PhysicsPhysics (from Greek from φυσικός (physikos): natural, from φύσις (physis): Nature) is the science of Nature (or natural science) in the broadest sense. Physicists study the behaviour and interactions of matter and force. The laws of physics are generally expressed as mathematical relations.
Physics is very closely related to the other natural sciences, particularly chemistry, the science of molecules and the chemical compounds that they form in bulk. Chemistry draws on many fields of physics, particularly quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and electromagnetism. However, chemical phenomena are sufficiently varied and complex that chemistry is usually regarded as a separate discipline. Nevertheless, it is widely accepted among chemists and physicists that the laws of physics describe at the most fundamental level all chemical interactions.
In fact, many physicists take the position that physics is the only fundamental science. Their argument runs as follows: all sciences--biology, chemistry, geology, etc.--are concerned with matter; all matter is composed of atoms; physics describes the dynamics and internal configurations of atoms. Extension of this physico-centric view can result in profound philosophical consequences. For example, if one accepts that the human brain controls all human behavior, and if one accepts that the brain is composed entirely of atoms whose behavior is completely described by laws of physics, then one may reasonably question whether a person has the free will to control his behavior. Nevertheless it is not the task of physics to answer philosophical questions.
A common goal of theoretical physicists is to reduce the description of the physical world to a minimal set of laws governing a finite set of fundamental constituent elements in the universe. That the physical world can necessarily be completely reduced in such a way is unclear; one could conceive of a world comprised of an infinite variety of particles behaving in accordance with an infinite number of laws, or perhaps behaving entirely randomly on occasion. However, thanks to experimental physicists, physics have been remarkably successful to date at this reduction process, and the reduction trend is evident in the names of some of the proposed theories listed below.
Physics, like other sciences, is often subdivided into categories: theoretical physics and experimental physics or fundamental research and applied physics. Theoretical physicists seek new fundamental knowledge about the universe, using the observations of experimental physicists. Experimental physicists perform experiments designed to be able to decide which theory is true. Experimental physics often finds completely new phenomena with no existing theory, e.g. electromagnetism, radioactivity were discovered this way. Fundamental research quests for the basic structure of nature while applied physicists apply existing knowledge to analyze complex systems in order to use them in practical life and economy. Both fundamental research and applied research has theoretical and experimental aspects. As an example, a particularly fertile area of applied physics is solid-state physics, in which researchers use the more fundamental laws of quantum mechanics and electromagnetism to analyze the behavior of atoms that comprise a solid.
Below is an overview of the major subfields and concepts in physics, followed by a brief outline of the history of physics and its subfields. A more comprehensive list of physics topics is also available.
Overview of physics
Main article: Theories of Physics
Classical mechanics -- Thermodynamics -- Statistical mechanics -- Electromagnetism -- Special relativity -- General relativity -- Quantum mechanics -- Quantum field theory -- Standard Model -- Fluid dynamics
Theory of everything -- Grand unification theory -- M-theory -- Loop quantum gravity -- Emergence
-- Process Physics
Cold fusion -- Dynamic theory of gravity -- Luminiferous aether -- Orgone energy -- Reciprocal System of Theory -- Steady state theory -- Time Cube -- Unified field theory -- Variable speed of light
Matter -- Antimatter -- Elementary particle -- Boson -- Fermion
Symmetry -- Motion -- Conservation law -- Mass -- Energy -- Momentum -- Angular momentum -- Spin
Time -- Space -- Dimension -- Spacetime -- Length -- Velocity -- Force -- Torque
Wave -- Wavefunction -- Quantum entanglement -- Harmonic oscillator -- Magnetism -- Electricity -- Electromagnetic radiation -- Temperature -- Entropy -- Physical information --
Vacuum energy -- Zero-point energy
Phase transitions -- Critical phenomena -- Self-organization -- Spontaneous symmetry breaking -- Superconductivity -- Superfluidity -- Quantum phase transitions
Gravitational -- Electromagnetic -- Weak -- Strong
Main article: Particless
Atom -- Electron -- Gluon -- Graviton -- Neutrino -- Neutron -- Quark -- Photino -- Photon -- Proton -- W and Z bosons -- Particle radiation -- Phonon -- Roton
Bosons -- Fermions -- Supersymmetry -- Higgs boson
Subfields of physics
Accelerator physics -- Acoustics -- Astrophysics -- Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics -- Computational physics -- Condensed matter physics -- Cosmology -- Cryogenics -- Fluid dynamics -- Polymer physics -- Optics -- Materials physics -- Nuclear physics -- Plasma physics -- Particle physics (or High Energy Physics) -- Vehicle dynamics
Scientific method -- Physical quantity -- Measurement -- Measuring instruments -- Dimensional analysis -- Statistics--Scaling
List of physical laws -- Physical constants -- SI base units -- SI derived units -- SI prefixes -- Unit conversions
History of Physics -- Famous Physicists -- Nobel Prize in physics
Astronomy -- Biophysics -- Cycles -- Electronics -- Engineering -- Geophysics -- Materials science -- Mathematical physics -- Medical physics -- Physical chemistry -- Physics of computation
A brief history of physics
Note: The following is a cursory overview of the development of physics. For a more detailed history, please refer to the main article on this subject, History of physics.
Since antiquity, people have tried to understand the behavior of matter: why unsupported objects drop to the ground, why different materials have different properties, and so forth. Also a mystery was the character of the universe, such as the form of the Earth and the behavior of celestial objects such as the Sun and the Moon. Several theories were proposed, most of them were wrong. These theories were largely couched in philosophical terms, and never verified by systematic experimental testing. There were exceptions and there are anachronisms: for example, the Greek thinker Archimedes derived many correct quantitative descriptions of mechanics and hydrostatics.
During the early 17th century, Galileo pioneered the use of experiment to validate physical theories, which is the key idea in the scientific method. Galileo formulated and successfully tested several results in dynamics, in particular the Law of Inertia. In 1687, Newton published the Principia Mathematica, detailing two comprehensive and successful physical theories: Newton's laws of motion, from which arise classical mechanics; and Newton's Law of Gravitation, which describes the fundamental force of gravity. Both theories agreed well with experiment. Classical mechanics would be exhaustively extended by Lagrange, Hamilton, and others, who produced new formulations, principles, and results. The Law of Gravitation initiated the field of astrophysics, which describes astronomical phenomena using physical theories.
From the 18th century onwards, thermodynamics was developed by Boyle, Young, and many others. In 1733, Bernoulli used statistical arguments with classical mechanics to derive thermodynamic results, initiating the field of statistical mechanics. In 1798, Thompson demonstrated the conversion of mechanical work into heat, and in 1847 Joule stated the law of conservation of energy, in the form of heat as well as mechanical energy.
The behavior of electricity and magnetism was studied by Faraday, Ohm, and others. In 1855, Maxwell unified the two phenomena into a single theory of electromagnetism, described by Maxwell's equations. A prediction of this theory was that light is an electromagnetic wave.
In 1895, Roentgen discovered X-rays, which turned out to be high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by Henri Becquerel, and further studied by Pierre Curie and Marie Curie and others. This initiated the field of nuclear physics.
In 1897, Thomson discovered the electron, the elementary particle which carries electrical current in circuits. In 1904, he proposed the first model of the atom, known as the plum pudding model. (The existence of the atom had been proposed in 1808 by Dalton.)
In 1905, Einstein formulated the theory of special relativity, unifying space and time into a single entity, spacetime. Relativity prescribes a different transformation between reference frames than classical mechanics; this necessitated the development of relativistic mechanics as a replacement for classical mechanics. In the regime of low (relative) velocities, the two theories agree. In 1915, Einstein extended special relativity to explain gravity with the general theory of relativity, which replaces Newton's l
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PEERS - Physics Encyclopedia of E-Mail Records
Searchable directory of physicists. From: The Institute of Physics Publishing, UK
Compilation of physics authors that have published in American Institute of Physics journals.
Student in physics and mathematics. Includes information on several areas of research; high energy, radio astronomy and solar physics.
Amanda W. Peet
Assistant professor at the University of Toronto, interests include high-energy theoretical physics, string theory, quantum gravity and black holes.
Postdoc at the University of Lausanne. Contains a brief history, curriculum vitae, research interests, list of publications.
Graduate student at University of Massachusetts. Contains sections devoted to physics, programming languages, linux, book reviews, and personal writing.
Golam Mortuza Hossain
Junior Research Fellow (Theoretical Physics) at The Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Author of many technical papers and books.
Ard van Bergen
Theoretical physicist working as independent scientific consultant. Contains curriculum vitae and publication list.
Edward Chin Wang Lee
Engineering physics undergraduate. Offers resume, autobiography, projects and reports.
Main field of activity is the statistical mechanics of non-equilibrium systems. Contains research, resume, and publications.
Graduate student at MIT. Physics and math puzzles, scientist quotes, and personal information.
Professor at Mesa College. Includes lab materials and tutorials, links to Hubble space telescope and the jet propulsion laboratory.
Stephen L. Levy
Steve Levy is a member of the CDF (Collision Detector at FermiLab) collaboration and is working on problems of "top" physics and "new" physics.
Professor of theoretical physics. Researching the unification of the four fundamental forces.
University of Michigan Faculty
Atmospheric, ocean, and space science at Ann Arbor.
Graduate student in physics at UCLA. Current research involves experimental plasma physics in the UCLA Tokamak Laboratory.
Homepage of Sven Menke
Postdoc at Max-Planck-Institut for physics in Munich. Contains my recent works in experimental high-energy physics on OPAL, BaBar and ATLAS. Calorimetry, B-physics, tau-physics and QCD are the main topics.
Researcher at CINVESTAV, Mexico. Interests include string theory, gauge/string duality and QCD.
Research interests are in theoretical physics. Provides expert witness and scientific information service. Teaches at the University of Essex.
Igor Beloborodov Home Page
My research interests (# Theoretical condensed matter physics with an emphasis on electronic properties of mesoscopic and disordered systems. ) & resume
Postdoctoral Researcher at Brandeis University. Research interests are computational fluid dynamics, particle-solid and plasma interaction physics, plasma physics, biophysics of membrane proteins.
Henk van Elst -- Research in Relativistic Cosmology
Provides links to recent as well as classic research and review papers in relativistic cosmology and related fields, and also makes available notes with relevant equation systems.
Charles Hard Townes
The Nobel Laureate in Physics 1964
Researcher at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. Interests include phase transformations in multi-component melts, rapid solidification under local-nonequilibrium conditions, and phase-field simulation of solidification.
Includes guidance on popular reading in the subject as well as related links and descriptions of current work in particle physics and cosmology.
Researcher at the University of Michigan. Contains astrophysics research on morphological correlations of galaxy clusters.
Volodymyr V. Krasnoholovets
Professor at the National Academy of Science, Kyiv. Contains description research in conventional, applied and fundamental physics. Also deals with the submicroscopic construction of nature, quantum mechanics is combined with gravity.
Includes online copies of his dissertations, list of publications, pictures and a brief list of positions held.
Lars Petter Endresen
Postdoc at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Includes education, cooking, fishing, science, pressemelding.
Research fellow at Centro Nacional de MicroelectrÃ³nica, Spain. Includes brief history and information on gas microstructure radiation detectors.
Wm. J. Veigele
Former lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Includes resume and list of publications.
Professor at Ohio State, Marion. Includes physics organizations, and information on energy and recycling.
Professor at the University of Oregon. Contains research, teaching, recent papers and talks.
Davison E. Soper
University of Oregon; theoretical elementary particle theory.
Professor at Leicester University. Includes details on what this role entails and also details of the University of Leicester.
Professor at the University of Durham. Contains information on research, teaching, life and friends. Links to other sites relating to physics and mathematics.
Professor at Wake Forest University. Contains information on teaching, research, and personal life.
Researcher at Boston University. Information about sandpile dynamics as well as computer simulations. Links to scholarly papers about granular dynamics research.
Pablo F. Verdes
Researcher at Instituto de Fisica Rosario. Includes personal information, interests, publications, journals, and links.
Norwegian physicist. Information about CERN and Jack Steinberger.
Academic Consultant. ResumÃ© of the webmaster.
Professor at Portland State University. Includes research interests, publications, cv, nano-devices, and electron optics.
Professor of theoretical and statistical physics.
Researcher at the National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore. Contains his work in the field of Combustion and Propulsion, his family and his interests.
Publications of Thomas SchÃ¼rmann. Themes: Physics, Information Theory, Probability, Entropy
Space Physics Group at U Washington
Faculty, students, and staff of the space physics groups at UW
Graduate student at Stanford University. Includes research interests and publications, articles on relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory
Community of Science search engine to find home pages and contact addresses for scientists.
The McNab Group
Contains information on the research group, research grants, publications, and curriculum vitae.
A. John Mallinckrodt
Professor of Physics, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Includes a number of links to course materials, simulations and presentation materials.
Letters on his views on contemporary topics in this subject.
Contains entire paper entitled Total Integral for Electromagnetic Canonical Action.
Yuriy N. Zayko
Contains photos, curriculum vitae, list of publications and projects.
High school physics teacher. Includes a curriculum vitae, a diagram of deep inelastic scattering and related links.
Undergraduate at Physikalisch-Chemisches Institut. Contains research interests, curriculum vitae, publications, preprints, talks, and conferences.
Research Professor at the University of Alaska. Includes research interests, personal information, and publications.
Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University. Includes information on published books, journal and conference papers, a resume and related links.
Graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Contains research interests and experience, curriculum vitae, list of publications and photos.
Researcher at the National Institute for the Physics of Matter. Includes research interests in the field of nonlinear dynamics.
Professor at Colorado School of Mines. Lists courses taught, science and religion, optics, optical communications, metrology, biography, books and publications.
Xue Song Rao
Research Scientist in the Temasek Laboratories of NUS. Contains information on fabrication and characterization of electromagnetic materials for the applications in microwave frequencies.
Presidential Fellow in low-temperature condensed matter experiment at Ohio State University. Includes contact information and research interests.
Mississippi State University, Department of Physics and Astronomy: designing and delivering training to faculty, students and teachers on the use of computers for learning and teaching.
Bernard F. Burke
Professor of Astrophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A profile of Bernard Burke and his work in radio astronomy
Research Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Contains projects, biographical sketch, publications, and research interests.
Lecturer in physics and senior undergraduate admissions tutor. The site contains course notes, reference manuals and various other topics associated with the author.
Professor at Imperial College. Contains research and professional interests, past and present.
Southampton Physics and Astronomy Staff
Faculty and staff at the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Southampton.
Ben-Gurion University. Research interests: Quantum mechanics, Quantum chaos, Theory of driven mesoscopic (nano) systems, Quantum irreversibility, Dissipation and dephasing. Publications.
Bachelor of science from Boise State University. Contains personal information, resume, and Lobster Institute.
Space Physics Research Laboratory
The people at Embry Riddle's Space Physics Research Lab.
Doctoral student at the University at Darmstadt. Includes links to particle physics, work and private interests.
PhD from University of Cambridge. Contains history and curriculum vitae.
Professor at University of Potsdam. Interests include research in cardiovascular physics. Includes publications, talks, software, curriculum vitae, and links.
Professor at Northeastern University. Contains publications, talks, media coverage of research, and photos.
Ph.D. candidate in the Light Microscopy Group at Heidelberg. Contains a curriculum vitae, thesis and list of publications. the EMBL,
Researcher at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy. Contains publications, conferences,and scientific research information.
Research at the Max Planck Institute studying circumplanetary dust physics, astronomical signal and image analysis.
Professor at the University of Costa Rica. Curriculum vitae and recent publications focused on the properties of the nuclear forces, high energy proton collisions, and the group structure of grand unified theories.
Famous Physicists and Astronomers
Several pages containing brief biography and accomplishments.
Senior research scientist at the University of Massachusetts. Research projects include environmental monitoring, 3D terrain reconstruction, assimilating existing 3D information, and using 3D texture to improve classifier performance.
Postdoctoral assosiate at Penn State. Experimentalist that works in nanotechnology related fields, surface physics and smart materials.
Chang Liu and Na Deng
Teaching assistants at Rutgers University and New Jersey Institute of Technology. Personal description, photo album, research, and favorites.
Contains research, publications, thin film lab, and microwave oven leak detector.
C. D. Cantrell
Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. Contains background information, teaching, research, links to courses.
Research Professor at Harvard University. Contains published papers, arsenic project, chemical carcinogens, radiation, human rights, elementary and particle physics.
Professor at Swinburne University of Technology. Introduces Mathematica projects, Grassmann algebra, programming for engineers, probabilistic and robust engineering design.
Cosmologist at Fermilab, working in the theoretical astrophysics group. Also professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Contains selected talks, and academic lectures.
Edward F. Redish
Professor at the University of Maryland. Contains projects, classes, activities and resources.
Researcher at Bariloche Nuclear Center. Includes activity on neural networks, neural modelling and related subjects. List of publications.
Barbara De Lotto
Professor of Physics at the University of Udine, Italy. Provides useful information about scientific and teaching activity.
Faculty member at the University of Oregon who engages mostly in observational astronomy. Contains many pictures of astronomical phenomenon.
Contains information on research in various areas of plasma physics and controlled thermonuclear fusion.
Undergraduate physics student. Includes a diary of related thoughts, a brief introduction to Feynman, information on personal interests in the subject and related links.
Doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta. Contains research activities, personal biography, and photographs.
Professor at Dartmouth College. Contains research, teaching, public understanding of science, and public lectures.
Faculty member at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Includes string theory and quantum mechanics articles, classical Indian music and culture, also photos and music links.
Guest engineer at Fermilab, D0 experiment. Information about trigger DFE firmware.
Professor at the University of Alaska. Includes research interests and publications.
Professor at the University of Alaska. Includes recent papers, and details on the GI space physics undergraduate intern program.
Research information on medical physics.
Research associate at University of Milano. Includes information on particle physics, a short biography, and links to particle physics.
Offers publications, conference presentations, ferrolelectrics, thin films, and raman spectroscopy.
Wu, Jiun-Huei Proty
Research in cosmology, physics, free codes and personal background.
Research results and papers in astrophysics and linguistics.
Focuses on theoretical physics and art.
Postdoc at the National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan. Contains a curriculum vitae, research interests, list of publications. Field of interest - Dielectric relaxation, heterogeneous catalytic reaction and Finite Element Method.
Benjamin G Lee
Graduate student at Harvard University studying experimental condensed matter physics. Contains personal information, photos, and research interests.
Zhi Gang Yu
Research physicist studying spin-dependent transport in organic materials and devices, DNA and proteins, conducting polymers, and high-temperature superconductors.
Undergraduate Physics major at Princeton University. Contains math and physics resources.
This site details projects completed by Michael Allen during his final year studying Applied Physics in Dublin City university. Projects include DNA analysis using laser ablation and x-ray standing waves surface science technique.
A. R. Osborne
Contains overview of research on nonlinear wave motion, references, conventions and events.
James G. Gilson
Site explains the motivation behind discoveries which include a formula for the fine structure constant and quantum physics high energy applications.
Graduated in physics in 2003, Edinburgh, Scotland and continues to research into the fields of single bubble sonoluminescence and linear/non-linear properties of II-VI quantum dots.
Talks about work in CFD, university and personal interests.
Contains documents and resume.
Postdoctoral Researcher in UMass Dartmouth, Department of Chemistry. Developing quantum-mechanical perturbation theory for atomic and molecular problems. Documents, publications, pictures.
Researcher at the University of Alaska. Includes links to research projects.
Working on turbulence theory, optical telecommunications and data clustering. Contains publications, CV, and notes.
Researcher at Harvard University. Interests include variation of fundamental constants, nucleosynthesis, neutron cross sections, radiation risk, uncertainty analysis, risk analysis, monte carlo simulation, and global climate change.
Contains research interests and publication list.
Z. Q. Chen
Field of research is positron annihilation. Contains personal history, publication list and recent activities.
Information about research, namely on random networks. Also presents classes online: Statistical physics, computational physics, and mechanics and relativity.
Contains physics equations and formulas, physical constants, plus astronomy pictures.