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Created: 15 Jan, 2010; Last Modified: 16 Feb, 2010




Physics is considered the most fundamental of the physical sciences. The subject deals with the basic principles and laws of the Universe. It forms the foundation on which other physical sciences, like astronomy, chemistry, geology and biology, are based.

People who study and work in the field of physics are known as physicists.

The objective of physics is to find the simplest possible explanation of how things work, and to find the fundamental relations between cause and effect. Physicists believe that everything that happens in the Universe is governed by a set of natural laws which are fixed. The goal of physics is to deduce the natural laws through experiments and analysis.

Branches of physics

The main branches of physics are mechanics, heat, electricity & magnetism, acoustics and optics. Except for mechanics, the other branches listed study different kinds of energy that interact with matter.


Mechanics is one of the most ancient branches of physics. It deals with motion of objects under the action of forces.


This branch of physics deals with characteristics of heat, its mode of transfer and its measurement.

Electricity & Magnetism

This branch of physics studies the two aspects of electrically charged particleselectricity and magnetism. While stationary charged particles produce electrical fields, moving charges can also produce magnetic fields.


Acoustics deals with the study of sound waves, how they are transmitted, received and controlled.


Optics is a study of the behaviour of light, both visible and invisible to human eye, and instruments that manipulate light, such as prisms and lenses.



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'physics,' in Britannica Elementary Library, Ultimate Reference Suite, CD-ROM, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008.
'physics,' in Britannica Student Library, Ultimate Reference Suite, CD-ROM, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008.
'physics,' in Encyclopedia Britannica, Ultimate Reference Suite, CD-ROM, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008.
Serway, RA & Jewett, JW, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 6th edn, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2004.