The 6 main branches of the natural sciences
How we breathe or how our heart beats, how the force of gravity works, what is lightning, what does water consist of… are aspects that have often captivated human beings and have led them to try to find an explanation.
This has led to the emergence of many ideas on this subject, and the emergence of different disciplines that have been interested in responding to the various questions that we face.
Throughout this article we will see which are the branches of the natural sciences , one of the most important scientific fields.
In science there are many objects of study and a wide variety of disciplines that are dedicated to studying them. The variety is so great that classifications have often been made. The best known and probably one of the simplest (and to some extent arbitrary), is the one that divides the sciences into natural and social .
With regard to the former, we can find that those branches that are in charge of studying the natural world, its composition and functioning, are part of this group. For example, all the previous examples are studied by different branches of the natural sciences.
To talk about the natural sciences is to talk about the kind of questions that human beings have been asking about the universe since the dawn of time, probably the oldest of all sciences.
Natural sciences are all those scientific disciplines that have as a common characteristic the fact of having as object of study the natural (material) world and the phenomena that occur in it.
They also have in common that they are generally the type of science that has focused most on seeking an explanation that is far removed from subjectivity and based on evidence , as well as those most related to the field of mathematics and logic.
It helps that their object of study is usually directly visible or perceptible (which in the case of the social sciences is much more complex to achieve, so they have always been seen as more subjective).
Within the natural sciences we can find a great diversity of disciplines referring to a great diversity of aspects of the natural world.
The main branches of the natural sciences
Below we show some of the most relevant disciplines that form the branches of natural sciences.
Being one of the basic fundamental sciences, physics is one of the best known branches of the natural sciences, which is dedicated to the study of the properties of matter and energy , as well as the laws that govern them and the interactions that they maintain between them.
Physics is one of the oldest natural sciences and one of the first sciences to be considered as such. Although it has a very extensive theoretical body, it is a science that is not limited to mere theory but has great applicability in a wide variety of fields.
In fact, from it arise many other sub disciplines such as mechanics, thermodynamics, optics , electromagnetism or acoustics, or even can be linked with other sciences as in the case of biophysics or astrophysics for example. Aspects such as space and time are also valued, and even research is carried out into how they work.
One of the main branches of the natural sciences is chemistry, which has as its object of study the composition and structure of matter (whether organic or inorganic), as well as its properties and the interactions between different types of existing matter.
Chemistry has enabled the development of a large number of elements useful for life and survival, including among others the development of pharmacology.
Partly related to the previous sciences, geology is one of the branches of natural science that is least often thought of but which has great utility for human beings.
It studies the Earth and its origin, composition, structure and evolution throughout history . Thanks to it we can analyze the soils, the behavior of the interior of the Earth or the movement of the tectonic plates, something that facilitates the practice of construction or agriculture or allows us to prevent disasters like earthquakes.
Astronomy is another major scientific discipline within the natural sciences. In this case the object of study is none other than the cosmos, its structure and composition, its behaviour and movements .
It is deeply related to physics, and can in fact be considered a specialized derivation of it.
Biology is one of the most relevant scientific disciplines and is among those that generally have a more perceptible object of study: living beings, their structure, their functioning and the vital processes through which they pass.
Within this macro-science we can find different specializations or sub-branches, such as zoology (animals), ecology (natural systems), molecular biology (cells and molecules), botany (plants), microbiology (bacteria and viruses) or mycology (fungi). We could also consider that anatomy would be part of it.
6. Medicine and health sciences
One of the branches of the natural sciences that has been most useful for humanity and its direct survival is medicine, through which we study the human organism, its healthy functioning and the possible pathologies or injuries that it may suffer in order to allow us to survive and maintain the population’s state of health.
Within medicine there are also a large number of branches, including cardiology, neurology, pneumology, psychiatry and obstetrics, among many others.
However, there are other sciences linked to health. Examples are nursing, clinical psychology or pharmacology, in addition to veterinary science. However, both medicine and all the health sciences are considered partly natural and partly social, although they are generally more closely linked to the natural sciences. In the case of psychology, depending on the particular branch, it will be one or the other.
- Barr, S. M. (2006). A Students Guide to Natural Science. Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
- Oglivie, B. W. (2008). The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.