Royal college physics term test papers

For instance, the theory of classical mechanics accurately describes the motion of objects, provided they are much larger than atoms and moving at much less than the speed of light.

These theories continue to be areas of active research today. Chaos theory , a remarkable aspect of classical mechanics was discovered in the 20th century, three centuries after the original formulation of classical mechanics by Isaac Newton — These central theories are important tools for research into more specialised topics, and any physicist, regardless of their specialisation, is expected to be literate in them.

These include classical mechanics , quantum mechanics , thermodynamics and statistical mechanics , electromagnetism , and special relativity. Classical physics includes the traditional branches and topics that were recognised and well-developed before the beginning of the 20th century— classical mechanics , acoustics , optics , thermodynamics , and electromagnetism. Classical mechanics is concerned with bodies acted on by forces and bodies in motion and may be divided into statics study of the forces on a body or bodies not subject to an acceleration , kinematics study of motion without regard to its causes , and dynamics study of motion and the forces that affect it ; mechanics may also be divided into solid mechanics and fluid mechanics known together as continuum mechanics , the latter include such branches as hydrostatics , hydrodynamics , aerodynamics , and pneumatics.

Acoustics is the study of how sound is produced, controlled, transmitted and received. Optics , the study of light , is concerned not only with visible light but also with infrared and ultraviolet radiation , which exhibit all of the phenomena of visible light except visibility, e. Heat is a form of energy , the internal energy possessed by the particles of which a substance is composed; thermodynamics deals with the relationships between heat and other forms of energy.

Electricity and magnetism have been studied as a single branch of physics since the intimate connection between them was discovered in the early 19th century; an electric current gives rise to a magnetic field , and a changing magnetic field induces an electric current. Electrostatics deals with electric charges at rest, electrodynamics with moving charges, and magnetostatics with magnetic poles at rest.

Classical physics is generally concerned with matter and energy on the normal scale of observation, while much of modern physics is concerned with the behavior of matter and energy under extreme conditions or on a very large or very small scale.

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For example, atomic and nuclear physics studies matter on the smallest scale at which chemical elements can be identified. The physics of elementary particles is on an even smaller scale since it is concerned with the most basic units of matter; this branch of physics is also known as high-energy physics because of the extremely high energies necessary to produce many types of particles in particle accelerators. On this scale, ordinary, commonsensical notions of space, time, matter, and energy are no longer valid. The two chief theories of modern physics present a different picture of the concepts of space, time, and matter from that presented by classical physics.

Classical mechanics approximates nature as continuous, while quantum theory is concerned with the discrete nature of many phenomena at the atomic and subatomic level and with the complementary aspects of particles and waves in the description of such phenomena. The theory of relativity is concerned with the description of phenomena that take place in a frame of reference that is in motion with respect to an observer; the special theory of relativity is concerned with motion in the absence of gravitational fields and the general theory of relativity with motion and its connection with gravitation.

Both quantum theory and the theory of relativity find applications in all areas of modern physics. While physics aims to discover universal laws, its theories lie in explicit domains of applicability. Loosely speaking, the laws of classical physics accurately describe systems whose important length scales are greater than the atomic scale and whose motions are much slower than the speed of light. Outside of this domain, observations do not match predictions provided by classical mechanics. Albert Einstein contributed the framework of special relativity , which replaced notions of absolute time and space with spacetime and allowed an accurate description of systems whose components have speeds approaching the speed of light.

Later, quantum field theory unified quantum mechanics and special relativity. General relativity allowed for a dynamical, curved spacetime , with which highly massive systems and the large-scale structure of the universe can be well-described. General relativity has not yet been unified with the other fundamental descriptions; several candidate theories of quantum gravity are being developed.

Mathematics provides a compact and exact language used to describe the order in nature.

This was noted and advocated by Pythagoras , [49] Plato , [50] Galileo , [51] and Newton. Physics uses mathematics [52] to organise and formulate experimental results. From those results, precise or estimated solutions are obtained, quantitative results from which new predictions can be made and experimentally confirmed or negated.

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The results from physics experiments are numerical data, with their units of measure and estimates of the errors in the measurements. Technologies based on mathematics, like computation have made computational physics an active area of research. Ontology is a prerequisite for physics, but not for mathematics. It means physics is ultimately concerned with descriptions of the real world, while mathematics is concerned with abstract patterns, even beyond the real world.

Thus physics statements are synthetic, while mathematical statements are analytic. Mathematics contains hypotheses, while physics contains theories. Mathematics statements have to be only logically true, while predictions of physics statements must match observed and experimental data.

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The distinction is clear-cut, but not always obvious. For example, mathematical physics is the application of mathematics in physics. Its methods are mathematical, but its subject is physical. Every mathematical statement used for solving has a hard-to-find physical meaning. The final mathematical solution has an easier-to-find meaning, because it is what the solver is looking for. Pure physics is a branch of fundamental science also called basic science.

Physics is also called "the fundamental science" because all branches of natural science like chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology are constrained by laws of physics.

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For example, chemistry studies properties, structures, and reactions of matter chemistry's focus on the molecular and atomic scale distinguishes it from physics. Structures are formed because particles exert electrical forces on each other, properties include physical characteristics of given substances, and reactions are bound by laws of physics, like conservation of energy, mass, and charge. Physics is applied in industries like engineering and medicine. Applied physics is a general term for physics research which is intended for a particular use.

An applied physics curriculum usually contains a few classes in an applied discipline, like geology or electrical engineering. It usually differs from engineering in that an applied physicist may not be designing something in particular, but rather is using physics or conducting physics research with the aim of developing new technologies or solving a problem. The approach is similar to that of applied mathematics.

Applied physicists use physics in scientific research. For instance, people working on accelerator physics might seek to build better particle detectors for research in theoretical physics. Physics is used heavily in engineering. For example, statics , a subfield of mechanics , is used in the building of bridges and other static structures. The understanding and use of acoustics results in sound control and better concert halls; similarly, the use of optics creates better optical devices.

An understanding of physics makes for more realistic flight simulators , video games , and movies, and is often critical in forensic investigations. With the standard consensus that the laws of physics are universal and do not change with time, physics can be used to study things that would ordinarily be mired in uncertainty. For example, in the study of the origin of the earth , one can reasonably model earth's mass, temperature, and rate of rotation, as a function of time allowing one to extrapolate forward or backward in time and so predict future or prior events.

It also allows for simulations in engineering that drastically speed up the development of a new technology. But there is also considerable interdisciplinarity , so many other important fields are influenced by physics e. Physicists use the scientific method to test the validity of a physical theory. By using a methodical approach to compare the implications of a theory with the conclusions drawn from its related experiments and observations, physicists are better able to test the validity of a theory in a logical, unbiased, and repeatable way.

To that end, experiments are performed and observations are made in order to determine the validity or invalidity of the theory. A scientific law is a concise verbal or mathematical statement of a relation that expresses a fundamental principle of some theory, such as Newton's law of universal gravitation. Theorists seek to develop mathematical models that both agree with existing experiments and successfully predict future experimental results, while experimentalists devise and perform experiments to test theoretical predictions and explore new phenomena.

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Although theory and experiment are developed separately, they strongly affect and depend upon each other. Progress in physics frequently comes about when experimental results defy explanation by existing theories, prompting intense focus on applicable modelling, and when new theories generate experimentally testable predictions , which inspire developing new experiments and often related equipment, possibly roping in some applied physicists to help build it. Physicists who work at the interplay of theory and experiment are called phenomenologists , who study complex phenomena observed in experiment and work to relate them to a fundamental theory.

Theoretical physics has historically taken inspiration from philosophy; electromagnetism was unified this way. Theorists invoke these ideas in hopes of solving particular problems with existing theories.

They then explore the consequences of these ideas and work toward making testable predictions. Experimental physics expands, and is expanded by, engineering and technology. Experimental physicists involved in basic research design and perform experiments with equipment such as particle accelerators and lasers , whereas those involved in applied research often work in industry developing technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging MRI and transistors.

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Feynman has noted that experimentalists may seek areas that have not been explored well by theorists. Physics covers a wide range of phenomena , from elementary particles such as quarks, neutrinos, and electrons to the largest superclusters of galaxies. Included in these phenomena are the most basic objects composing all other things. Therefore, physics is sometimes called the " fundamental science ". Thus, physics aims to both connect the things observable to humans to root causes , and then connect these causes together.

For example, the ancient Chinese observed that certain rocks lodestone and magnetite were attracted to one another by an invisible force. This effect was later called magnetism , which was first rigorously studied in the 17th century. But even before the Chinese discovered magnetism, the ancient Greeks knew of other objects such as amber , that when rubbed with fur would cause a similar invisible attraction between the two.

Thus, physics had come to understand two observations of nature in terms of some root cause electricity and magnetism. However, further work in the 19th century revealed that these two forces were just two different aspects of one force— electromagnetism. This process of "unifying" forces continues today, and electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force are now considered to be two aspects of the electroweak interaction.

Physics hopes to find an ultimate reason theory of everything for why nature is as it is see section Current research below for more information. Contemporary research in physics can be broadly divided into nuclear and particle physics ; condensed matter physics ; atomic, molecular, and optical physics ; astrophysics ; and applied physics. Some physics departments also support physics education research and physics outreach.

Since the 20th century, the individual fields of physics have become increasingly specialised, and today most physicists work in a single field for their entire careers. The major fields of physics, along with their subfields and the theories and concepts they employ, are shown in the following table. Particle physics is the study of the elementary constituents of matter and energy and the interactions between them.

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The field is also called "high-energy physics" because many elementary particles do not occur naturally but are created only during high-energy collisions of other particles. Currently, the interactions of elementary particles and fields are described by the Standard Model. Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies the constituents and interactions of atomic nuclei. The most commonly known applications of nuclear physics are nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons technology, but the research has provided application in many fields, including those in nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging , ion implantation in materials engineering , and radiocarbon dating in geology and archaeology.