Physical system

portion of the physical universe chosen for analysis; everything outside the system is known as the environment

In physics, a physical system[1] is any object or part of an object that can be analysed with the laws of physics. An atom or the water in a lake can both be considered as physical systems. Everything outside the system is called the environment, which in the analysis is ignored except for its effects on the system.

Earth's atmosphere is an example of a physical system

All matter and energy in the universe could be treated as one big physical system, but often it is much much easier to look at the universe a few particles at a time, and treat these particles as their own quantum systems. There are many many different physical systems that physicists like to study. Some examples are:

Physical systems are different to conceptual systems, which study theoretical objects, ideas or concepts (such as the Turing machine).

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  1. An Essay on the Investigation of the First Principles of Nature. By Felix O'Gallagher. J. Hill, at the College Printing-House, 1784.