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What are the branches of physics/Definitions/classifications

Physics is the science that studies the properties of energy and matter and the relationships between them, with matter being the spatial reality that is perceivable through the senses and from which everything that exists is made, and energy is made of it. ability to perform a job. What are the branches of physics?

Physics as a science has a very wide scope of study , since we are talking about the study of everything that exists in our reality. So making classifications of the branches of physics accurately is very difficult.

But in this article we will make a chronological classification of this science and we will explain some of its main branches. We will also show you another type of classification associated with the object of study.

Chronologically speaking, physics is divided into three branches: classical physics , which comes from ages before ancient Greece; modern physics , the study of which begins in the early 20th century; and contemporary physics , the study of which began in the late 20th century.

1. Classical physics

The branch of classical physics that is the one that studies phenomena that have a small speed if it is compared with the speed of light, and in turn if the spatial scales are higher than that of molecules and atoms

As we indicated at the beginning, physics is a very broad science, so classical physics in turn is subdivided into 5 different areas:


It is the science that studies the laws of the behavior of physical objects or bodies in a state of rest and in motion, at low speeds, using the speed of light (299 792 458 m / s) as a comparison parameter.


(Electricity and magnetism) : it is the study and unification of electrical and magnetic phenomena in a single theory. Through his approaches, he explains geo-magnetic and electromagnetic phenomena, describing how charged particles of atoms interact. What are the branches of physics?


It is the part of physics in charge of studying the behavior of light. It is one of the oldest branches of physics, since the phenomena of refraction and reflection have been known since ancient times.


It consists of the study of sound as a mechanical wave propagated through matter in its three states: solid, liquid and gas.

In turn, each of these areas of study is subdivided into even more specific areas of study, such as thermodynamics , which is part of the physics that studies mechanics, focused on heat as a source of movement.

2. Modern Physics

The branch of modern physics studies the phenomena that occur at the speed of light or at speeds close to it, and whose spatial scales correspond to that of atoms. Is a relatively young science whose beginnings go back to the beginnings of the 20th century, when the German Mark Planck began his research on the “how much” ( quantum ) of energy. What are the branches of physics?

The word “how much” comes from the Latin “quantus”, which means quantity, and denotes in quantum physics it is “ the minimum value that a certain magnitude can take in a physical system” , or the minimum variation of this when passing from a discreet state to another.

In modern physics there are two main areas of study:


It is an area of ​​modern physics that deals with the study of nature on a very small spatial scale, specifically on an atomic and subatomic scale, explaining the properties of its components: protons, electrons, neutrons and quarks, among others. The first proponent of a properly quantum principle is attributed to Mark Planck in the year 1900, with the purpose of solving the problem of black body radiation, and that would be harshly questioned until Albert Einstein turns it into a principle that can successfully explain that effect.


He is in charge of the study of the theory of relativity postulated by the scientist of German origin Albert Einstein, published in 1905 in his version “special theory of relativity”, and in 1915-1916 his “general theory of relativity”. The first theory arises from the observation that the speed of light in vacuum is the same in all inertial reference frames and from obtaining all the consequences of Galileo’s principle of relativity. The second theory includes gravity and includes accelerated frames of reference. What are the branches of physics?

3. Contemporary Physics

Contemporary physics, whose focus “is the study of the complexity of nature, of non-linear phenomena, of processes outside of thermodynamic equilibrium, and of phenomena that occur at mesoscopic scales”, is the newest of physics. . Its beginnings are located at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

Within the branch of contemporary physics are the following studies:


It studies the systems of nature outside of thermodynamic equilibrium, this equilibrium being the one that presents a system that is incapable of spontaneously experiencing a change in its state when subjected to the conditions of its environment. Among the studies included in this branch are:


It is a branch of physics, which through probability theory, is capable of deducing the behavior of macroscopic systems made up of a significant amount of equivalent elements, from certain hypotheses about these elements and their mutual interactions.


It deals with the study of the slow passage of fluids through porous materials, such as the filtration process or the movement of a solvent through filter paper. What are the branches of physics?


It is the science that studies the highly unpredictable behavior present in nature, and that can be verified both in simple mechanical systems and in the trajectories of stellar objects, in chemical reactions, or in biological systems of predators and prey. Nonlinear dynamics studies:


The mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz discovered that a simple model for predicting the weather had the butterfly effect, which establishes that a small variation in the initial conditions of a system can greatly vary its future evolution. This behavior was called “chaos.” This theory considers that everything that exists is interconnected, and conceived as a whole.


Or turbulent flow, it is a flow regime that has low diffusion of moment, rapid spatio-temporal changes of pressure and velocity, as well as high convection.


They represent the infinite feedbacks, the dynamic systems, the geometry of nature, and everything that cannot be measured in Euclidean terms. A fractal is a representation of infinity.


They consist of the study of systems composed of several parts that are interconnected or linked and whose links create new information that was not visible before by the observer. As a result of these interactions, new properties emerge, which cannot be explained starting from the properties of each element in isolation. This study includes: What are the branches of physics?

  • Sociophysics : it is based on the study of collective interactions in societies, using the methods and concepts of the physics of complex systems.
  • Econphysics : seeks to understand and solve economic problems based on theories and methods developed by physicists.
  • Self-organizing criticality: describes the classes of dynamic systems that, as attractors, use critical points in their time evolution.
  • Complex networks : they refer to networks that have certain non-trivial topological and statistical properties and that do not occur in simple networks.

4. Classification of physics by object of study

Another way to group the branches of physics is through the object of study. Using this approximation we find the following:


It is a part of astronomy and it deals with the general laws of the origin and evolution of the universe as a unit.


It is a branch of physics that studies the physical properties of celestial bodies, such as planets, suns and galaxies, among others.


It is a part of geology that focuses on the study of terrestrial physics.


It is the application of the principles and methods of physics in the study of biological phenomena.


It is the field within physics that is responsible for the study and behavior of atoms and all their components.


The science within physics that studies the properties and behaviors of atomic nuclei.


It is the science of generating, controlling and detecting photons. In particular, in the visible spectrum and in the near infrared.

Physics represents the possibility of being able to know and explain our reality, and everything that makes it up. And more and more fields of study are opening , because although it seems that we know a lot, we are still in diapers when it comes to knowing everything. What are the branches of physics?

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