Have You Experienced Physics Today?

One of the biggest criticisms of the educational system is that students will never really use what they learn in school after they graduate.

Experience physics today!

One of the biggest criticisms of the educational system is that students will never really use what they learn in school after they graduate – as if you’re going to have to solve for X every time you order a Happy Meal. But are there lessons from school we’re unconsciously putting to good use?

One of the most ubiquitous but still undervalued fields of study is none other than physics – considered by most as the realm of socially-awkward comic book nerds who share an apartment across from a pretty blonde…wait, that’s the plot of The Big Bang Theory, but you get the point. For most, this was just another uninteresting class back when they were young and had absolutely no practical value now that they’re all past puberty.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Physics is everywhere, and here we look at some of the more immediate things where physics reigns supreme that you might not have noticed:

1. Principle of Balanced Forces

Experience physics today (Source: BBC)

You’re probably reading this on a computer on a desk. What’s stopping your computer from sinking into the wood? When an object, such as your computer or your posterior on that chair, rests on a solid surface, the surface pushes back to balance out your weight. That force you feel on your feet when standing? That’s the ground pushing back.

2 Law of Inertia

Experience physics today (Source: Imgur)

Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. Ever spilled hot coffee on your privates while driving? That’s because the car stopped, but the coffee didn’t. The same is true when your body flies forward when you brake suddenly. The brakes stop the car, but since nothing’s stopping you, you continue forward with the same speed and in the same direction, unless stopped by the seatbelt (if you’re lucky) or the windshield (if you’re not).

Read more  Quantum Teleportation Explained in a Nutshell

3. Law of Cooling

Experience physics today (Source: Tumblr)

Most people have learned by now through burned tongues and days of no taste that they shouldn’t drink their coffee while it’s piping hot. It’s better to let it cool for a bit before taking a sip – but for how long? Newton’s Law of Cooling is what you need for that. This law defines how the change of temperature of an object is directly related to the temperature of its surroundings – so the coffee will cool depending on how cold the room is.

These are just some of the practical applications of physics – and there’s so much more! The fact that you’re not flying off into space right now, or can see colours – PHYSICS!

If you want more information, please date your friendly neighborhood physicist.

Kristine Baggy
Contributor, Asia and the Pacific. Kristine is a graduate of BS in Applied Physics, Major in Instrumentation Physics at the University of the Philippines.

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Have You Experienced Physics Today?

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