Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.

  1. Sep 30, 2006 #1
    "Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting."

    "Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting."

    -- Ernest Rutherford

    How valid is this statement. I think it has a lot of validity considering the fact that you are learning the fundamental laws of the universe and nature. You are basically studying the "Mind Of God". Where as other sciences such as social science, geology, biology and even chemistry are more specific into detail that may be more mundane that what physics teaches. Physics seems to be the big picture of science, and thus its essence as well.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2006 #2

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    A silly statement of Rutherford's indicative of the all-too common physicist's flaw of wholly unjustified arrogance.

    The inability of physics to come up with any useful predictions within fields like biology or the social sciences (due to the mathematically unmanageable wealth of parameters involved) is a case in point.

    And who cares, really, whether a star light-years away from us has a lot higher density than our own sun (and that we may predict&compute it)?

    The activity to develop conceptual tools effective in the study of fields like biology or the social sciences is no less intellectually challenging than developing the mathematical tools usable in physics.
    Ingenious experiments must be thought out to show this or that in biology, and Emile Durkheim's thoughtful analysis of the suicide phenomenon must be considered good research.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2006
  4. Sep 30, 2006 #3

    -Job-

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Of course physics explains the fundamental laws of the universe with the more fundamental field of Mathematics, if you want to go thataway.
     
  5. Sep 30, 2006 #4

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Well, it is debatable if maths should be called a "science". In many respects, it is more akin to art/philosophy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2006
  6. Sep 30, 2006 #5
    maths is beautiful.
    i agree though that statement isn't very good. shows a lot of arrogance.
     
  7. Sep 30, 2006 #6
    i completely agree since the amount of mental gymanastics that is required
    Mathmetics is only abstract unless it is being used in physics
     
  8. Sep 30, 2006 #7
    I'm kind of opposed to the whole "physics is the holy grail" type thing..
    It's done a very good job of explaining larger parts of the physical world, but what if there are other things to study?

    Like the mind and um, dare I say "soul?"
     
  9. Sep 30, 2006 #8

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    as far as I can tell, physics is the fundamental science. Chemistry and Biology can be broken down into physical systems, sure, but it seems like it would be a hassle and take more time, whereas biologists and chemists have excellent models of their systems that work well enough for scientific advancement.

    Biology itself is one of the most diverse and fastly developing sicences right now, and its been very benficial to humanity. It wouldn't be like this if physicists were researching biology. It would take wayyyy longer.
     
  10. Sep 30, 2006 #9
    It could've been influenced by the state of the other sciences compared to physics during Rutherford's time. (?)
     
  11. Sep 30, 2006 #10

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Perhaps. Physics was revolutionizing a lot of other sciences around the time. In fact, I think the major developments in genetics/DNA/molecular biology were a result of quantum physics.

    I know in the class, physical chemistry (required for chem majors) they use schroedinger's equation a lot.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2006
  12. Oct 1, 2006 #11
    Keep in mind though that the mind is a product of the brain. How the brain is set will determine how a person acts and since your brain is made of matter, it does lead much of its research on the physical aspects of it. And your brain does follow the laws of physics ;).

    One aspect about the mind that physics could probably never explain however is conscious self awareness.
     
  13. Oct 1, 2006 #12
    I dunno man.. Definitions seem to change as opinions do, what we need is one grand and complete definition on what the mind, conscious experience and self awareness is, then we might be able to explain it physically.

    I mean once we understand something completely there is no other way..
     
  14. Oct 7, 2006 #13
    I sort of think that some sciences are rooted in physics but they shouldn't be considered subordinate because of this. I think biology and chemistry are equally important as much as physics.

    Although...cosmetic science is pretty useless (for the stupid shampoo commercials and skin crap on tv). I coukd argue some, like this science, are useless but ultmately, phyiscs, biology, and chemistry are the most important.
     
  15. Oct 7, 2006 #14

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Hmm..cosmetic science makes a lot more people happy than theoretical physics ever did..
    What you regard as "important" depends on which parameters you think define "importance".
     
  16. Oct 7, 2006 #15

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed


    Surely you jest?:rofl:

    Theoretical Physicist Maxwell -> Hertz -> Marconi -> Electronics -> Radio, TV and Computers. Half the population doen't go to cosmetologists, but everybody watches TV and/or uses a computer.
     
  17. Oct 7, 2006 #16

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Okay, I was sort of stretching the truth a bit, just for disagreement's sake. :smile:


    Besides, is television more important than an eyeliner? :wink:
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2006
  18. Oct 7, 2006 #17
    They needed Radio, need TV, and more recently the web, to advertise their products! They need photoshop->which runs on a computer-> to fool the people.
     
  19. Oct 7, 2006 #18

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    But they need the eyeliner to APPEAR on the television! :smile:


    (Hmm..methinks I'm getting silly here..)
     
  20. Oct 7, 2006 #19
    Glad to know. ;)
     
  21. Oct 8, 2006 #20
    " Physics is the Queen of Science, and Mathematical Physics is just the Queen of the Physics"..... :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.
  1. Stamp collecting (Replies: 24)

Loading...