Physics is a natural science involving the study of matter and its motion through space-time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. On a broader scale, it also involves the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.
Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines, perhaps the oldest through its inclusion of astronomy. Physics was part of natural philosophy until the Scientific Revolution in the 16th century, when the natural sciences emerged as unique research programs in their own right. However, physics continued to be associated with natural philosophy until the late 18th century.
Physics makes significant contributions through advances in new technologies that arise from theoretical breakthroughs. For example, advances in the understanding of electromagnetism or nuclear physics led directly to the development of new products which have dramatically transformed modern-day society, such as television, computers, domestic appliances, and nuclear weapons.
Classical physics became a separate science when early modern Europeans used experimental and quantitative methods to discover what are now considered to be laws of physics. Scientists, including Kepler, Galileo and, more notably, Newton, have discovered and unified the different laws of motion.
During the industrial revolution, as energy needs increased, so did research, which led to the discovery of new laws in thermodynamics, chemistry and electromagnetics. Modern physics started with the works of Einstein both in relativity and quantum physics.
Physics also has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy. From Thales’ first attempt to characterize matter, to Democritus’ deduction that matter ought to reduce to an invariant state, the Ptolemaic astronomy of a crystalline firmament, and Aristotle’s book Physics, various Greek philosophers advanced their own theories of nature. Physics was known as natural philosophy until the late 18th century. Physics became a distinct discipline in the 19th century.
The development of physics has answered many questions of early philosophers, but has also raised many new questions as well. Study of the philosophical issues surrounding physics, the philosophy of physics, involves issues such as the nature of space and time, determinism, and metaphysical outlooks such as empiricism, naturalism and realism.
Physics covers a wide range of phenomena, from elementary particles (such as quarks, neutrinos and electrons) to the largest superclusters of galaxies. Contemporary research in physics can be broadly divided into a number of subfields: including condensed matter physics; atomic, molecular, and optical physics; particle physics; astrophysics; geophysics and biophysics.
Related fields of Physics include: Astronomy, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics, Quantum Mechanics and Science, among others.
Image Caption: Some images about Physics: (from top-left, clockwise) Refraction of light (which is described by w:en:Optics), A laser, A hot air balloon, A spintop (whose movement is described by classical mechanics), The effects of an inelastic collision, Atomic orbitals of hydrogen (which are described by w:en:quantum mechanics), An atomic bomb exploding, Lightning (which is an electrical phenomenon), Galaxies (photo made by the Hubble Space Telescope). Credit: Aushulz/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)