What is Physics?
Physics, one of the oldest sciences, concerns the study of matter, energy, motion, force, space and time.
History of Physics
Physics is one of the oldest natural sciences, dating at least as far back to 580 BCE with the ancient Greek philosopher, Thales of Miletus, and the birth of scientific thought. By 525, Pythagoras advanced an understanding of the world and mathematics, and by 325, Pytheas had discovered that the tides were caused by the moon. By 1267, Roger Bacon had developed the magnifying glass, by 1450 Johann Gutenberg had invented the first printing press, and by 1589 Galileo proved that all objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass. The list, of course, goes on and there is no shortage of monumentally significant discoveries in physics. Through the ages, the study of physics has continually brought civilizations to a new and deeper understanding of the world in which we live, and it continues to do so today.
Applications of Physics
Given its long history and its long list of contributions to society, it is not surprising that the study of physics is broken up into several branches. First, physics is generally separated into two categories: theoretical physics and experimental physics. Within these two categories we find the different branches of physics, starting with the oldest branch of physics, called classical mechanics, and going on to mathematical physics, classical electrodynamics, quantum physics, nuclear physics, applied physics, and astrophysics just to name a few.
Trends in Physics
Because physics has so many applications and so many areas of study, many of the most exciting and important scientific discoveries are in the field of physics. Some of the more recent areas of study include the designing of invisibility cloaks with optical metamaterials, a new kind of DNA sequencer that will significantly reduce the cost of ‘reading’ a person's genetic code, a breakthrough discovery that could introduce quantum information science, and more.
Anyone interested in studying university physics or college physics can look forward to a challenging and fascinating academic path of studies. Some of the courses you can expect to take as a physic major include courses on electricity and magnetism, Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics, and statistical physics and more.
Careers in Physics
Once you’ve received your degree in physics, you can look forward to job opportunities in many fields such as astronomy, astrophysics, education, engineering, geophysics, and medical physics. Positions within these fields vary from lab supervisors to researchers, to teachers, to technicians. Physics majors also often find work as a business consultant or in business management, especially if the business deals with science projects.
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