Friday 31 October 2014

Hierarchy of sciences - 1, Chemistry and Physics

I don't want to start a serious argument on if such a thing exists or not. Just want to talk about a model we can have for all sciences to look at them as a single unique science. When we speak of science, most of us are usually think about physics and chemistry? Forget about the chemistry for a moment, let's talk about the physics.

In my last post, I told that physics can be defined as a science which studies the motion of objects. Objects can be tiny like subatomic particles or gigantic like planets, galaxies and …. OK, now chemistry. Let us talk about the most existing element on the Earth, water. In chemistry, we try to find out what will happen if we bring two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom somehow together and make H2O molecule, perhaps the most familiar formulas in chemistry. We all know both O and H are the gas at room temperature then why water is liquid at the same temperature?

We know that an atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and these particles itself may be made of some other sub-particles. Studying the motion of these particles and sub-particles, defiantly gives us reasons why just 2 atoms of H and 1 atom of O can produce water? (although there are some other types of water consist of heavy H and O, and is liquid too, but we are not running chemistry lesson here, so forget about details …), and why the water is not gas as its atomic components are, but a chemist doesn't like pay attention to these details. 

Chemistry tries to find out the existing rules between atoms, molecules, and other compositions, by rules I mean the structure or properties of the composition and all of these rules or features exist because of the way those subatomic particles interact with each other. But if chemistry wants to deal with studying these interactions, it really will not have a chance to explore the structure or properties of a sophisticated organic compound or a super molecule.

So by now, we somehow can accept that chemistry is nothing more than an abstraction over physics, which lets us study the property of compositions easier than the way we can do it in physics.