- Physical science
Physical science is an encompassing term for the branches of
natural scienceand sciencethat study non-living systems, in contrast to the biological sciences. However, the term "physical" creates an unintended, somewhat arbitrary distinction, since many branches of physical science also study biological phenomena.
Basic principles of the physical sciences
The foundations of the physical sciences rests upon key concepts and theories, each of which explains and/or models a particular aspect of the behavior of nature.
Basic principles of astronomy
Astronomyis the scienceof celestial bodiesand their interactions in space. Its studies includes the following:
*The life and characteristics of
*Origins of the universe. Physical science uses the
Big Bangtheory as the commonly accepted scientific theoryof the origin of the universe
*A heliocentric solar system. Ancient and primitive cultures saw the earth as the center of the solar system or universe (
geocentrism). In the 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicusadvanced the ideas of heliocentrism, recognizing the sun as the center of the solar system.
*The structure of the
solar system, planets, comets, asteroids, and meteors
*The shape and structure of
Earth(roughly spherical, see also Spherical Earth)
*Earth in the Solar System
*The composition and features of the
*Interactions of the Earth and Moon "(Note: Astronomy should not be confused with
astrology, which assumes that people's destiny and human affairs in general are correlated to the apparent positions of astronomical objects in the sky -- although the two fields share a common origin, they are quite different; astronomers embrace the scientific method, while astrologers do not.)"
Basic principles of chemistry
Chemistryis the scienceof mattermainly at the micro-level. Chemistry can be called "the central science" because it connects the other natural sciences, such as astronomy, physics, material science, biology, and geology. Its studies include the following:
**The discovery and classification of pure elements
**Dmitri Mendeleev's creation of The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements showing the relationship of
**Properties of groups, especially
metals, and nonmetals
Waterand its properties
**Structure of the water molecule
**Properties of water solutions, such as
acids, bases, acid-base reaction theories, and salts
Chemical elements, chemical reactions, and energy transformations
Chemical formulabased on chemical notation developed by Jöns Jakob Berzelius's
**The nature of the
radioactive decay, originally discovered by Henri Becquerel
Organic chemistry, considered to have started in 1828with the synthesis of ureaby Friedrich Woehler
**Organic chemistry functional groups
Basic principles of earth science
Earth scienceis the scienceof the planet Earth, the only known life-bearing planet. Its studies include the following:
water cycleand the process of transpiration
Freshwater, surface water, groundwater
*Earth's tectonic structure
*Characteristics and formation of
*Atmosphere of earth
Atmospheric pressureand winds
Evaporation, condensation, and humidity
Meteorology, weather, climatology, and climate
Hydrology, cloudsand precipitation
Air massesand weather fronts
thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes
**Major climate groups
Basic principles of physics
Physicsis the "fundamental science" because the other natural sciences ( biology, chemistry, geology, etc.) deal with systems that obey the laws of physics. The physical laws of matter, energy, and the forces of nature govern the interactions between particles (such as molecules, atoms, or subatomic particles). Some basic principles of physics are:
*Describing and measuring motion
Newton's laws of motion
Forces, weight, and mass
Momentumand conservation of momentum
*The theory of gravity
Energy, work, and power
**Motion, position, and
**Energy conservation, conversion, and transfer.
*Kinetic Molecular Theory
**Phases of matter and
**Heat flow: conduction,
convection, and radiation
Laws of thermodynamics
*The principles of
*The principles of
electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetism
*The principles, sources, and properties of
Notable physical scientists
* Abu Rayhan al-Biruni - a Persian scientist who is regarded as the father of
geodesy, has been described as the "first anthropologist", and is considered one of the earliest geologists.
Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi- was a Persian alchemist, chemist, physician, philosopher and scholar. As an alchemist, Razi is known for his study of sulfuric acid. He also discovered ethanoland refined its use in medicine.
* Alhazen - an
Iraqi scientist who wrote the " Book of Optics", is regarded as the father of opticsand the pioneer of the scientific method, and has been described as the "first scientist".
Archimedes- a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. He is considered to be the first mathematical physiciston record. He established the laws of statics, buoyancy, and center of gravity.
Aristotle- the last of the three great influential ancient Greek philosophers, although not considered to be a scientist by today's standards, nevertheless, he influenced the development of the later scientific methodby espousing the view that knowledge should be based on empiricisminstead of intuition or faith.
Aryabhata- Aryabhata was the first in the line of brilliant mathematician-astronomers of classical Indian mathematics, whose major work was the " Aryabhatiya" and the "Aryabhatta-siddhanta". Aryabhatiya presented a number of innovations in mathematics and astronomy in verse form, which were influential for many centuries.
* Bacon, Francis - an
Elizabethan philosopher, is credited with the philosophical advocation for the Baconian method, an early forerunner of the scientific method.
* Boyle, Robert - an Irish
natural philosopher, is regarded as the "father of modern chemistry" due to his distinction between chemistryand alchemy. His namesake is Boyle's Law of an ideal gas, which he discovered, but his contributions to physical science include the definition of a chemical element, the propagation of sound, among others.
* Copernicus, Nicolaus - a Polish
mathematicianand economist, is considered by many to be the "father of modern astronomy" due to his detailed explanation of the heliocentric( Sun-centered) solar system.
* - a Polish-born French
chemist, was the first female Nobel laureate, the first two-time Nobel laureate, and one of only two individuals to receive the Nobel prizein two different fields. She and her husband, Pierre Curiediscovered the two elements Poloniumand Radium.
* Einstein, Albert - a theoretical
physicist, is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century. He proposed the theory of relativity and was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics, among other accomplishments.
* Euler, Leonhard - Swiss
mathematicianand physicist, considered to be one of the greatest mathematiciansof all times. His contributions to scienceincludes the Euler-Bournoulli beam equationand Euler equations.
* Galilei, Galileo - an
astronomerand physicist, is considered the "father of modern physics," "father of modern science", and "father of science" due, in large part, to his conflict with the Roman Catholic Churchover the authority of science. However, he has equally impressive scientific contributions to the fields of mechanics, astronomy, and mathematical physics.
Geber- a Persian scientist regarded as the father of chemistry, due to his introduction of an experimental method in the field, and for freeing it from superstition and turning it into a science.
* Hutton, James - a Scottish
geologist, is considered to be the "father of modern geology," for his formulation of uniformitarianism, that the same geological processes operating today operated in the distant past. Based upon that assumption, he maintained that the age of the earth must be much older than a few thousand years.
* Newton, Sir Isaac - a
scientistand mathematician, is most renowned for his description of the laws of motionand law of universal gravitation.
* Pauling, Linus - an American quantum chemist and biochemist, widely regarded as the premier chemist of the twentieth century. A pioneer in the application of
quantum mechanicsto chemistry, and one of the founders of molecular biology.
* Thales of Miletus - a
pre-SocraticGreek philosopher, is considered to be the father of sciencebecaused he first encouraged naturalistic explanations of the world, without the supernatural.
Universities offering named degrees in physical science
Open University: BSc(Hons) Physical Science
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