Are you passionate and curious about the world around us? Want to know “How” and “Why”?
Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental of all sciences and is the basis of our scientific knowledge of the physical world.
Physics seeks to explain the behaviour of matter, time and space in the universe and encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles. Moreover, it is the basis of many other sciences, including chemistry, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy (and can be applied to biology or medical science).
Physics challenges our imaginations with concepts like relativity and string theory, and it leads to many pivotal discoveries of the 20th century, including the laser, television, radio, computer technology and nuclear weapons. These great discoveries led to technologies that changed our lives - from healing joints to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions. Physics has played a vital role in the development of quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and the splitting of the atom.
Physics Through the Centuries
What we call physics today draws from astronomy, optics, mechanics, and geometry beginning in antiquity as seen from Babylonian and Hellenistic writers, Archimedes and Ptolemy.
Pre-socratic philosophers in ancient Greece were already thinking of rational ways of understanding the natural world from as early as the 7th and 6th Centuries BCE. Moreover, long-standing traditions of studying physical and mathematical theories of the world existed in India and China as well as in the Islamic world. However, we generally believe early physics originated with the Scientific Revolution in Europe.
For instance, Copernicus believed and strongly advocated for a heliocentric model of the solar system which Galilei strongly supported, as well as making his own discoveries such as noting down the phases of Venus, finding Jupiter's moons, analysing sunspots and even inventing the military compass.
Next, Isaac Newton is largely credited for his law of universal gravity and three laws of motion. He also built the first reflecting telescope and explained the theory of light of white light being composed of the visible spectrum of colours. Around the 1600s began the study of early thermodynamics, which served as building blocks for the invention of the steam engine.
During the 18th century, physics saw the rise of knowledge of mechanics and thermodynamics which continued on to the 19th century including developments in electromagnetism and statistical mechanics.
Then, as the scientists turned their attention to radiation and Einstein formed his theory of relativity as well as the emergence of quantum mechanics, modern physics as we know it today was born in the 20th century.
The concepts of mechanics and motion as still used today in studying satellites, rockets and GPS positioning, while electromagnetism led to the development of radio, and semiconductors. Yet, there is much to still uncover and learn, and many leading physicists are keen on uniting all current aspects of physics in a unifying theory called M-theory. Wouldn't you love to be a part of this change?
5 reasons to study Physics:
1. Physics helps you to understand the world around you, and satisfy your curiosity.
2. Studying Physics develops your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Physics brings a broad perspective to any problem. Physicists are problem solvers.