# History & Branches of Physics

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Physics is a natural science that studies matter, energy, and their motion through space and time. Its laws are typically expressed with economy and precision in the language of mathematics.

In the 20th century, physics saw great strides as we learned more about atoms and subatomic particles. This led to the invention of nuclear fission and the development of a new generation of nuclear power plants and weapons.

### Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with the movement of energy from one form to another. It first appeared in the nineteenth century when scientists were working on steam engines.

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can be changed from one form to another. This law also explains why no two machines can run the same way, and why no chemical reaction can occur in the same place.

A system’s total energy includes a combination of internal energy, which is the amount of energy that is inside the substance at a given temperature; kinetic energy due to the motion of the system as a whole (e.g., heat flowing through a pipe); and potential energy, which is energy that could be obtained from an external force field. Thermodynamic potentials are quantitative measures of the energy changes in a system as it evolves from its initial state to a final state.

### Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics that describes the properties of matter and energy at atomic levels. It deals with the interactions of atoms and subatomic particles; it is the basis for many scientific disciplines including quantum chemistry, nuclear physics, quantum field theory, and quantum information science.

In the early 1900s, German theoretical physicist Max Planck suggested that energy wasn’t emitted continuously but instead in discrete packets called quanta. The idea was a radical one, but it quickly became the foundation for a new branch of physics.

Theorists interpreted this discovery to explain unusual phenomena, like the emission of energy when an object is heated. They also proposed a number of principles that made the results of experiments and mathematical models more meaningful. These include the quantization principle, wave-particle duality, and the uncertainty principle.

### Electromagnetics

Electromagnetics is a branch of physics which deals with the study of electromagnetic force. It is one of four fundamental interactions – along with gravitation, weak interaction and strong interaction – between electrically charged particles.

In 1821, English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday integrated the studies of electricity with those of magnetism to prove that a moving magnet induced an electric current in a conductor. This helped Faraday formulate a physical conception of electromagnetic fields, which was later developed by James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century.

Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetic field theory explain a broad range of phenomena, including the propagation of light. His mathematical description of this process also revealed that all waves of electromagnetic radiation – radio, microwave, infrared, visible and ultraviolet rays – travel at the same speed – the velocity of light (roughly 300,000 kilometers per second).

### Astronomy

Astronomy is a science that studies celestial objects and phenomena, using subjects like mathematics, physics, and chemistry. It has long fascinated humans and continues to do so.

Its main interest is the universe and the study of stars, planets, comets, and asteroids. However, astronomy is also concerned with other topics including the origin and evolution of chemical substances in space, such as astrochemistry, cosmochemistry, and archaeoastronomy.

Although astronomy is one of the oldest and most well-developed disciplines, it still has room for more scientific discoveries. Its many interdisciplinary links with other major scientific fields have helped it to develop new techniques and tools and expand the scope of its understanding.

### Modern Physics

Modern Physics is a branch of science that centers around the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. These theories are credited with revolutionizing physics and making it a more scientifically oriented discipline.

The main branches of modern physics include atomic physics, nuclear physics, optics, and thermodynamics. It also covers medical physics and physical chemistry.

Another branch of physics is biophysics, which deals with biological problems and phenomena. It focuses on the application of physics to human health and wellbeing.

History & Branches of Physics
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