Many people confuse chemistry and physics, mainly as some parts intertwine. However, unless you’ve studied both subjects yourself, it can quite easily be simple to become confused, too. Similarly, both chemistry and physics study the science of matter, further complicating things.
Despite this, there is actually a very clear difference between the two subjects. And, therefore, to improve clarity, this article intends to explain these differences, clearing the air once and for all.
Chemistry is the study of chemical reactions
Chemistry is the study of chemical reactions alongside the properties and various individual reactions on a much larger scale. Namely, chemistry studies how different substances and chemicals react with one another, creating new solutions, atomic structures, and more.
Furthermore, chemistry also focuses on discovering new methods to identify molecules, furthering our knowledge of the subject, and in a larger picture, the world. Physics is concerned with discovery too, but in a different way; more on this below.
Physics is the study of nature and the universe
Physics, unlike chemistry, is the study of nature and the universe, analyzing individual particles and the world around us. For example, physics is heavily concerned with concepts such as gravity, other fundamental forces, and energy generation.
Within physics, there are also seven individual branches, including thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and more. Both subjects contain masses of research, but focus on entirely different concepts.
The bottom line
Physics and chemistry, although somewhat similar, are actually completely different. The main difference here is that physics is concerned with the study of the universe as a whole, while chemistry is the study of chemicals, chemical reactions, and individual molecules.
Many scientists choose to study both, perhaps going on to become a chemical engineer, physicist, or teacher, educating students on both discplines. Others, however, stay to conduct valuable research.
Nonetheless, as aforementioned, without prior knowledge of both these subjects, these can be easy to confuse. However, now armed with the knowledge you’re ready to join a heated debate on gravity, thermodynamics, or molecular structure (or perhaps not).