Thursday, February 23, 2017

My thoughts- Physics vs Chemistry

Since the apple fell from the tree and landed on Sir Issac Newton's head, physics has been a subject that was at the forefront of science. It created the basics to our understanding of the world around us and helped answer some of the most trying questions that puzzled even the smartest philosophers. However, it seems as though conventional physics has begun to die down as we get into a more complex field that doesn't follow the same rules: quantum physics. This field started answering questions that scientists in other fields hadn't even thought of yet. One of these fields was chemistry. The question is why physics has been able to come so much farther and has so much more focus than chemistry.

Well to answer this question, we must first look at the beginnings of chemistry. The origins of chemistry can be found in alchemy with the aim special metals using less special materials. For example, trying to create gold from less valuables like copper and iron. Of course this wasn't possible. However, alchemy was still practiced for centuries driven forward by myths of success passed around by the loosely connected world of the 1500s.

During all of this time, physics had already been a respected science for centuries. Newton had created the founding principles to the field, but he was among several prodigious scientists studying similar things and he certainly wasn't the first. Physics goes back all the way to the Ancient Greeks like Democritus and Leucippus. It is regarded as the most basic science and was even known as natural philosophy until the 19th century.

Physics had entered a new field in the 1900s with the understanding of subatomic particles and energy. Quantum physics started being studied with Albert Einstein's theory, E=mc^2, commonly being associated with it. This new field allowed for the subject to be expanded to solve many problems and applications previously thought unrelated and impossible. This made the millennia old science a new cutting edge discovery with much to discover for new scientists.

The question is if in time Chemistry will have a similar expansion such as a study of of different elements in the island if stability or different materials for space exploration. Although this may happen, even then, the line between chemistry has become so vague with physics often being used to theorize in chemistry.

However, even still, why is it that quantum physics is often seen as a more complex subject than chemistry. My current idea is that the shear number of discoveries in quantum physics being made everyday about subjects that most would have a very difficult time grasping, just outnumber those made about pure chemistry. However, applied chemistry surrounds us everywhere, and it will continue to be very important in the constantly evolving world around us.

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