1.1 - Science of physics

What is physics? Why is it important to know physics?

On a practical note, nearly all human technology is derived from physics, including buildings, bridges, electricity, lasers, noise-canceling headsets, LCD TVs, electric cars, cellphones, batteries, microwave ovens, and many more things you use every day. Physics includes the collected human knowledge, gathered over many centuries, of how things work. The mass of the electron, the properties of semiconductors, and Newton’s laws of motion are examples of physics knowledge. Physics will teach you the underlying principles behind how things work.

Physics is also a way of learning. Science, of which physics is a part, is the most reliable way humans have ever devised for learning how our universe works. Newton’s laws were discovered through creative thinking and careful observation. Physics blends creative thinking, the accurate language of mathematics, and rigorous observation to solve the deepest mysteries of nature. Read the text aloud
What is physics about?
The universe is defined to be everything that exists, including you. We believe “everything” is matter, energy, or information. Matter is “stuff” that takes up space and has mass. Energy is the quantity that causes matter to change and mediates how much change occurs. Energy is exchanged any time anything gets hotter, colder, faster, slower, or changes in any observable way. Information describes how matter and energy are arranged in time and space. For example, the words on your screen are pieces of information. Read the text aloud
Broadly speaking, physics is concerned with the properties and interactions of matter and energy at the most fundamental level. Physics describes the basic forces, the nature of atoms and matter, and the processes by which matter and energy interact. Read the text aloud
Comparing physics, chemistry, and biology
One level higher in complexity is chemistry. Chemistry concerns how the basic particles and forces combine to create the trillions of different molecules that make up the diversity of matter we live in. Highest on the complexity scale is biology. Living organisms include millions of different molecules interacting with each other in extremely complicated systems. Biology is the most complex of the three basic disciplines of science. It may seem strange, but physics is the simplest. Read the text aloud Show Physics is unfinished
Physics is considered the most basic science, but it is not the most basic academic discipline. Which other subject is much of physics derived from?
  1. history
  2. mathematics
  3. literature
  4. music
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