Barger, Vernon D. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:December 2020
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The study of matter, energy, and forces. Physical science is generally considered to include astronomy, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, meteorology, and physics. These fields overlap more or less, as illustrated by astrophysics, chemical physics, physical chemistry, and geophysics. There is overlap, likewise, between the physical and biological sciences, as seen in biochemistry, biophysics, virology, and the close relation between geology and paleontology. The boundaries implied in all such classifications are artificial and consist of regions where one field shades into another. Where distinctions can be more clearly drawn is at the higher level of historically dividing science into social science and natural science, where the latter is then further subdivided into biology and physical science, but again, there is overlap across every individualized field of science with other fields (see illustration). See also: Astronomy; Chemistry; Geology; Meteorology; Mineralogy; Physics
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