What is Physics?

Physics is the science that studies the functioning of the universe, from the movement of matter through space and time, to energy and force. The physical word derives from the Greek physika, which means 'natural things'.
What is Physics?
Physics uses the scientific method to discover the basic principles that govern matter. Physics exists to help us make sense of our surroundings.

What does physics study?

The purpose of physics is to describe the functioning of everything around us, from the movement of tiny particles to the movement of spacecraft. Speed, movement, direction and acceleration are common terms in physics.

Physics also explains light and sound phenomena. Light and sound are waves with particular characteristics. Concepts such as heat, work, strength and energy have been developed thanks to the work of important physicists.

Physics contributes directly to many other disciplines. In architecture, physics is part of the studies of acoustics, lighting, heating and structural stability. Geology requires physics for earthquake analysis. Biophysics is a hybrid of biology and physics.

In medicine, physics is present in diagnostic methods such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound. It is also in treatments such as radiotherapy.

Sensory phenomena have their explanation in physics: the sound of musical instruments, the detection of colors in the eye, the operation of optical fibers and the transmission of information through the laser.

Branches of physics

Physics is a vast science with many fields to be explored, from the infinitesimally small to the abysmally large. That is why there are many branches of physics that can be mentioned:
  • Thermodynamics: study everything related to heat and temperature.
  • Classical mechanics: it is dedicated to the study of the movement of bodies and the forces that act on them.
  • Quantum mechanics: is responsible for atomic and subatomic particles and their interrelationships.
  • Electromagnetism: study electricity and magnetism and their interrelationships.
  • Acoustics: sound is the object of study of acoustics.
  • Optics: he is interested in luminous phenomena and vision.

Examples of physics in everyday life

In our day to day we are in contact with many examples of the application of physics. Let's see a few.

1. X-rays

X-rays are electromagnetic waves that easily cross the human body and other objects. This allows its use to detect broken bones when we have a fracture. They are also useful at airports for baggage check.
Their discovery is due to Wilhelm Röntgen, who baptized them with the letter X for their unknown origin.

2. GPS system

Physics describes the relationship between the speed of an object, the distance it travels, and the time it takes to cover that distance.
The GPS system, which means a global positioning system, uses these relationships to determine travel time from one place to another.

3. Microwave oven

The mechanism by which the microwave oven heats food is purely physical. A device called magnetron generates electromagnetic waves. These electromagnetic waves, when passing through the water, exert forces on the molecules, causing their oscillation.
The oscillating water molecules hit and push the food molecules around, increasing the temperature. The microwave frequency is adjusted to cook the food at the required speed.
By the way, the microwave was created by accident while radars were being investigated.

Physics history

Physics is one of the oldest and ever evolving sciences. This is the desire of the human being to explain his environment.

1. In ancient Greece

The Greeks were the first to seek an explanation for the movement of the celestial bodies. Thales of Miletus (624-547 BC), Greek astronomer and mathematician, is considered by many to be the first scientist of mankind.
The first physicist was Anaxagoras (500-430 BC), who believed that change was the main characteristic of nature.
Aristotle (385-322 BC) contributed extensively to the search for knowledge in the fourth century BC. C. De Aristoteles is the idea that astronomy could not be divorced from physics.
The contributions of Archimedes (287-212 BC) in physics were in static and hydrostatic. He is credited with the phrase "give me a foothold and I will move the world."

3. In the middle Ages

Copernicus heliocentric theory
Copernican Planisphere 1660: map of the heavens based on the Copernicus system.
The studies of Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543) and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) were the basis for Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and the Copernicus heliocentric theory.
However, the revolution in physics began with Isaac Newton (1642-1727), famous for the law of universal gravitation , also enunciated the laws of motion.

4. New era of physics

The discovery of the atom by Jonh Dalton (1766-1844), studies in acoustics by John William Strutt (1842-1919) and the studies of electricity done by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) were great contributions to post-Newton physics.
The twentieth century saw the birth of the new era of physics. Names like Marie Curie (1867-1934), Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923) and Niels Bohr (1885-1962) are part of the historical heritage of physics.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) published his general theory of relativity in 1916 revolutionizing the vision of space, matter, energy and time.
George Lemaître (1894-1966) proposed the origin of the universe as we know it today. The expansion of the universe and the big bang theory were confirmed with the discovery in 1965 of the cosmic background microwave radiation by Arno Penzias (1933-) and Rober Wilson (1936-).

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