What is Science?
Science is a systematic attempt to understand natural phenomena in as much detail and depth as possible, and use the knowledge so gained to predict, modify and control phenomena.
Physics is a basic discipline in natural sciences which also includes subjects like Chemistry and Biology.
What is Physics?
It’s really difficult to define exactly what physics is. For one, physics keeps changing as we progress and make new discoveries. New theories don't just bring new answers. They also create new questions that might not have even made sense when viewed from within the previous theory of physics. This makes physics exciting and interesting, but it also forces attempts at defining physics into generalizations about what physics has been rather than what it might be at some point in the future.
But let's face it, definitions are important, so how do you define Physics? The best way physicists define physics:
Physics is a fundamental science concerned with understanding the natural phenomena that occur in our universe. It is a natural science based on experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis with the purpose of finding quantitative physical laws for everything.
or simply put,
A science that deals with matter and energy, and their interactions.
Branches of Physics
Physics seeks to construct and experimentally test theories of the physical universe. These theories vary in their scope and can be organized into several distinct branches such as Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics, Modern Physics, etc.
Between 1600 and 1900, three broad areas were developed, which is together called Classical Physics. These three areas of study are classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism.
- Classical mechanics is a model of the physics of forces acting upon bodies. It is often referred to as "Newtonian mechanics" after Isaac Newton and his laws of motion.
- It deals with the motion of particles and the general system of particles. Almost 95% of our pre-university syllabus in Class 11th and 12th falls under this branch of study.
But by 1905, it became apparent that classical ideas failed to explain several phenomena. Some new theories were then developed in Modern Physics such as Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, etc.
- Quantum mechanics is the branch of physics treating atomic and subatomic systems and their interaction based on the observation that all forms of energy are released in discrete units or bundles called "quanta".
- Remarkably, quantum theory typically permits only probable or statistical calculation of the observed features of subatomic particles. The study of this field is beyond the scope of our syllabus.
- The special theory of relativity enjoys a relationship with electromagnetism and mechanics; that is, the principle of relativity and the principle of stationary action in mechanics can be used to derive Maxwell's equations, and vice versa.
- Again, this field is way out of bounds for us to study at present.
Try yourself:A thought experiment in Physics is one which is
A thought experiment is a hypothetical situation in which a hypothesis, theory, or principle is laid out for the purpose of thinking through its consequences.
Scope of Physics
The scope of Physics is very broad and covers a wide range of magnitude of physical quantities such as length, mass, time, energy, etc.
- Scope of classical Physics deals with the following branches in Physics
1. Classical Mechanics
- Modern-day Physics (after the 19th century) deals with concepts of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Relativity as we know was something explored by Albert Einstein. The scope of physics grew as the theory of relativity changed the way we used to think about the world and atmosphere. It is most probably the most comprehensive theories which the whole world has acknowledged.
- The renowned physicist Richard Feynman introduced the world to Quantum Mechanics. It is the study of motion and interaction of subatomic particles, wave-particle duality with the help of a suitable mathematical description.
Further scope of Physics can be divided into two domains of interest which are the macroscopic domain and a microscopic domain:
Macroscopic domain deals with matter and objects that are measurable and can be observed by the naked eye.
Microscopic domain deals with molecules, atoms and nucleus. It deals with objects which require a lens or microscope to see them clearly.
Excitement of Physics
- Immense excitement is involved in the study of physics since it explains every naturally occurring phenomenon with a set of rules, so that clear understanding can be achieved.
- The excitement of physics comes in conducting new experiments, discover the different secrets of nature and then applying the laws of physics for practical purposes.
- And generally, excitement means curiosity to know how it happens or what happens. This curiosity of learning physics is nothing but the excitement of physics.
Try yourself:"Classical Physics" deals with
Classical Physics deals mainly with macroscopic phenomena and includes subjects like Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Optics and Thermodynamics.
Physics in Relation to Other Sciences
- Physics is a very significant branch of science that plays a crucial role in understanding the developments pertaining to the other branches of science such as Chemistry, Biology etc.
- Physics in Relation to Mathematics: Study of physical variables led to the idea of differentiation, integration, and differential equation. Meaningful interpretation of Mathematics becomes Physics.
- Physics in Relation to Chemistry: The concept of X-ray diffraction and radioactivity has helped distinguish between the various solids and modify the periodic table. Understanding the bonding and the chemical structure of substances is easy with the help of the concept of interactions between various particles.
- Physics in Relation to Astronomy: Optical telescopes of reflecting and refracting type enabled man to explore the space around him. Discoveries like radio telescopes have revolutionized the study of Astronomy.
- Physics in Relation to Biology: The conceptual study of pressure and its measurement has helped us to know blood pressure and hence the functioning of the heart. The invention of X-rays developed the field of diagnosis. Electron and optical microscopic designs have revolutionized the study of medical science.
- Physics in Relation to Meteorology: The discoveries regarding the study of pressure variations help us to forecast the weather. Various other inventions of physics have opened new vistas of study in the field of sciences and social sciences.
Physics in Relation to Technology and Society
- Advancement in physics has led to new technologies and vice-versa. Sometimes technology gives rise to a new dimension of physics; at other times, physics generates new technology.
- In fact, technological development is closely related to the application of science and physics in particular. Physics has a dominant influence on society. It has helped human beings to develop their ideas.
- The development of digital communication systems, rapid mass transport system, lasers making bloodless surgeries, etc., has made human life easy and pleasant.
Link between Technology & Physics
Famous Physicists, Country & Contribution
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why is Physics called the King of Science?
Physics is called the king of science because it helps us understand how nature works.
Q2. Can Physics exist without Maths?
It is possible for theoretical physics to exist without Maths but it gets difficult to analyze and describe the universal phenomena without mathematical hypothesis.
Q3. How is Physics related to Biology?
Physics and Biology, when combined together, help scientists learn more about biological systems on a molecular or atomic level.
Q4. How is Physics related to Chemistry?
Physics and Chemistry may overlap when the subject under consideration is matter composed of electrons and nuclei made of protons and neutrons.
Q5. What is the importance of studying Physics?
Physics is important because it helps us understand the fundamental nature of the universe. It improves the quality of life by providing quantitative and analytical skills in fields like engineering, medicine and science.
Quick Summary of Physical World
Physics is a science that deals with matter and energy, and their interactions.
There are two domains of interest in the field of physics. They are the macroscopic domain and microscopic domain. Macroscopic domain deals with matter and objects that are measurable and can be observed by the naked eye. Microscopic domain deals with molecules, atoms and nucleus. It deals with objects which require a lens or microscope to see them clearly.
Physics has its scope in Classical and Modern physics.
Classical physics has subdivisions like mechanics, thermodynamics, electrodynamics and optics. Classical physics is traditional physics.
Modern physics include atomic physics, nuclear physics, quantum physics etc.
The excitement of physics comes in conducting new experiments, discover the different secrets of nature and then applying the laws of physics for practical purposes.
Physics is a very significant branch of science that plays a crucial role in understanding the developments pertaining to the other branches of science such as Chemistry, Biology etc. And also plays a major role today in all the technological advancements.