Scope of Physics


Physics is the branch of science deals with the nature and properties of matter and energy. A diverse number of topics are covered under one subject -physics. Components of physics were extracted originally from optics,   mechanics, and astronomy, which were methodologically consolidated into physics with the help of geometry- a subdomain of mathematics. However, these subjects are just representational.  Physics, a branch of science essentially help to sharpens the knowledge and skills on the study of matter and energy. Revelations of physics are applicable in many facets of life because almost everything we use to survive today has some contribution from physics. Physics of modern times is divided loosely into classical physics and modern physics.

Origin and growth of physics

Physics is the oldest discipline. These mathematical disciplines were introduced in antiquity with the Babylonians along with some Hellenistic writers; Archimedes and Ptolemy. The word 'Physics' originates from the Greek word 'Nature' (written as 'φύση'). It was originated in the late 15th century. Galileo Galilei, called the father of modern physics, has contributed a lot to the discipline. People in the ancient times believed that, natural phenomenon such as raining, thunders, storms, the formation of clouds, are all driven by the divine forces but as the centuries moved, they realized the fact that physics is something beyond their innate belief. Consequently, they started believing that the subject has a lot to do with day-to-day life.  Scientists like Newton, Archimedes, and Albert Einstein have contributed a lot on the basic principles of gravitation, force, speed, and velocity. However, these areas lacked  scientific base in the beginning. Later on, as the scientific era has grown into new heights, the physics as a discipline has expanded into many super-specializations including some phenomenal area like astronomy, nuclear physics, thermodynamics, optics, atomic physics, etc. Each specialization serves some particular areas of interest as discussed below.

Branches of physics



Physics is a natural science that includes some of the most useful areas such as mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, electromagnetism etc.  Mechanics deal with the motion and general systems of particles. Heat and thermodynamics help to understand how heat can change other dynamics such as volume, pressure, the gravity of an object. For instance, when the rice is pressure-cooked, the heat energy is converted into pressure which can be observed by the popping up of the cooker`s weight. Coming to the electromagnetism, it is a common discipline deal with the electric and magnetic fields. Optics improves the knowledge and skills pertaining  to the surfaces of mirrors, glasses and its nature alongside some behaviours of these objects under different contexts, for instance, the concept of differences between the convex and concave. Furthermore, atomic and nuclear physics has something to do with atoms including their structure, properties, distribution, and behaviours. It is one of the most interesting disciplines, explain various concepts of protons, neutrons and electrons. Adding to this, the area also embellishes about atomic weight, atomic force, atomic energy, and atomic composition. Lastly, nuclear physics deals with atomic physics that help us to explain the production, distribution and usage of nuclear energy.

Physics as a discipline

Physics describes various natural events with the help of theories and laws. The 2 major principles of physics are Unification and reduction. Unification states that a phenomenon needs the unification or a combination of 2 different phenomena in nature. For example, electricity and magnetism are two different phenomena unified under a common discipline, electromagnetism. The reduction uses the principle of solving a complex problem by breaking it into simpler segments, for example, the temperature of a system is reduced to average kinetic. The major channels from which physics has boomed into a broad discipline are the hypotheses, axioms, and modals. The 3 laws help us to understand the cause-effect relationships of many scientific phenomena in our day-to-day observations. 


Every phenomenon that happens around us cannot be proved, as some of them can only be verified or substantiated. A hypothesis is a mere supposition of a phenomenon without assuming that it is true. It is an idea that can be verified only after the experiments and observations hence the word "If" always precedes in a statement of hypothesis.  Some examples of the hypothesis  which we can hear  constantly are;

  1. If you leave the lights on, it will take longer for someone to fall asleep.

  2. If you refrigerate apples, they will last longer before going bad.

  3. If you keep the curtains closed, then less electricity will be used to heat or cool the house


Axiom is a very common term in both Physics and Mathematics. There are no approved axioms in physics, however, an axiom is something you believe to be true, but you can't assume everything is true in physics. An example of an obvious axiom is the principle of contradiction. It says that a statement and its opposite cannot both be true at the same time and place. For instance, when we throw a stone, the precise gravitation is not the same in every situation because the wind force against the falling stone can hamper the true value of gravitation.


Modal is a proposed theory to explain particular phenomena. All the scientific statements stated by the scientists under the neutral conditions belong to modals.

Concept of classical physics and modern physics

Classical physics deals with what we see in day-to-day life while modern physics is one step beyond this. Modern physics is strongly based on the advanced-level maths with an ability to conceptualize the invisible things. This includes those concepts and principles that have emerged after the beginning of the 20th century.  Some of the topics dealt under modern physics are the theory of relativity, quantum physics, astrophysics,  nuclear physics, particle physics, and quantum field theory.

Additional questions

  1. Define physics.

  2. Mention any 4 disciplines where the knowledge of physics is applicable.

  3. Differentiate between classical physics and modern physics.

  4. What is thermodynamics?

  5. Differentiate between hypotheses, axioms, and modals.


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