The visible components of the universe

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe. ‘Nature’ can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science.

Aerial photography
The Belcher Islands meander across the deep blue of Canada’s Hudson Bay – photo: USGS

Geological and biological processes

Earth has evolved through geological and biological processes that have left traces of the original conditions. The outer surface is divided into several gradually migrating tectonic plates. The interior remains active, with a thick layer of plastic mantle and an iron-filled core that generates a magnetic field. This iron core is composed of a solid inner phase, and a fluid outer phase. Convective motion in the core generates electric currents through dynamo action, and these, in turn, generate the geomagnetic field.

Matter in motion

Some fields of science see nature as matter in motion, obeying certain laws of nature which science seeks to understand. For this reason the most fundamental science is generally understood to be ‘physics’ — the name for which is still recognizable as meaning that it is the ‘study of nature’.

Visible components

Matter is commonly defined as the substance of which physical objects are composed. It constitutes the observable universe. The visible components of the universe are now believed to compose only 4.9% of the total mass. The remainder is believed to consist of 26.8% cold dark matter and 68.3% dark energy.

Physical world

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe. ‘Nature’ can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.

Magnetic field

Earth has evolved through geological and biological processes that have left traces of the original conditions. The outer surface is divided into several gradually migrating tectonic plates. The interior remains active, with a thick layer of plastic mantle and an iron-filled core that generates a magnetic field. This iron core is composed of a solid inner phase, and a fluid outer phase.


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John Roe

John Roe

John is a 26-year-old scientific researcher who enjoys drone photography, reading and waiting at bus stops. He is generous and loveable, but can also be very lazy. He has a degree in chemistry and is obsessed with bottled water.

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