What Are the Main Branches of Physics? Learn All about Various Physics

Physics is a branch of science that deals with the interaction of matter and energy. There are various branches of physics. Here, we have mentioned a list of the top 11 branches of physics that all STEM students should know.

Branches of Physics, Physics types
List of Main Branches of Physics

What Are the Main Branches of Physics? 

Physics is a branch of science that is concerned with the study of nature, as well as other concepts such as space, time, matter and energy, or everything that exists in this universe. The importance of physics is highlighted by the many applications that physics has made possible in people's lives. In this article, we will mention the main branches of physics.

Learn All about Various Physics

Physics is one of the primary subjects and an academic discipline that must be explored, and it includes the study of matter, its motion, and behavior besides energy and force. as a broad discipline, physics intersects with many different subjects and disciplines such as biophysics and quantum chemistry.

The applications of physics in everyday life are numerous. Physics often identifies a wide range of principles and methodologies studied by other fields of science and suggests new areas of research for other academic fields, even mathematics and philosophy.

There are four basic pillars in physics and these pillars give access to the different phenomena of matter, which are not branches of physics but only structures in different fields of physics.

The four pillars are as follows:

  • Classical mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Classic electrodynamics
  • Quantum mechanics

Physics is devoted to the study and scientific description of the fundamental forces that govern the universe. According to the study of each of these forces, and the points at which it approaches the field of science and other disciplines, physics is divided into many branches or fields, each of which has its own name and objectives.

Top 11 Branches of Physics to Know for All STEM Students

Rapid advances in science have been made possible by discoveries and inventions in the field of physics. A physics degree is an excellent choice for you and it can make a difference in your career.

Physics has collected potential fields of study, each of which opens or includes one of the so-called branches of physics, which we can summarize in its main and most famous aspects. Physics consists of many interdisciplinary subjects and branches. In the practical field, the top 11 branches of physics to know for all STEM students are:

1. Classical physics

2. Modern Physics

3. Nuclear physics

4. Atomic physics

5. Geophysics

6. Biophysics

7. Mechanics

8. Acoustics

9. Optics

10. Thermodynamics

11. Astrophysics

Classical Physics

Classical physics is a branch of physics that recognizes two principal forms of energy, kinetic and potential. Classical physics deals mainly with different laws of motion and gravitation.

This branch of physics is concerned with matter and energy, and classical physics can simply be related to physics dating back to 1900 and earlier. Everything that enters into physics after that era is considered modern physics. In classical physics, energy and matter are dealt with separately, so physics theories that are described as invalid in modern physics are immediately considered part of classical physics.

Modern Physics

Modern physics is a branch of physics that deals with post-Newtonian concepts, using the tools of science and engineering.

Modern physics is mainly centered around the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein and Max Planck are the pioneers of this branch of physics. They were the first to put forward the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, unlike the classical branch of physics, the modern branch of physics does not consider energy and matter two different entities, they are only called two different forms of each other.

Nuclear Physics

Nuclear physics is a branch of physics that is concerned with the structure of atomic nuclei and their constituents and interactions.

This branch of physics deals with the components, structure, behavior, and interactions of atomic nuclei. This branch of physics differs from the branch of atomic physics. After many studies of the atom, including its electrons, nuclear physics has become a very broad field of study and has expanded its scope. The methodologies and principles of this subject are applied to other academic and research fields. Nuclear physics is used in power generation, nuclear weapons, magnetic resonance, imaging, pharmaceuticals, industrial and agricultural isotopes.

Atomic Physics

Atomic Physics is the branch of science that studies atoms as an isolated system of electrons and an atomic nucleus.

Atomic physics is concerned with the formation of the atom apart from the nucleus and is primarily concerned with the study and understanding of the behavior of electrons in the shells around the nucleus. This branch of physics deals with electrons, ions, and neutral atoms. Among the first forays into atomic physics was the recognition that all matter is composed of atoms. The beginning of atomic physics is also associated with the discovery of spectral lines, which gave way to an entirely new understanding of the structure and arrangement of atoms.


Geophysics is a description of the geological characteristics, groundwater condition, pollution, etc. of the underground environment based on vertical and horizontal surveys of changes in physical properties using non-invasive techniques (that do not cause damage or require a crack in the crust unlike, for example, oil extraction).

As a result of the contact of physics and geology, it is devoted to the study of the inner layers of our planet: its structure, dynamics, and evolutionary history taking into account what is known about the basic laws of the matter: gravity, electromagnetism, radiation, etc.

Geophysics uses non-destructive technologies, which makes it suitable for use in populated places such as cities where many engineering and environmental problems arise. It does not require drilling or excavation, which enables us to access large areas of the sub-surface environment at a low cost. It can also be used to explore archaeological sites without destroying them. It provides a means to quickly study large areas of the subsurface environment.


Biophysics is the field that applies physical theories and methodologies to understand how biological systems work. Biophysics is critical to understanding the mechanisms of biomolecule formation, how different parts of the cell function and move, and how complex systems in our bodies such as the brain, circulatory system, immune system, and others operate. 

Biophysics is an active scientific field in which scientists from many fields including mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering, pharmacology, and materials sciences bring their expertise to discover and develop new ways of understanding how biology works in all living things.

Biophysics is central to the development of many life-saving treatments and devices including dialysis, radiotherapy, life support, pacemakers and artificial heart valves.


Mechanics is a branch of physics that focuses on the movement and motion of physical bodies under force and at rest. It also studies the relationship between different concepts such as force, matter and motion. Forces applied to objects lead to displacements or changes in the object's position relative to its environment. It studies the law of motion, gravity, friction, displacement, and kinematics such as force, energy, and inertia.

Mechanical physics consists of two main branches: classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Classical mechanics studies the laws of motion of material bodies and deals with the forces that cause motion. On the other hand, quantum mechanics is the branch of physics that is primarily concerned with the behavior of the smallest particles, such as electrons.


Acoustics is a branch of physics that deals with the process of generation, reception, and propagation of sound. This branch of physics is concerned with the study of mechanical waves in the states of matter (solid, liquid, and gases) and solids including topics such as vibration, sound. It studies vibrations and focuses on sound production, control, transmission, reception and effects. It also studies concepts such as vibration, sound, ultrasound, and infrasound.


Optics is an important branch of physics that studies light and its properties, and optics focuses on the study of the behavior and properties of light, its interactions with matter, and changes in these behaviors and interactions.

This branch also studies the behavior of visible light, ultraviolet, and infrared rays. There are two branches in this field, namely, physical and geometrical optics. The physicist is concerned with the nature of light and other characteristics, while geometrical optics focuses on the interactions of light with lenses, mirrors, and other devices.


Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that regulates the relationship between heat and other forms of energy, in particular, that describes transfers of thermal energy to and from other states of energy and how they affect matter. Thermal energy is the energy that a substance or system of substances has relative to its temperature. 

In classical thermodynamics, the behavior of materials is analyzed through a laboratory microscopic approach, conditions such as temperature and pressure are taken into account, which helps the individual to experiment, as it is possible to calculate and measure other properties of the material in a correct and accurate way.

Statistical Thermodynamics is concerned with examining each particle of a matter accurately and separately, as it focuses on studying the properties of each molecule, and the ways in which molecules interact with each other, in order to know the behavior of a group of molecules.


Astrophysics is a branch of space science that applies the laws of physics and chemistry to explain the birth, life, and death of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae, and other objects in the universe.

It is clear that this branch of physics was born from the hand of astronomy and it provides vast amounts of information regarding how extraterrestrial space works and what conclusions can be drawn from its observation.

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