Welcome to my third “Science Answers” post! About a month ago, I sent out a post requesting science questions from all of you; you can find it here. This post addresses the third of the questions I was asked. If you have a question, you can ask it in the comments here or on that post, or ask it in an email. Or find me on Facebook!
Q: What is the division between the physical and life sciences? For example, why do we think of rocks in a different category than we do plants and animals? (asked by Katherine)
Okay, wow. Another great question! This one is almost as fundamental as gravity, which I answered earlier.
Gravity may be pretty much the singular reason why the universe works the way it does, but the difference between the physical and life sciences is an important distinction when trying to understand the world around us.
So let’s start with what we know. When you hear “physical science,” what do you think of?
You might think of any number of things—but I’ll bet you that none of those things are alive in the traditional sense.
So, how about the biological sciences? What does that make you think of?
Maybe plants…or cute animals?
Whatever you think of, I’m going to guess they’re all alive.
But what makes something alive or not alive? What makes zebras leap and run, whereas rocks are forever immobile? What makes these living beings different from a vast galaxy or the Pillars of Creation? Continue reading