Scope and Excitement of Physics
Discoveries in physics are of two types; accidental discoveries and well-analysed research outcome in the laboratory based on intuitive thinking and prediction. For example, magnetism was accidentally observed but the reason for this strange behavior of magnets was later analysed theoretically. This analysis revealed the underlying phenomena of magnetism. With this knowledge, artificial magnets were prepared in the laboratories. Theoretical predictions are the most important contribution of physics to the developments in technology and medicine. For example, the famous equation of Albert Einstein, E=mc2 was a theoretical prediction in 1905 and experimentally proved in 1932 by Cockcroft and Walton. Theoretical predictions aided with recent simulation and computation procedures are widely used to identify the most suited materials for robust applications. The pharmaceutical industry uses this technique very effectively to design new drugs. Bio compatible materials for organ replacement are predicted using quantum prescriptions of physics before fabrication. Thus, experiments and theory work hand in hand complimenting one another.
Physics has a huge scope as it covers a tremendous range of magnitude of various physical quantities (length, mass, time, energy etc). It deals with systems of very large magnitude as in astronomical phenomena as well as those with very small magnitude involving electrons and protons.
· Range of time scales: astronomical scales to microscopic scales, 1018s to 10−22s.
· Range of masses: from heavenly bodies to electron, 1055 kg (mass of known observable universe) to 10−31 kg (mass of an electron) [the actual mass of an electron is 9.11×10-31 Kg].
The study of physics is not only educative but also exciting in many ways.
· A small number of basic concepts and laws can explain diverse physical phenomena.
· The most interesting part is the designing of useful devices based on the physical laws.
For example i) use of robotics journey to Moon and to nearby planets with controls from the ground iii) technological advances in health sciences etc.
· Carrying out new challenging experiments to unfold the secrets of nature and in verifying or falsifying the existing theories.
· Probing and understanding the science behind natural phenomena like the eclipse, and why one feels the heat when there is a fire? (or) What causes the wind, etc.
In today’s world of technological advancement, the building block of all engineering and technical education is physics which is explained with the help of mathematical tools.