Physics: General Relativity and 19th Century

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Physics  is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, as well as all related concepts, including energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves. Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines, perhaps the oldest through its inclusion of astronomy. Over the last two millennia, physics had been considered synonymous with philosophy, chemistry, and certain branches of mathematics and biology, but during the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century, it emerged to become a unique modern science in its own right. However, in some subject areas such as in mathematical physics and quantum chemistry, the boundaries of physics remain difficult to distinguish. Physics is both significant and influential, in part because advances in its understanding have often translated into new technologies, but also because new ideas in physics often resonate with other sciences, mathematics, and philosophy. For example, advances in the understanding of electromagnetism or nuclear physics led directly to the development of new products which have dramatically transformed modern-day society, such as television, computers, domestic appliances, and nuclear weapons; advances inthermodynamics led to the development of motorized transport; and advances in mechanics inspired the development of calculus.

Physics covers a wide range of phenomena, from elementary particles (such as quarks, neutrinos and electrons) to the largest superclusters of galaxies. Included in these phenomena are the most basic objects from which all other things are composed, and therefore physics is sometimes called the "fundamental science".[8] Physics aims to describe the various phenomenon that occur in nature in terms of simpler phenomena. Thus, physics aims to both connect the things observable to humans to root causes, and then to try to connect these causes together. For example, the ancient Chinese observed that certain rocks (lodestone) were attracted to one another by some invisible force. This effect was later called magnetism, and was first rigorously studied in the 17th century. A little earlier than the Chinese, the ancient Greeks knew of other objects such as amber, that when rubbed with fur would cause a similar invisible attraction between the two. This was also first studied rigorously in the 17th century, and came to be called electricity. Thus, physics had come to understand two observations of nature in terms of some root cause (electricity and magnetism). However, further work in the 19th century revealed that these two forces were just two different aspects of one force – electromagnetism. This process of "unifying" forces continues today, and electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force are now considered to be two aspects of the electroweak interaction.

Physics is closely related to the other natural sciences and, in a sense, encompasses them. Chemistry, for example, deals with the interaction of atoms to form molecules; much of modern geology is largely a study of the physics of the earth and is known as geophysics; and astronomy deals with the physics of the stars and outer space. Even living systems are made up of fundamental particles and, as studied in biophysics and biochemistry, they follow the same types of laws as the simpler particles traditionally studied by a physicist. The emphasis on the interaction between particles in modern physics, known as the microscopic approach, must often be supplemented by a macroscopic approach that deals with larger elements or systems of particles. This macroscopic approach is indispensable to the application of physics to much of modern technology. Thermodynamics, for example, a branch of physics developed during the 19th century, deals with the elucidation and measurement of properties of a system as a whole and remains useful in other fields of physics;...
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