Branches of Physics

Physics is defined as “The branch of science in which the study of the properties of matter and energy along with the interaction between them is undertaken.”

Physics have many branches and have much application in our daily life. Few of them are discussed below.

Main Branches of physics

Subjects studied within the scope of physics are called branches of physics. The conventional branches of physics are: mechanics; heat; sound; light; electricity and magnetism. With the rapid development in physics, its scope grew so large that it is not possible to cover physics under the above branches. A number of new branches have been introduced. A brief view of the branches of physics are:

1. Mechanics:

It is concerned with the motion of material objects or particles under the action of forces.

2. Heat:

It deals with heat, as a form of energy as well as with the transmission of heat energy by means of conduction, convection and radiation.

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3. Light:

It deals with the nature of light and with the propagation, reflection, refraction, dispersion and the wave properties of light. Optical instruments are also discussed in this branch of physics.

4. Electricity and Magnetism:

It is concerned with the study of static as well as moving charges and the physical phenomena that occur due to the effects of the charges.

5. Atomic Physics:

Matter is composed of atoms. Atomic physics is concerned with the structure and characteristic properties of individual atoms.

6. Nuclear Physics:

The physics of the nucleus of an atom is called nuclear physics.

7. Solid-state Physics:

Solids have some special properties. The study of the physical properties of solids is called solid state physics.

8. Elementary Particle Physics:

Besides protons, neutrons and electrons, a good number of other fundamental particles have been observed. The study of the fundamental particles and the search for finding a relation between them is called elementary particle physics.

9. Plasma Physics:

When gaseous matter is raised to very high temperature, its atoms lose all their electrons. Such ionized state of matter is called plasma. Some scientists consider plasma, bare nuclei and free electrons as the fourth state of matter. The physics of plasma is known as plasma physics.

10. Astro Physics:

The study of the physical properties of heavenly bodies, the interaction of matter and energy going on within these bodies and the study of the space between them is called as astrophysics.

11. Biophysics:

The study of biology based on the principles of physics is called biophysics.

12. Geophysics:

The study of earth, its structure and its atmosphere on the principles of the physics is called geophysics. Earthquakes, earth’s magnetism and the study of weather are covered in geophysics.

13. Health Physics:

This branch of physics is concerned with the effects of radioactive rays on living bodies as well as with the methods of safeguarding against the harmful effects of radioactivity.

Role of Physics

In the modern world the electric power we use in our homes and industries generated at the power stations is produced on the principle of induced emf due to the changing flux of a magnetic field. Lasers, which are widely used in medical science, metallurgy, astronomy and defense derive their principles from atomic physics. Nuclear energy is used on a large scale to produce electric power. Electronic appliances, which are in common use owe their existence to the research in solid-state physics. Automobile technology is based on the principle of thermodynamics. Radar technology is indebted to the principle of reflection and detection of electromagnetic waves. We see that from a small household appliance to a space exploring problem everywhere principles and laws of physics are being exploited. Thus, physics is playing a vital role in shaping our life style and influencing our way of thinking.

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