Question Video: Identifying Subjects Can Be Classified as Physical Science Chemistry

Chemistry can be classified as a physical science. Which of the following is not physical science? [A] Physics [B] Astronomy [C] Earth Science [D] Material Science [E] Biology

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Video Transcript

Chemistry can be classified as a physical science. Which of the following is not physical science? (A) Physics, (B) astronomy, (C) Earth science, (D) material science, or (E) biology.

The sciences in general can be grouped into mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and human behavior. This pyramid is a simple way to show how mathematics could be argued to be the foundation for all science, how physics is dependent on mathematics, how chemistry is based on physics, biology on chemistry, and human behavior or human sciences in part on biology. Mathematics and its related disciplines are called the formal sciences. Biology, chemistry, and physics are called the natural or pure sciences and human behavior, social sciences. Natural sciences can be further split into the life sciences and physical sciences.

The question tells us that chemistry is a physical science. The physical science studies the nonliving systems of the natural world and universe and the rules which govern them, while the life sciences studies living systems and the rules which govern these. The two main disciplines in the physical sciences are physics and chemistry. The simple pyramid is a useful way to show the first level grouping of the sciences. However, it does not show how the different layers of the pyramid interrelate and connect to each other.

There are many subcategories linking the different layers. For example, although astronomy is not shown on this pyramid, it has to do with chemistry and physics and even some mathematics. We could say that astronomy is a physical science. The question asks, “Which of the answers is not physical science?” Astronomy is not an answer because it is a physical science. And so it’s physics. Material science is a physical science. Its study has largely to do with chemistry and physics. We can also rule out Earth science. Earth science also encompasses large areas of chemistry and physics study. We can see that biology is a life science, so this is the correct answer. So which of the following is not physical science? The answer is biology.

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