Physical science

In science, physical science is the study of matter and energy (or force) and, generally speaking, is an umbrella term referring to the grouped subjects of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. [1]


In 1876, Scottish physicist James Maxwell, following a brief prefaced note that 19th century physical science is the extension of the 18th century study of the forces acting between one body and another, gave the following definition of physical science: [2]

Physical science is the study of natural phenomena in which the energy of a material system is conceived as determined by the configuration and motion of that system, and in which the ideas of configuration, motion, and force are generalized to the utmost extent warranted by their physical definitions.”

In 1912, German physical chemist Wilhelm Ostwald defined physical science, rather cogently, as a synthesis of mechanics, physics, and chemistry, centered around the study of energy: [2]

“There now follows a group of physical sciences, which are referred to as mechanics, physics and chemistry. They also correspond to an increasing diversity of the considered properties or relations and have also its summary term. This is the concept of energy, such as the physical sciences can be summarized as the study of the various activities of the energy.”

This outline, in modern terms, one of the central aspects of a hard science.

The following is a relevant poem excerpt:

“See how physical science which is reason’s trade
And high profession, booketh ever and docketeth
All things in order and pattern.”
— Robert Bridges (1929), Testament of Beauty [4]

1. (a) Booth, Verne H. and Bloom, Mortimer L. (1972). Physical Science: a Study of Matter and Energy. MacMillan.
(b) Tillery, Bill W. (2008). Physical Science. McGraw-Hill.
2. Maxwell, James. (1876). Matter and Motion (preface). Publisher.
3. Ostwald, Wilhelm. (1912). Der Energetische Imperativ (The Energetic Imperative) (pgs. 52-56). Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft.
4. Farmelo, Graham. (2009). The Strangest Man: the Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom (pg. 149). Basic Books.

External links
‚óŹ Outline of physical science – Wikipedia.

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