What Is Physics?
Just what is physics? To sum it all up in the easiest of terms, physics is the study of matter and energy, and how they relate to one another. Some people, especially those more creatively inclined, might want to look at it in terms of form and content-form being matter, and content being energy.
Energy may manifest itself in many forms, such as light, motion, gravity, radiation, electricity, and others. Matter, on the other hand, covers any and every physical manifestation, from the smallest particles such as atoms and sub-atomic particles, further into larger physical groups such as stars, universes, and galaxies.
Physics can also be described as the science dealing with physical quantities. In this regard, physics is widely considered to be the most fundamental (and important) of all the natural sciences. After all, physics pertains to the quantification of almost all matter that exists in this world. It is any aspect of nature that can be expressed, measured or calculated in specific terms. An appreciation of the world we live in and all its elements that can be observed by the five physical senses could be considered as physics in its most general sense.
In this regard, physics and mathematics are closely related to one another. It could be said that mathematics is the language of physics. That is another way of better understanding what is physics. Numerical values, units of measurement, and similar concepts are all mathematical in nature, and are used to describe physical quantities in the most accurate and precise manner.
Thus, these physical quantities form the basis of study of other branches of science, such as chemistry, biology, engineering, and others. The information, facts, and concepts covered in these sciences can all be appreciated and explained only through physical quantities and physical laws. Biology as the study of living things would also necessitate an understanding of the physical laws that govern nature, humans, animals, their body parts, organs, systems-after all, they are all physical manifestations of their existence here on earth. Chemistry, on the other hand, is the study of processes, reactions, and interaction among physical elements on the subatomic level-which is again a realm of physics.
The importance of physics as a fundamental science can also be appreciated by its basic processes, which are either experimental or theoretical. Experimental physics makes use of the scientific method of creating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, observing the results, and coming to a conclusion regarding the natural world. The end-goal of these experiments is to establish scientific laws, which seek to understand and predict phenomena and occurrences in the natural world.
Theoretical physics is closely related to experimental physics in that the former is what seeks to explain the results of experimental data and observations, through mathematical formulas, scientific models, and other concepts. Experimental physics and theoretical physics actually complement each other. Experimental physicists normally keep abreast of the current physical theories in the scientific world and seek to validate or challenge them; while theoretical physicists are constantly on the lookout for experimental data and new concepts that would seek to interpret experimental findings.
People today may still continue to ask what is physics especially with unrelenting advances and discoveries in its various fields of study, such as astronomy, electromagnetism, geophysics, meteorology, optics, relativity, and a whole lot more others. The answer is simple-physics is all these. Physics being the study of physical quantities covers all these topics and fields of study, and a whole lot more. As long as it has got something to do with the study of physical matter and its observable concepts and behavior, it can be classified under the fundamental natural science of physics.
Websites For Learning All About Physics
|Electricity and Magnets
|Light and Color
- Common Errors in Undergraduate Mathematics
- Fundamental Physical Constants from NIST
- How To Study Physics
- Lectures on Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein
- Physics Encyclopedia
- Physics Reference
- Professor Stephen Hawking Online
- The Internet Pilot to Physics (TIPTOP)