I also wouldn't restrict physics to the "four fundamental forces". After all, there's the basic assertion that there's really only one "fundamental" force.
So if you don't want to use the basic "science of nature", its historical definition, perhaps some def w/the buzzwords "matter", "energy","laws","forces".
As for a definition, may I suggest:
Physics is the study of nature in the broadest sense. Physicists attempt to find the most general rules that govern all of nature. Physics generally breaks down in to the study of the properties of matter, fields, space, time, and energy and how they interact. To describe these phenomena, physicists generally us the most precise language available to them, mathematics.
Or something of that general sort. Perhaps even a mention that physics really is the study of everything in nature (i.e., mention that chemistry is a subset of physics that is governed by the molecular-atomic description of matter, and that biology is a subset of chemistry). Just musing. --BlackGriffen
Ok, I like your definition and agree that I should incorporate more subfields. Do you think thermodynamcis fits better as a subfield? I think it is pretty close to a theory: a bunch of definitions, a small number of laws, and then only consequences.
I'm not sure all biologist would agree with your reductionist view of biology as a subset of chemistry as a subset of physics, so I don't want to go there. Biologists pose and answer questions that are different from questions of physics. For instance, even if you knew all laws of physics, you still wouldn't know why we have our eyes in the head and not on our asses. --AxelBoldt
On the /Schemes page, I've changed Laser science to Optics, since it's a little more top-level, and doesn't really fit anywhere else. Lasers are a completely enclosed subfield of Optics, in my opinion -- DrBob
It looks like a lot of what has been added to this page belongs to History of Physics which is empty.
How about renaming "proposed theories" to, say, "current research topics"? Then we can include current experimental efforts as well. I don't think a new section should be added to the end of the article just for this, putting it with the other lists should be fine. -- CYD
Then we'd have to get rid of Grand Unified Theory and Theory of Everything. There's no correspondence between the two categories so it wouldn't be a renaming but a replacing.
What does TOE mean? Principally, it means M-theory. F-theory is related to M. Loop quantum gravity was never meant to be and never will be a TOE (and I agree with the opinion that it's not even scientific). Friedman(?) is looking at something that may or may not even be interesting. So basically TOE = M.
I got the impression that research in GUTs is dead. Especially after '95 or so when everyone joined M-theory, or should I say, when the strings community absorbed the supergravity community. I'm sure that people are doing various calculations with GUTs and hoping for evidence one way or another but nobody seems to look for, nor expects, any conceptual breakthroughs.
We can have anything you like, I'm not picky. But when the topic of hot research was introduced I came up with a big blank, which led me to think "hmmm, good question!" It took me quite a bit of brain raking to come up with 'search for SUSY' and 'search for Higgs boson'. I'd add dark matter (maybe!), gravitational waves and gamma ray bursts to the list, but I really don't know that much. -- ark
Explaning high Tc superconductivity; explaining sonoluminescence; search for WIMPs; search for axions; explaining neutrino oscillations (and thus the solar neutrino problem); explaining the muon g-2 factor; explaining energetic cosmic rays; the large extra dimensions hypothesis; etc. Baez has a longer list at http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/open_questions -- CYD
Large extra dimensions hypothesis? I've never heard of that! What is it?