PHYSICS

PHYSICS - (from the Greek, φυσικός (physikos), "natural", and φύσις (physis), "nature") is the science of the natural world dealing with the fundamental constituents of the universe, the forces they exert on one another, and the results produced by these forces. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena spanning all length scales: from the sub-atomic particles from which all ordinary (i.e., baryonic) matter is made (particle physics) to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole (cosmology).

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Physics discoveries find applications throughout the other natural sciences, since it studies the basic constituents of the natural world. Some of the phenomena studied in physics, such as the conservation of energy, are common to all material systems. These are often referred to as laws of physics. Physics is sometimes said to be the "fundamental science", because each of the other natural sciences (biology, chemistry, geology, etc.) deals with particular types of material systems that obey the laws of physics. For example, chemistry is the science of molecules and the chemicals that they form in the bulk. The properties of a chemical are determined by the properties of the underlying molecules, which can be described by areas of physics such as quantum mechanics (called in this case quantum chemistry), thermodynamics, and electromagnetism.

Physics is closely related to mathematics, which provides the logical framework where physical laws can be precisely formulated and their predictions quantified. Physical theories are almost invariably expressed using mathematical relations, and the mathematics involved is generally more complicated than in the other sciences. The difference between physics and mathematics is that physics is ultimately concerned with descriptions of the material world, whereas mathematics is concerned with abstract patterns that need not have any bearing on it. The distinction, however, is not always clear-cut. There is a large area of research intermediate between physics and mathematics, known as mathematical physics, devoted to developing the mathematical structure of physical theories.

While physics has a remarkably broad purview, it attempts only to describe those aspects of the world that can be dealt with by the scientific method. It is not concerned with issues that cannot be verified even in principle, such as those studied in metaphysics.