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What field deals with the following fundamental questions?

  1. Sep 5, 2015 #1
    Physics deals with finding out the basic rules by which the universe works. For me, physics is the most fundamental understanding of the universe. So theoretically, everything could be explained by the laws of physics. Is there any field that deals with the idea?

    Similarly, chemistry is figuring out the rules by which matter around us behaves. I see chemistry as applied physics. Laws of chemistry could be explained by physics. But since there is too many things going on, we can't really explain it using laws of physics. So we don't approach studying chemistry by studying physics but we take a different approach.
    Which field deals with such ideas i.e. chemistry is applied physics, approach taken to study it etc.

    Similarly, there are other fundamental questions like following:-
    - Mathematics could be the language of universe i.e. maybe everything could be expressed as a number
    - Everything is built layer upon layer. Atoms, molecules are made up of more fundamental particles. Matter is made of atoms, molecules etc. Basically, physics -> chemistry -> biology -> psychology etc.

    I know these all are just ideas and not concrete statements but is there any field that studies this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2015 #2
    What approach is that? At the end of the day everything comes down to mathematical physics. It's as simple as that. It comes down to especially satisfying "action/Lagrangian" and gauge symmetry laws in your mathematical modelling, as far as I've learned. Making sure all the laws of your model are frame invariant.
  4. Sep 5, 2015 #3


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    The broad of science attempts to study/observe the universe/Nature and answer the questions concerning its nature and behavior. Mathematics is a human abstraction based on our desire to quantify, i.e., count and measure, things.

    The distinction between physics and chemistry is arbitrary, since they are different perspectives on the study of the nature of things. Certainly chemistry doesn't necessarily delve into the particle physics, but there is a field of nuclear chemistry, which deals with the fact that elements exist as isotopes. There are fields of chemical physics and physical chemistry, which have some commonality with condensed matter physics.

    The universe/Nature is what it is and does what it does, and the challenge for us is to figure it out.

    The universe/Nature cannot be quantified by a single number, although 42 may be one possibility.
  5. Sep 5, 2015 #4
    I know you jest, but trust me, 42 is going to pop up somewhere, and when it does, it's going to be BIG
  6. Sep 5, 2015 #5


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    Obligatory XKCD comic:
    On the other hand, physicists like to say physics is to math as sex is to masturbation.
  7. Oct 2, 2015 #6
    Hi Ygggdrasil:

    I take your post as (mostly?) humorous, but I think many physicists may take it as gospel, and may see science as a whole as entirely reductionist. To what extent are emergent (non-reductionist) phenomena scienifically accepted as part of "the world".

    A "helpful" metaphor would be (1) application software "science" is applied (2) system software "science", system software "science" is applied (3) firmware "science", and firmware "science is (4) applied hardware "science".

  8. Oct 4, 2015 #7
    If a field has "science" in its name, then it isn't science.
  9. Oct 4, 2015 #8
    Hi Hornbein:

    Thanks for your post. You have an interesting heuristic for determining what isn't science. Or perhaps you inadvertantly omitited the wink emoticon: ;)
    computer science
    medical science
    life science
    social science
    political science​

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