History & Branches of Physics
The study of matter, energy, and motion is the basic domain of physics. It is a science that finds applications throughout the natural sciences and in technology.
Today, physics is divided into several specialized fields. Those include classical physics, modern physics, and astrophysics.
Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that studies the flow of energy from one form to another. It first appeared in the 19th century, when scientists began working on steam engines.
The branch is based on three laws: the first law states that energy can be exchanged from a system as heat or work, and the second law imposes more severe constraints on heat transfer and limits the efficiency of heat engines. The third law states that a system’s temperature will increase unless the system is cooled to a lower temperature.
Thermodynamics is a complex field that took many years to develop. It is also the foundation for important concepts in the world we live in, such as power plants, chemical reactions, refrigerators, and other forms of energy transfer.
Kinematics is the branch of physics that deals with the motion of objects. It is used in astrophysics, mechanical engineering, and robotics.
It focuses on deferential qualities like velocity and acceleration, and it is important to understand how these quantities affect the motion of an object. In kinematics, you’ll learn to use words, diagrams, numbers, graphs, and equations to describe the motion of an object.
This is a very broad branch of physics, and it deals with many different types of motion. Some of the most common examples are projectile motion, free fall, and rotational kinematics.
In kinematics, you’ll study the relationship between the quantities displacement (d), velocity (v), and acceleration (a). These are all vectors, meaning they have direction and magnitude, but they also have a specific location in space.
Electricity is a form of energy that comes from the movement of electrons. Electrons orbit atoms’ nuclei, where protons and neutrons are located.
When electrons flow through a wire, they move at the speed of light! They can also be changed entirely into light when they are inserted into a light bulb’s filament.
While electricity has been around for centuries, it wasn’t until the 18th century that scientists began to understand how it worked and how to use it. That’s when we began to see the first electrical inventions like light bulbs and telegraph machines.
Before that, people had been experimenting with static electricity and lightning. Benjamin Franklin, for example, did a kite experiment in 1752 to prove that lightning was actually electrical.
One of the pillars of modern physics, quantum mechanics describes the behavior of matter and energy at atomic and subatomic levels. It replaces classical mechanics and classical electromagnetism on this scale, explains phenomena on the macroscale that classical theory cannot explain, and helps to resolve many of the inconsistencies between classical and quantum physics.
Quantum Mechanics was developed in the 1920s by scientists who were gradually recognizing that both radiation and matter have characteristics of waves and particles at the fundamental level. For example, physicist Max Planck discovered that light could be absorbed or emitted as discrete packets, which he called quanta.
The discovery that deterministic cause-and-effect physics could not explain the behavior of atoms led to a revolution in science. It reoriented our understanding of reality, revealing that what we see is not actually what we see. This insight spawned the “consistent histories” interpretation, pioneered by Robert Griffiths and later elaborated by Murray Gell-Mann and James Hartle.