You can break up the world of science into many different areas of study. Two of the best known areas include physics and biology. However, each field has its own points of interest and differs greatly from the other. Learning the key differences between physics and biology plays a vital role in deciding which course of study to choose.
Physics versus Biology
In the study of biology you look at the inner workings of living organisms. This includes everything from the interactions and communities created by multiple organisms to the inner workings of an animal's anatomy. Physicists, on the other hand, study the forces of the world around you. They look at everything from the tiny interactions between two electrons rotating around a nucleus to the force of gravity that makes earth rotate on its axis.
You can divide biology into different subfields. Biologists study the living world, but the purpose of their study can take one of many different routes. A few of the subfields of biology include evolutionary biology and marine biology. Evolutionary biologists study the origins of life and, depending on what you believe, mankind's journey from a single-celled organism to human being. Marine biologists study the organisms present in aquatic environments; this can include anything from tiny organisms such as plankton to large mammals such as whales.
Like biology, physics has many different subareas of study. Most of these areas strive for scientific reasoning by looking at the forces that surround life. A few different areas of physics include astrophysics, particle physics, optical physics and acoustic physics. Astrophysicists look at stars, planets and the forces that allow them to work together in the universe. Particle physicists study the tiny interactions between particles and atoms. Optical physicists examine the attributes of light and lasers while acoustical physicists consider sound. Like biology, physics has many other subfields of study. However, the pursuit and purpose of the subfields of physics differ drastically from the subfields of biology.
Biology and physics have both made tremendous contributions to the world. Most of the notable contributions in biology came in the field of medicine. Through the study of biology, Jonas Salk created a vaccination for polio. Other notable contributions in biology include Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and James Watson and Francis Crick's work involving the structure of DNA.
The works of notable physicists like Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler allowed later physicists to send men to the moon and better understand the workings of the universe. In 1665, Isaac Newton discovered the concept of gravity. Newton's discovery led to many important breakthroughs in physics, such as Einstein's theory of Relativity. Contributions in the world of physics come in a different variety than those in biology, but they have led to just as many important results for mankind.
- Towson University: Why Is Biology Different?
- Bellevue College: What Is Physics?
- Biology Online: Branches of Biology
- George Mason University: Some Subfields of Physics
- University of California, Los Angeles: Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics
- Salk Institute for Biological Studies: About Jonas Salk
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