What Is Natural Science?

Unlike other types of science, such as physics or chemistry, natural science comprises multiple disciplines with the ultimate goal to better understand how the world around us works and functions.

Often, natural science is confused with other types of science and concepts. But why is this the case? For starters, the term is poorly translated between countries, causing further misunderstanding. Second, the word “natural” contains various meanings, allowing others to interpret it individually. 

With so much confusion, it’s no surprise that only a few people know what natural science actually is, and that’s usually those either studying the discipline or who work in a similar role already.

But with the confusing part out of the way, the remainder of this article will explain more on the concept, including more info on the different branches, how it’s different from chemistry, and some real-life examples.

What are the five branches of natural science?

Within natural science, there are five branches; these are as follows:

  • Astronomy 
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Earth sciences 

Each of these individual disciplines works together to better understand and seek explanations for the rules of the world – essentially how everything works. The better we understand the natural world, the greater change we can create, the more innovative we can be, and the faster pace we can live thanks to new developments.

We will now explain each branch in more detail.


Astronomy is the study of space and the physical universe, with a focus on planets, galaxies, stars, moons, and comets. Basically, it’s everything away from Earth, with a lot of objects we can’t see with the naked eye. 


You’re likely a little more familiar with biology than astronomy. However, if you’re unsure, biology is the study of human life. This can include plants and animals, the human body, and other living organisms.


Chemistry looks at different elements and how they react with one another. There are multiple branches too, including nuclear, biophysical, and environmental chemistry.

Chemistry often complements physics (and other sciences), helping us better understand concepts such as gravity and mass. 


Physics helps us understand how the universe behaves, focusing on concepts such as gravity, heat, light, sound, and radiation. 

As part of natural science, physics is fundamental. 

Earth sciences

Often, many people confuse the single discipline of earth science with natural chemistry. However, they are quite different.

For example, earth sciences focus specifically on the planet earth. The more we know about earth sciences, the more we can evolve, learn from past mistakes, and create a better future for all. 

How is natural science different to chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of properties; how they interact with one another, and the various changes substances undergo. 

Natural science, on the other hand, contains multiple branches, of which one is chemistry. Therefore, natural sciences uses chemistry to complement other branches to make better sense of the world around us, as opposed to understanding a singular concept or natural reaction.

What are some examples of natural science?

There are many examples of natural science; however, one relatively popular one is climate change. For instance, the different branches complement one another to help us better understand the consequences, how to prevent further destruction, and even reach beyond that: plans to leave the planet and colonize another, such as mars.

While it may seem a long stretch, other scientists would work closely with those focused on the natural world. 

Is it easy to study?

Natural sciences can be very difficult to study, mainly as it contains multiple branches of science, a bit of mathematics, and earth sciences. 

Although you won’t be required to be an expert in all disciplines, you will need more than sufficient knowledge of each – so it’s a lot of hard work!

Related: Why do people study chemistry? 

The bottom line 

Natural science is more complicated than it may seem, made up of five individual disciplines that complement one another so that we can better understand the world around us, not only on planet earth, but the entire solar system.

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