Does biology exist without physics

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What is physics

 

What distinguishes physics from other natural sciences?

Classical natural sciences are biology, chemistry and physics.

There are numerous other scientific disciplines such as astronomy, biochemistry, geology, meteorology, pharmacy, etc., but these are always derivatives (sub-areas, specializations, deepenings) of one (rarely several) of the first three.

In popular literature in particular, physics is often referred to as the basic science. If that were really the case, then all other natural sciences would be based more or less on physics. In fact, that is not the case. For example, there is almost no overlap between physics and biology; The biology is 100% based on independent foundations and for the most part gets by without physics at all. It is similar with chemistry: although it builds on physics in selected sub-areas, it is still largely based on independent foundations.

There is almost no point in studying physics as a budding biologist or chemist, as the basic methodologies are far too different. (Of course it is advantageous for chemists and biologists to know at least the basics of physics).

Natural sciences have things and phenomena of nature as the subject of research. All the similarities are already mentioned.

Biology and chemistry can be characterized quite clearly based on the nature of their research subjects:
Chemistry is about the composition and changes of substances, i.e. chemical elements, molecules and their reactions with one another. Basically everything that has to do with the periodic table.
As the name suggests, biology is about living beings in the broadest sense.

Physics, on the other hand, cannot be so easily characterized on the basis of the research objects; you have to go a different way here.

Even at school it is noticeable that physics goes hand in hand with a high proportion of mathematics. At the university, mathematics comes to the fore even more. (In the first two physics semesters you even have more math than physics)
It is now natural to say that physics deals with things that are mathematically easy to grasp. Although this formulation bridles the horse from behind, it comes very close to the matter. The following is more applicable:

Physics deals with everything that can be reduced / simplified to a manageable level while still retaining the aspects that are of interest (to be clarified). The simplified is finally summarized in mathematical terms in such a way that the entire system can be characterized with just a few parameters.

From this formulation it follows that the type and size of the system under consideration are not decisive, but rather whether one can draw the system boundaries or turn and turn it so that it can be mathematically grasped.

Of course, this limits the research subjects in question; The question is how.
Let's take a look at the major subject areas of a physics degree (only mandatory lectures, no elective lectures).
The representation has been chosen so that it reflects the approximate relationships over the past few decades. Unfortunately, through "Bologna" coherent areas were torn apart.

Experimental physics
Theoretical physics mathematics
Mechanics, thermodynamics
Classic mechanicsHigher Mathematics I.
Electrodynamics, optics
ElectrodynamicsHigher Mathematics II
Atomic physics
Statistical MechanicsHigher Mathematics III
Nuclear physics
Quantum mechanics
Molecular physics
Continuum mechanics

Solid state physics



Apart from the high proportion of mathematics, the strict separation between experimental physics and theoretical physics is striking: this is a clear distinguishing feature from all other natural sciences (including derivatives).
While theoretical physics has been firmly institutionalized for a good 100 years, theoretical biology leads a shadowy existence at best, and theoretical chemistry is very reminiscent of physics, which you can already see from the names, e.g. physical chemistry, quantum chemistry.

As already mentioned, the areas mentioned in the table represent the compulsory portion, so only form the basis. In particular, the theories of relativity, for example, are missing.
But even the base can be turned and turned however you want, it remains a general store, the contents of which cannot be described in a few words.

The table can therefore be understood as a list of those areas in which the following (already described above) was and is possible:

Physics deals with everything that can be reduced / simplified to a manageable level while still retaining the aspects that are of interest (to be clarified). The simplified is finally summarized in mathematical terms in such a way that the entire system can be characterized with just a few parameters.

So it is the methodology that distinguishes physics from other natural sciences:

1. High mathematical proportion, mathematics in general as an almost exclusive language to express scientific content.
2. Institutionalized theoretical approach, i.e. systematically detached from experimental work.

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