• Question: What is your best thing about physics?

    Asked by view354bat to Savannah, Philippe, Lucy, Harrison, Edoardo on 19 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Philippe Gambron

      Philippe Gambron answered on 19 Jun 2019:

      If offers answers to some fascinating puzzles. For example, what is matter is made of? What happened during the first moments of the Universe? How do space and time behave in strange situations like close to a black hole. The other reason is that physics is relatively reliable. We can make a calculation and it will correspond well to what we observe. So we can build a theory and predict quite well what is going to happen in the real world. This does not work as well with other sciences like chemistry or medicine. This is not because we are more clever. It is because the systems we are studying are more simple. At the same time, their world is richer and more complex but I prefer to remain at the heart of things.

    • Photo: Savannah Clawson

      Savannah Clawson answered on 19 Jun 2019:

      I think my favourite thing about physics is that it never stops surprising us. The more we learn in physics, the more crazy and amazing we discover that the Universe really is. Being a physicist is like being a time-traveller – we can use physics to look further back in time than any history book will tell you about (right back to the very start of the Universe at the Big Bang) and we can use physics to predict what will happen in the future and whether our Universe will come to a crashing end or continue expanding on forever. We use physics to learn about the very small world of particles and atoms right up to the very big scales of planets and galaxies. However, one of the best things about physics is that for every question it helps us answer, it opens up lots and lots more questions! Therefore, a physicist’s job is never done 😉

    • Photo: Harrison Prosper

      Harrison Prosper answered on 19 Jun 2019: last edited 19 Jun 2019 12:06 pm

      The best thing about physics is that it explains a lot of everyday things in a rational, evidence-based, way. It explains why the sky is blue; it explains why you are slightly lighter at the equator than at the poles; it explains where the carbon and oxygen in our bodies comes from; it explains why mountains on Earth cannot be taller than Mount Everest (about 5 miles high), while the highest mountain on Mars, Olympus Mons, is 16 miles high; it explains precisely why ultraviolet light causes sunburn more readily on people with fair skin than for people with dark skin like me; it explains that the gravitational force of the Moon and the Sun causes the tides, something which Isaac Newton figured out; it explains chemistry; it explains why we need to correct the atomic clocks in the GPS satellites to account for the time-warp between the ground and low Earth orbit. Physics explains so much about the world that’s the best thing about it.