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Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies 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".

Definition

Physical science can be described as all of the following:

  • A branch of science (a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe).[1][2][3]
    • A branch of natural science – natural science is a major branch of science that tries to explain and predict nature's phenomena, based on empirical evidence. In natural science, hypotheses must be verified scientifically to be regarded as scientific theory. Validity, accuracy, and social mechanisms ensuring quality control, such as peer review and repeatability of findings, are amongst the criteria and methods used for this purpose. Natural science can be broken into two main branches: life science (for example biology) and physical science. Each of these branches, and all of their sub-branches, are referred to as natural sciences.

Branches of physical science

  • Physics – natural and physical science that involves the study of matter[4] and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.[5] More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.[a][6][7]
  • Astronomy – study of celestial objects (such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and nebulae), the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth, including supernovae explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic microwave background radiation.
  • Chemistry – studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.[8][9] In this realm, chemistry deals with such topics as the properties of individual atoms, the manner in which atoms form chemical bonds in the formation of compounds, the interactions of substances through intermolecular forces to give matter its general properties, and the interactions between substances through chemical reactions to form different substances.
  • Earth science – all-embracing term referring to the fields of science dealing with planet Earth. Earth science is the study of how the natural environment (ecosphere or Earth system) works and how it evolved to its current state. It includes the study of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.

History of physical science

History of physical science – history of the branch of natural science that studies non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences. It in turn has many branches, each referred to as a "physical science", together called the "physical sciences". However, the term "physical" creates an unintended, somewhat arbitrary distinction, since many branches of physical science also study biological phenomena (organic chemistry, for example).