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Physics is the most broad and respected science?

  1. Jan 29, 2005 #1
    Physics is the most broad and respected science?!?

    What do you think guys.
    is physics the hardest, most respected, most broad ranging science?
    that you can do any thing you want with it?

    what do you think?

    what is the study of physics like and what happens after?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2005 #2
    We should try to avoid the word "hardest" or "most respected" on any science. Any branch of science could be very hard and
    deserve the respect from the people. :)

    Just find out what you feel interested to study because it would
    last longer so that you can find the beauty of it.
     
  4. Jan 29, 2005 #3
    It's unfair to say it's the most-respected (or words to that effect), but I certainly enjoy it much more than the others.

    It has the ability to be mind-numbingly difficult and be incredibly interesting at the same time - thus it's so satisfying when you get it right :smile:
     
  5. Jan 29, 2005 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    It is [was?] common to view math and science as a tree. The roots are mathematics, the trunk is physics, and all other sciences are like the branches; with many more branches growing out from each main branch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  6. Jan 29, 2005 #5

    Mk

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    Yeah, its the trunk of the tree, and all other sciences grow outward. Interactions between matter and energy, that's as broad as you can get!
     
  7. Jan 29, 2005 #6

    All other sciences are just applications of physics.

    Physics --> Chemistry--->Biology
    __________________ |
    _______________Psychology
     
  8. Jan 29, 2005 #7

    JasonRox

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    Physics may be the most respected, but that certainly doesn't say that it is the hardest.

    If you love Physics, you would never label it as hard. The word hard seems like a negative word, so let's use the word fun or exciting.
     
  9. Jan 30, 2005 #8
    I'm not sure if it was just my view, or the accepted view, but it seems like when i was very young physics was just another branch of science no different than chemistry, geology etc. but as I've grown up physics has begun to explain so many different things that it has grown to encompass most branches. Chemistry has become a small twig of physics. As soon as physics completely explains the brain it will engulf the soft sciences as well.
     
  10. Jan 30, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Not really tribdog. Physics addresses the fundamental questions of science. For example, one still haunting the physics community is the question of what constitutes a measurement. You can't get much more basic than that.
     
  11. Jan 30, 2005 #10
    What did you think I said? I don't disagree with what you said.
     
  12. Jan 30, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    You are saying that it has begun to do various things. The laws of physics are fundamental to all other disciplines. This has not grown to be this way. It has always been this way since science began.
     
  13. Jan 30, 2005 #12
    math>physics>chemistry>biology :biggrin:
     
  14. Jan 30, 2005 #13

    Gokul43201

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    Don't know about that...but physicists sure have the best stories to tell.
     
  15. Jan 30, 2005 #14

    Of course we do, we had Feynman for cryingn out loud!
     
  16. Jan 30, 2005 #15
    So what lead to math?

    :rofl: na-na-na-nah
     
  17. Jan 30, 2005 #16
    What I meant to say is that peoples perception of physics is changing to encompass other fields. For example, chemistry was needed to explain properties of elements and compounds. Now, using physics we know why a compound is a certain color, or why it melts at a certain temperature. Often now we can know the properties of a compound without ever seeing it. If all physics could be written in one book, one of those chapters would be chemistry. while the reverse isn't true. I've seen a change in perception of, and application of, physics even in the short time I've been alive.
     
  18. Jan 30, 2005 #17

    JasonRox

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    You misunderstood his post.

    As he was growing up, Physics started to explain much more than other branches of science, such as Chemistry.
     
  19. Jan 30, 2005 #18
    I have to agree with you here. Especially in the case of chemistry, which is really based upon quantum mechanics. (others as well, such as thermochemistry)
     
  20. Jan 30, 2005 #19

    Gokul43201

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    Yes Chemistry may be rooted in physics in the sense that the final answer to a chain of "why" questions is often be something like "If you really want to know why that is so, you have to do the QM calculations".

    Example :
    But surely, physics would not attempt to answer all the intermediate questions leading up to the last few.

    Physics has not been encroaching on chemistry. This perception is likely coming from the fact that a lot of the physics that is useful for chemistry gets taught in chemistry class, and hence is naively thought to be chemistry...until you later take more physics courses and learn that the chemistry you were taught was discovered by physicists. No, it was always physics when they tought you the Hund's Rules or the shapes of the orbitals...it's just that these things are often more useful to chemists than to physicists.

    While physics has grown to explain the basis of several chemical phenomena (for which, there was no theoretical basis, say a century ago) chemistry too has grown immensely from these foundations. But this foundation has been completely laid by the physics, and no new physics will be needed to answer the final "why" question of any new chemistry.


    [/quote]
     
  21. Jan 30, 2005 #20

    Moonbear

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    When I was a kid, I was given the impression of each of the sciences being branches on a tree, and in college was given the impression physics was the trunk of that tree. Now, I have a completely different view. I see all the sciences woven together as one very complicated net or web. None is better than the others, none is the foundation of all the others, instead, each works toward gaining understanding about our universe and everything in it from different approaches and levels, yet are all interdependent on one another. With fields such as molecular biology and physical biochemistry, clear boundaries between the sciences have been thoroughly blurred, as they should be, because the creation of dividing lines between the sciences is arbitrary to begin with.
     
  22. Jan 30, 2005 #21

    arildno

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    Just adding a comment to Moonbear's here:
    If the much-sought TOE is ever found, it will not make physicists despondent of finding new research fields, rather they will be jubilant and think "FINALLY, we have got a truly solid foundation to start understanding physics from. Large-scale systems, here we come!"

    My Dad, who worked as a biologist is fond of saying that with our understanding of the genetic code, finally biology gained a solid foundation to build upon.
    It's a bit extreme, but in my view, warranted.
     
  23. Jan 30, 2005 #22

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was thinking something similar last night. Even though now we consider that early scientists were doing physics, in many cases we only recognize this as physics in retrospect. At the time it may have been considered alchemy, astrology, metallurgy... So in a way, physics has sprang from the other sciences with only the name to clearly define which is which. But it is still unavoidable that all physical interactions depend on the laws of physics at the most basic level. Also, QM is now integral to some fields of biology. The folks at SLAC are doing lots of physics for biologist these days. But these are complimentary disciplines, not competitive ones. Each plays a different role and no one is more "important" than the other. We need to resolve the measurement problem in physics, and this will never be a subject of biology, but this will likely never contribute to a cure for cancer either.
     
  24. Jan 30, 2005 #23

    Moonbear

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    It's all a matter of whether you are approaching the question from the top down or from the bottom up. We're just really hoping that when we get to the middle, they all meet up. :bugeye:
     
  25. Jan 30, 2005 #24

    Monique

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    To say that physics is the most broad and respected science, is a very subjective and maybe even narrow minded vision. Look for instance what biology has done for medicine. Ofcourse physics stands at the basis of many sciences, since physics describes the interaction of matter as we know it. But physics won't explain what happens when base A is replaced by base G in a biological system since biological information is necessary.
     
  26. Jan 30, 2005 #25

    Tom Mattson

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    Physics is the most broad only in principle, but to say that all of chemistry and biology is explained by physics requires a lot of handwaving. No one can start from the Standard Model and derive predictions on what I am going to type next. As for most respected science? I suppose you'd have to take a poll. I think I read somewhere that to the public at large, the most interesting sciences are:

    1. Astronomy
    2. Dinosaurs (Paleontology)

    But I'd think that anyone who has ever been sick would have to say, when pressed, that doctors are the most respected scientists.
     
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