Physical Sciences

The Physical Sciences consist of physics, the earth and space sciences, and chemistry — essentially all of the sciences outside of the biological sciences.

Physics is the study of the laws that determine the structure of the universe as it relates to matter and energy. There are many areas of physics that deal with various forms of matter and energy. Areas of physics include mechanics, acoustics, optics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, relativity, and quantum mechanics.

The earth sciences consist of the sciences of the earth and its surroundings: the oceans, the atmosphere, and universe beyond the atmosphere. These sciences include the solid earth sciences of geology and geophysics; chemical, geological, and physical oceanography; atmospheric science; and the astronomical sciences of astrometry, astrophysics, and cosmology.

Chemistry is the central science, offering insights into the makeup of the universe and biological systems. Chemists are on the verge making great breakthroughs in micro-circuitry through the development of nano-sized, carbon-based semiconductors. Other chemists are close to developing oxygen fuel cells aimed at eliminating many pollutants from automobile exhaust and from industrial processes. A greater understanding of the processes leading to, and the potential treatment of, Alzheimer’s disease and the unrelated mad cow disease has come from research conducted by chemists. Think chemistry is only about making paint? Think again and come take a closer look at the real world of chemistry in one of our classes at Polk State College.