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The term natural sciences is used to distinguish it from the social sciences, which apply the scientific method to study human behavior and social patterns; the humanities, which use a critical, or analytical approach to the study of the human condition; and the formal sciences.
Physical science is an encompassing term for the branches of natural science and science that study non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences.
It is publicly important for the prediction and understanding of natural hazards, the remediation of environmental problems, and for providing insights into past climate change.
Geology plays a role in geotechnical engineering and is a major academic discipline. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 17th century.
The term is derived from Ancient Greek ζῷον (zōon, "animal") λόγος (logos, "knowledge").
Human biology is an interdisciplinary academic field of biology, biological anthropology, nutrition and medicine which focuses on humans; it is closely related to primate biology, and a number of other fields.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries physicalism emerged as a major unifying feature of the philosophy of science as physics provides fundamental explanations for every observed natural phenomenon.
New ideas in physics often explain the fundamental mechanisms of other sciences, while opening to new research areas in mathematics and philosophy.
In modern times, geology is commercially important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation and for evaluating water resources.
Topics of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems.
Oceanography, or marine science, is the branch of Earth science that studies the ocean.
While biology remains the centerpiece of life science, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and new, often interdisciplinary, fields.
Zoology /zoʊˈɒlədʒi/, occasionally spelled zoölogy, is the branch of science that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct.
Over the last two millennia, physics was a part of natural philosophy along with chemistry, certain branches of mathematics, and biology, but during the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century, the natural sciences emerged as unique research programs in their own right.