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Scope and Excitement

Man has continuously tried to understand the nature of the world around him. The two factors that contributed towards this are:

  1. The inquiring mind of man
  2. Situations, which forced man to have an insight into his environment in order to survive in a hostile world.

The pursuit of understanding nature has led to the present day’s modern science and technology.

The knowledge and the experience gained over a period of time were transmitted from generation to generation. Each generation added new facts to this knowledge body and the systematized knowledge thus formed over generations was called ‘science’. The word ‘science’ comes from the Latin word ‘Scientia’ which means ‘to know’.

There was no clear-cut division between the several branches of science as we know them today. All were included in the term natural philosophy. Aristotle, Archimedes Galileo and Newton called themselves natural philosophers.

The various branches of science as they exist today, may be divided into two broad classes, physical and biological. Physical sciences deal with non-living matter and biological sciences with living matter.

The scope of physics can be understood if one looks at its various sub-disciplines such as mechanics, optics, heat and thermodynamics, nuclear physics, semi conductor and solid-state physics etc. The laws of Physics help one to understand the cause–effect relationship of the various observations of the physical phenomena.

The excitement of physics lies mainly with the application of principles of physics to the betterment of human life in terms of practical contributions and technological advancement.

Many physical phenomena and experiences are dealt with in physics. An extensive study of these has resulted in the invention of numerous machines and tools, which result in a higher quality of life for human beings.

Another fascinating feature of physics is its wide variety, reach, range and diversity of application at different levels. The phenomenon involving sub-atomic particles is in the range of 10-30 kg, 10-15m and so on. On the other hand, the astronomical scale involves an order of 1026m, 1030 kg and so on. Number of physical phenomena both at the atomic scale and at the astrnomical scale is dealt with by various theories of physics, spanning the widest range of orders of magnitude.

No physical phenomenon can be studied in isolation; there is a variety of interaction one has to deal with, which can be quite complex.

Also complex phenomena are analyzed in terms of unifying principles and in terms of smaller simpler units with important parameters.

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