Physics is one of the disciplines of natural sciences which deals with the study of the basic laws of nature and their manifestation in various natural phenomena.

Physicists attempt to explain several diverse natural phenomena in terms of certain scientific laws and concepts, such as Newton’s law of gravitation and Maxwell’s equations in electromagnetism.

Reductionism is a method used to derive the properties of larger and more complicated systems by studying the interactions and properties of their smaller, simpler constituent parts. This is a method that is at the very heart of physics.

Scope and excitement of physics

There are two main domains of interest in physics – macroscopic and microscopicClassical physics is mostly concerned with macroscopic phenomena and includes subjects like mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, and electrodynamics.

However, classical physics is insufficient to handle the microscopic domain of physics. As of now, quantum theory is accepted as the right framework for explaining microscopic phenomena.

The emerging domain of mesoscopic physics, which is intermediate between the macroscopic and the microscopic, deals with a few tens or hundreds of atoms.

The scope of physics, as you can clearly see, is unbelievably wide.

For example, the scale of length deals with everything from entities as small as protons and electrons (10-14 m or less) to massive galaxies (1026 m) and even the entire universe, whose extent is of the order of 1040 or more.

Similarly, the scale of mass in physics ranges from 10-30 kg (the mass of an electron) to 1055 kg (the mass of the observable universe).

The time scale ranges from around 10-22 seconds to 1018 seconds, which can be obtained by dividing the length scales by the speed of light.

Physics, technology, and society

A strong connection has always existed between physics, technology, and society. The technological advancements made with the help of physics have made great changes in society throughout history.

Likewise, technology has occasionally given rise to new physics as well. For example, the field of thermodynamics emerged as a result of scientists studying and trying to improve the working of heat engines.

Have you ever wondered how, over the centuries, mankind progressed from the simple wheel to the space shuttle? Many of the facilities that make our daily life so easy and comfortable today, from the internet to mobile phones to microwave ovens, have become possible because of physics.

Physics holds great importance in the field of medicine as well. It is the most fundamental of all sciences and has contributed to many current medical technologies and practices, such as X-Rays, MRI, Doppler ultrasound, electrocardiography (ECG), endoscopy, and much more.

The development of biotechnology and material technology has largely depended on microscopic instruments, such as the electron microscope (EM) and the atomic force microscope (AFM).

Physics has also been actively contributing to the development of alternative energy resources like solar energy, geothermal energy, and hydroelectricity.

Despite all the progress that mankind has made, many questions remain unanswered in physics. For example, are matter and energy two different aspects of the same entity? Can different forces in nature be unified?

Reduction and unification are two important thrusts in physics that physicists have been trying to solve.

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