cosmography is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanation ...

cosmographical
perspective, putting forth theories on the arrangement of celestial bodies and the heavens, which were posited as being composed of
aetherAether, æther or ether may refer to: Metaphysics and mythology * Aether (classical element), the material supposed to fill the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere * Aether (mythology), the personification of the "upper sky", spac ...
. Aristotle's works on natural philosophy continued to be translated and studied amid the rise of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
and
Abbasid Caliphate The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the tit ...

Abbasid Caliphate
. In the Byzantine Empire,
John Philoponus John Philoponus (; ; c. 490 – c. 570), also known as John the Grammarian or John of Alexandria, was a Byzantine Alexandrian philologist, commentaries on Aristotle, Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian, author of a considerable number ...
, an Alexandrian Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian was the first who questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics. Unlike Aristotle who based his physics on verbal argument, Philoponus instead relied on observation and argued for observation rather than resorting to a verbal argument. He introduced the
theory of impetus The theory of impetus was an auxiliary or secondary theory of Aristotelian dynamics, put forth initially to explain projectile motion against gravity Gravity (), or gravitation, is a list of natural phenomena, natural phenomenon by which a ...

theory of impetus
. John Philoponus' criticism of Aristotelian principles of physics served as inspiration for Galileo Galilei during the
Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in History of mathematics#Mathematics during the Scientific Revolution, mathematics, History of phys ...

Scientific Revolution
. A revival in mathematics and science took place during the time of the
Abbasid Caliphate The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the tit ...

Abbasid Caliphate
from the 9th century onward, when Muslim scholars expanded upon Greek and
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
n natural philosophy. The words ''
alcohol In chemistry, alcohol is an organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl functional group (−OH) bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethan ...

alcohol
'', ''
algebra Algebra (from ar, الجبر, lit=reunion of broken parts, bonesetting, translit=al-jabr) is one of the areas of mathematics, broad areas of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and mathematical analysis, analysis. In its most ge ...

algebra
'' and ''
zenith The zenith is an imaginary point directly "above" a particular location, on the imaginary celestial sphere. "Above" means in the vertical direction (plumb line) opposite to the gravity direction at that location (nadir). The zenith is the "high ...

zenith
'' all have
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
roots.


Medieval natural philosophy (1100–1600)

Aristotle's works and other Greek natural philosophy did not reach the West until about the middle of the 12th century, when works were translated from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
and Arabic into
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
. The development of European civilization later in the Middle Ages brought with it further advances in natural philosophy. European inventions such as the
horseshoe A horseshoe is a fabricated product, normally made of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...

horseshoe
,
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and
crop rotation Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crop A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more r ...
allowed for rapid population growth, eventually giving way to urbanization and the foundation of schools connected to monasteries and cathedrals in modern-day
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...

France
and
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
. Aided by the schools, an approach to Christian
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
developed that sought to answer questions about nature and other subjects using logic. This approach, however, was seen by some detractors as
heresy Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
. By the 12th century, Western European scholars and philosophers came into contact with a body of knowledge of which they had previously been ignorant: a large corpus of works in Greek and Arabic that were preserved by Islamic scholars. Through translation into Latin, Western Europe was introduced to Aristotle and his natural philosophy. These works were taught at new universities in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
and
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...

Oxford
by the early 13th century, although the practice was frowned upon by the Catholic church. A 1210 decree from the
Synod A synod () is a council of a Ecclesia (church), church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the L ...

Synod
of Paris ordered that "no lectures are to be held in Paris either publicly or privately using Aristotle's books on natural philosophy or the commentaries, and we forbid all this under pain of ex-communication." In the late Middle Ages,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
philosopher
Dominicus GundissalinusDominicus Gundissalinus, also known as Domingo Gundisalvi or Gundisalvo ( 1115 – post 1190), was a philosopher and translator of Arabic language, Arabic to Medieval Latin active in Toledo, Spain, Toledo. Among his translations, Gundissalinus worked ...
translated a treatise by the earlier Persian scholar
Al-Farabi Abu Nasr Al-Farabi (; '; known in the West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-base ...

Al-Farabi
called ''On the Sciences'' into Latin, calling the study of the mechanics of nature ''Scientia naturalis'', or natural science. Gundissalinus also proposed his own classification of the natural sciences in his 1150 work ''On the Division of Philosophy''. This was the first detailed classification of the sciences based on Greek and Arab philosophy to reach Western Europe. Gundissalinus defined natural science as "the science considering only things unabstracted and with motion," as opposed to mathematics and sciences that rely on mathematics. Following Al-Farabi, he then separated the sciences into eight parts, including physics, cosmology, meteorology, minerals science, and plant and animal science. Later philosophers made their own classifications of the natural sciences.
Robert Kilwardby Robert Kilwardby (c. 1215 – 11 September 1279) was an Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and ...

Robert Kilwardby
wrote ''On the Order of the Sciences'' in the 13th century that classed medicine as a mechanical science, along with agriculture, hunting and theater while defining natural science as the science that deals with bodies in motion.
Roger Bacon Roger Bacon (; la, Rogerus or ', also '' Rogerus''; ), also known by the Scholastic accolades, scholastic accolade ''Doctor Mirabilis'', was a medieval England, medieval English philosopher and Franciscans, Franciscan friar who placed consider ...
, an English friar and philosopher, wrote that natural science dealt with "a principle of motion and rest, as in the parts of the elements of fire, air, earth and water, and in all inanimate things made from them." These sciences also covered plants, animals and celestial bodies. Later in the 13th century, a Catholic priest and theologian
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...

Thomas Aquinas
defined natural science as dealing with "mobile beings" and "things which depend on a matter not only for their existence but also for their definition." There was wide agreement among scholars in medieval times that natural science was about bodies in motion, although there was division about the inclusion of fields including medicine, music, and perspective. Philosophers pondered questions including the existence of a vacuum, whether motion could produce heat, the colors of rainbows, the motion of the earth, whether elemental chemicals exist, and were in the atmosphere rain is formed. In the centuries up through the end of the Middle Ages, natural science was often mingled with philosophies about magic and the occult. Natural philosophy appeared in a wide range of forms, from treatises to encyclopedias to commentaries on Aristotle. The interaction between natural philosophy and
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...

Christianity
was complex during this period; some early theologians, including
Tatian Tatian of Adiabene, or Tatian the Syrian or Tatian the Assyrian, (; la, Tatianus; grc, Τατιανός; syc, ܛܛܝܢܘܣ; c. 120 – c. 180 AD) was an writer and of the 2nd century. Tatian's most influential work is the , a , or "harmony" ...
and
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου), ...

Eusebius
, considered natural philosophy an outcropping of pagan Greek science and were suspicious of it. Although some later Christian philosophers, including Aquinas, came to see natural science as a means of interpreting scripture, this suspicion persisted until the 12th and 13th centuries. The
Condemnation of 1277 Condemnation may refer to: * Damnation, the antithesis of salvation * The act of eminent domain which refers to the power of a government to take private property for public use * Condemnation (song), "Condemnation" (song), a 1993 song by Depeche ...
, which forbade setting philosophy on a level equal with theology and the debate of religious constructs in a scientific context, showed the persistence with which Catholic leaders resisted the development of natural philosophy even from a theological perspective. Aquinas and
Albertus Magnus Albertus Magnus (c. 1200 – November 15, 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great or Albert of Cologne, was a German Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominat ...

Albertus Magnus
, another Catholic theologian of the era, sought to distance theology from science in their works. "I don't see what one's interpretation of Aristotle has to do with the teaching of the faith," he wrote in 1271.


Newton and the scientific revolution (1600–1800)

By the 16th and 17th centuries, natural philosophy underwent an evolution beyond commentary on Aristotle as more early Greek philosophy was uncovered and translated. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the invention of the microscope and telescope, and the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg, 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the larges ...
fundamentally altered the social context in which scientific inquiry evolved in the West.
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
's discovery of a new world changed perceptions about the physical makeup of the world, while observations by
Copernicus Nicolaus Copernicus (; pl, Mikołaj Kopernik; german: link=no, Niclas Koppernigk, modern: ''Nikolaus Kopernikus''; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a ...

Copernicus
, Tyco Brahe and
Galileo Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( , ; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific qu ...

Galileo
brought a more accurate picture of the solar system as heliocentric and proved many of Aristotle's theories about the heavenly bodies false. Several 17th-century philosophers, including Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Francis Bacon made a break from the past by rejecting Aristotle and his medieval followers outright, calling their approach to natural philosophy as superficial. The titles of Galileo's work ''Two New Sciences'' and Johannes Kepler's ''New Astronomy'' underscored the atmosphere of change that took hold in the 17th century as Aristotle was dismissed in favor of novel methods of inquiry into the natural world. Bacon was instrumental in popularizing this change; he argued that people should use the arts and sciences to gain dominion over nature. To achieve this, he wrote that "human life [must] be endowed with discoveries and powers." He defined natural philosophy as "the knowledge of Causes and secret motions of things; and enlarging the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things possible." Bacon proposed that scientific inquiry be supported by the state and fed by the collaborative research of scientists, a vision that was unprecedented in its scope, ambition, and forms at the time. Natural philosophers came to view nature increasingly as a mechanism that could be taken apart and understood, much like a complex clock. Natural philosophers including
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics a ...

Isaac Newton
, Evangelista Torricelli and Francesco Redi conducted experiments focusing on the flow of water, measuring atmospheric pressure using a barometer and disproving spontaneous generation. Scientific societies and scientific journals emerged and were spread widely through the printing press, touching off the scientific revolution. Newton in 1687 published his ''The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy'', or ''Principia Mathematica'', which set the groundwork for physical laws that remained current until the 19th century. Some modern scholars, including Andrew Cunningham, Perry Williams, and Floris Cohen, argue that natural philosophy is not properly called a science, and that genuine scientific inquiry began only with the scientific revolution. According to Cohen, "the emancipation of science from an overarching entity called 'natural philosophy is one defining characteristic of the Scientific Revolution." Other historians of science, including Edward Grant, contend that the scientific revolution that blossomed in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries occurred when principles learned in the exact sciences of optics, mechanics, and astronomy began to be applied to questions raised by natural philosophy. Grant argues that Newton attempted to expose the mathematical basis of nature – the immutable rules it obeyed – and in doing so joined natural philosophy and mathematics for the first time, producing an early work of modern physics. The scientific revolution, which began to take hold in the 17th century, represented a sharp break from Aristotelian modes of inquiry. One of its principal advances was the use of the scientific method to investigate nature. Data was collected and repeatability, repeatable measurements made in experiments. Scientists then formed hypothesis, hypotheses to explain the results of these experiments. The hypothesis was then tested using the principle of
falsifiability Falsifiability is a standard of evaluation of scientific theories and hypotheses that was introduced by the philosopher of science Karl Popper in his book The Logic of Scientific Discovery, ''Logik der Forschung'' (1934). He proposed it as the ...
to prove or disprove its accuracy. The natural sciences continued to be called natural philosophy, but the adoption of the scientific method took science beyond the realm of philosophical conjecture and introduced a more structured way of examining nature. Newton, an English mathematician, and physicist was the seminal figure in the scientific revolution. Drawing on advances made in astronomy by Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler, Newton derived the Newton's law of universal gravitation, universal law of gravitation and Newton's laws of motion, laws of motion. These laws applied both on earth and in outer space, uniting two spheres of the physical world previously thought to function independently of each other, according to separate physical rules. Newton, for example, showed that the tides were caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. Another of Newton's advances was to make mathematics a powerful explanatory tool for natural phenomena. While natural philosophers had long used mathematics as a means of measurement and analysis, its principles were not used as a means of understanding cause and effect in nature until Newton. In the 18th century and 19th century, scientists including Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, Alessandro Volta, and Michael Faraday built upon Newtonian mechanics by exploring electromagnetism, or the interplay of forces with positive and negative charges on electric charge, electrically charged particles. Faraday proposed that forces in nature operated in "Field (physics), fields" that filled space. The idea of fields contrasted with the Newtonian construct of gravitation as simply "action at a distance", or the attraction of objects with nothing in the space between them to intervene. James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century unified these discoveries in a coherent Maxwell's equations, theory of electrodynamics. Using mathematical equations and experimentation, Maxwell discovered that space was filled with charged particles that could act upon themselves and each other and that they were a medium for the transmission of charged waves. Significant advances in chemistry also took place during the scientific revolution.
Antoine Lavoisier Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier ( , ,; 26 August 17438 May 1794), When reduced without charcoal, it gave off an air which supported respiration and combustion in an enhanced way. He concluded that this was just a pure form of common air and th ...

Antoine Lavoisier
, a French chemist, refuted the phlogiston theory, which posited that things burned by releasing "phlogiston" into the air. Joseph Priestley had discovered oxygen in the 18th century, but Lavoisier discovered that combustion was the result of oxidation. He also constructed a table of 33 elements and invented modern chemical nomenclature. Formal biological science remained in its infancy in the 18th century, when the focus lay upon the Scientific classification, classification and categorization of natural life. This growth in
natural history Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history ...

natural history
was led by Carl Linnaeus, whose 1735 Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy of the natural world is still in use. Linnaeus in the 1750s introduced Binomial nomenclature, scientific names for all his species.


19th-century developments (1800–1900)

By the 19th century, the study of science had come into the purview of professionals and institutions. In so doing, it gradually acquired the more modern name of ''natural science.'' The term ''scientist'' was coined by William Whewell in an 1834 review of Mary Somerville's ''On the Connexion of the Sciences''. But the word did not enter general use until nearly the end of the same century.


Modern natural science (1900–present)

According to a famous 1923 textbook, ''Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances'', by the American chemist Gilbert N. Lewis and the American physical chemist Merle Randall, the natural sciences contain three great branches:
Aside from the logical and mathematical sciences, there are three great branches of ''natural science'' which stand apart by reason of the variety of far reaching deductions drawn from a small number of primary postulates — they are mechanics, electrodynamics, and
thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these quantities is governed b ...

thermodynamics
.
Today, natural sciences are more commonly divided into life sciences, such as botany and zoology; and physical sciences, which include physics, chemistry, astronomy, and Earth sciences.


See also

* Empiricism * Branches of science * List of academic disciplines and sub-disciplines * Natural Sciences (Cambridge), for the Tripos at the University of Cambridge
Nature of Science


References


Bibliography

* * * * * *


Further reading


Defining Natural Sciences
Ledoux, S. F., 2002: Defining Natural Sciences, ''Behaviorology Today'', 5(1), 34–36. *
The History of Recent Science and Technology

Natural Sciences
Contains updated information on research in the Natural Sciences including biology, geography and the applied life and earth sciences.
Reviews of Books About Natural Science
This site contains over 50 previously published reviews of books about natural science, plus selected essays on timely topics in natural science.
Scientific Grant Awards Database
Contains details of over 2,000,000 scientific research projects conducted over the past 25 years.
E!Science
Up-to-date science news aggregator from major sources including universities. {{Authority control Natural sciences, Branches of science