What is the difference between chemistry and physics?

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There are two branches of science that study matter - chemistry and physics. Chemistry has an entire industry, the chemical industry, named after it. Many chemists work in research and development, production, training, or management. Chemists also work in other industries, for example, the petroleum, pharmaceutical, and food industries. There is no industry named after physics, however, many industries have grown out of physics research, such as the semiconductor and electronics industries.

The difference between the two disciplines is in the training, scope, and approach. Even when working as a team, chemists and physicists have different roles. Although the fundamental laws that control the behaviour of matter apply to both chemistry and physics, the disciplines are quite different.

Chemistry focuses on the study of chemical reactions and synthesis, the properties and reactions of matter on a large scale, how substances interact with each other, and with energy. It also focuses on the methods for identifying molecules and their mechanisms of transformation. A chemist's explanations and predictions are correlated to the underlying atomic structure.

Physics, on the other hand, focuses on nature - from the entire universe all the way down to subatomic particles. All the fundamental principles of physical phenomena, the forces of nature, and aspects of space and time are measurable and follow some behaviour that sync with the most basic principles of physics. By following concepts taken from the most fundamental principles, matter and energy can be explained.

Chemistry and physics may overlap in fields such as physical chemistry, chemical physics, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics/chemistry, materials science, spectroscopy, solid state physics, solid-state chemistry, crystallography, and nanotechnology.

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