According to one mode of expression, the question: “What are the laws of Nature?” may be stated thus: What are the fewest and simplest assumptions, which being granted, the whole existing order of Nature would result? ~ English philosopher John Stuart Mill in 1843
Historically, physics long fell under the appellation of natural philosophy. An increasing emphasis on empiricism and mathematical description in the 17th century turned natural philosophy into natural science, though that term was applied in hindsight.
Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science. ~ Stephen Hawking
Besides his championing heliocentrism when it was controversial, Galileo furthered kinematics (classical physics’ theory of motion), and materials science, particularly the ability of materials to withstand stress without failure; in other words, the energetic integrity of matter.