Physics is perhaps the most basic natural science. It began with quantum mechanics, which is the theory of atoms and how they cause atomic motion and thus in turn give rise to matter. From there natural philosophers formulated a more materialistic philosophy and physics were born.
The early philosophers of physics included Isaac Newton, who explained that matter consists of atoms, charged particles, and electromagnetic waves. In order for physics to be complete, they must include both the laws of mechanics and of heat. All other physical laws are merely superadditions to the laws of mechanics. Until very recently, however, natural philosophy and physics were used to often together, even interchangeably.
Albert Einstein is recognized as one of the giants of physics. His special theory of relativity shows how light is warped by the speed it travels. His general theory of relativity explains how matter obeys natural laws such as gravity. He was also one of the first scientists to use satellites to study celestial objects. These discoveries resulted in new understandings of the universe and inspired Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Isaac Newton was another scientist whose ideas revolutionized the world. His mechanics of motion are considered to be the most influential in the development of modern physics. Newton’s three laws of gravity – the law of universal gravitation, the law of conservation of energy, and the law of universal magnetism – are the most important among others. His idea of a great clock called the clockwork planet was revolutionary. His natural theories, based on simple mechanics, led him to propose other great concepts like the theory of relativity and his universal language. Though these concepts are not considered original, some of his propositions have become the foundation for the theories of today.
String theory is a leading contender in explaining the workings of Nature. Its main strands are the theory of relativity, special relativity and quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein is probably the most eminent theoretical Physicist of all times. His special theory of relativity establishes the reality of space and time, unified field theory, and the photoelectric effect. Other physicists who played a vital role in developing this field are Otto Stern, Konstantin Friedl and Edward Lorentz.
The study of Nature has given rise to numerous branches of natural science. Geology studies the formation and flow of rocks and other terrestrial materials. It attempts to decipher the relationships among different geological forces and ecosystems. Paleontology deals with the study of ancient bones and fossilized remains. Marine biology studies living organisms such as coral reefs, fish bones and marine creatures.
Astronomy and space sciences are branches of physics that have also contributed to the understanding of Nature. Astronomy deals with the visible and ultraviolet parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Space science deals with the details of space objects and their properties. It studies the solar system, stars, and galaxies to identify similarities and differences, to predict cosmological scenarios and to design new space vehicles for exploring space.
A further branch of physics is the laboratory science, which aims to test physical laws to find out new information. One of the most prominent examples of such a lab is particle physics, which seeks to find evidence of the existence of particles. Among the many types of experiments done by particle physics include tests of stability of particles, which is done by accelerator technology, searches for exotic particles around us, or to search for the characteristics of empty space. There are also experiments on cosmology, the study of the Universe around us, looking at the Big Bang Theory, the Flatworm Effect, the creation of the Universe and others. The results of these experiments are used to help understand physical laws and to explore the cosmos.