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What is Physics?

Physics involves the study of everything in physical existence, from the smallest subatomic particles to the entire universe.

Physicists try to develop conceptual and mathematical models that describe interactions between entities that can be used to extend our understanding of how the universe works. Studying Physics gives a broad overview of the most well-established of these models, such as classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics, as well as the computational and experimental skills used in working with them. With this background students will be able to specialize in any sub-field, such as those described briefly below.


The branch of astronomy dealing with the physics of the universe, such as the evolution of stars and galaxies. At the largest scale it studies cosmology, trying to understand the evolution and structure of the whole universe.


Application of physics concepts and techniques to the study of living systems. This could be at the molecular, sub-cellular, cellular, or organism levels. Often has applications to medicine.

Chemical Physics

Use of techniques from atomic, molecular, and solid-state physics to study chemical processes. An emerging topic is the formation of nanoparticles.

Engineering Physics

Using a broad range of physics ideas to apply, design, and develop practical solutions to engineering challenges.


Using physics to study the origin, evolution, and current state of the Earth. The emerging field of planetary geology seeks to do the same for other planets.

Materials Science

Applying physics to study the relationship between the structure and properties of materials. New materials emerging from this field can have practical and economic benefits.

Medical Physics

Using physics for the design of equipment and techniques used to study the human body, as well as diagnose and treat diseases. Examples include the development of MRI, CAT, and PET scanners, as well as radiation protection.

Nuclear Physics

The study of the structure of the atom’s nucleus in terms of the interactions between its constituent particles. Practical applications include medical diagnosis and treatment.

Particle Physics

The study of the most fundamental particles of which all matter made. Ultimately the aim is to produce a unified model that relates all fundamental forces and elementary particles to each other.

Physics related careers

This handy interactive infographic will help you understand physics careers no matter what stage you’re at school.


Celebrating women in Physics

February 11th is International Women and Girls in Science Day.
This section highlights some women in physics and celebrates their work.

Mae Carol Jamison

Mae was NASA’s first African American woman to travel into space. She was part of the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission in 1992. While in space, she studied how motion sickness and weightlessness affected the crew members in space.

Maggie Aderin Pocock

Dr. Aderin-Pocock is an English space scientist who also co-presents the British program The Sky at Night. Maggie obtained her degree in physics from Imperial College London as well as her PhD in mechanical engineering. In her career, she has contributed to projects related to instrumentation for the James Webb Space Telescope. She also works for Atrium Ltd in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, where she is head of the optical instrumentation group. Ranging from making satellite subsystems to monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to this, Maggie has had numerous TV appearances in a variety of shows and even produced a film called Space in the UK through Science Innovation.

Vandana Shiva

Dr. Shiva completed her PhD in “Hidden variables and non-locality in quantum theory” from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. In 2010, she was named as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe by Forbes Magazine for her work related to peace, sustainability, and social justice.

Sameera Moussa

Back in the 40s, Dr. Moussa was the first woman to ever complete a PhD in atomic radiation. On top of this, she was the first woman to hold a university post at Cairo University in Egypt. Because of her outstanding work, she was given permission to visit secret U.S. facilities and was the first alien to have access to such facilities.
Although only a few women have been showcased here, there are so many people in physics contributing to great science that can help society, so let us celebrate all these scientists and what they are doing for our world. Cheers to that!