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Why study Physics? Because it’s fun

delhi Updated: May 29, 2008 09:54 IST

Last year Physics students at Miranda House sported sweatshirts that carried the precocious message, “God on holiday, physicist in charge” and the year before that, “Physics is fun!” That just about sums up why it is difficult to dislodge Physics from being the most prestigious course, upward swing of other subjects like Commerce, Economics, Environment, Biology, Computer Science, Mass Communications etc.

The route to understanding natural phenomenon, unraveling scientific puzzles and solving problems certainly passes through the Physics classroom. It is an undisputed fact that Physics is the most versatile of all sciences. Physics underpins the technology thrust, the economic well-being and future progress of nations across the world. Efficient energy fuels, semiconductor electronics, computers, lasers, internet, fibre optics, wireless communication, satellites, miracle machines of medicine: all these have emerged from early technologies developed by physicists.

Prerequisites

Physics is for you if you have an enquiring mind, passion for understanding how things work, enjoy playing with ideas, dwelling over abstractions and complex issues; enjoy working with your hands, building or pulling apart things, and experimenting. To be eligible for undergraduate studies in Physics in the Indian system, you should have studied Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry at the school level. You will have a headstart in Physics if you are mathematically inclined for Mathematics is said to be the language of Physics.

Nature of Physics

The biggest myth about Physics is that you have to be a genius to do well. On the contrary, majority of the population is sculpted by education and life-long learning on the job. Learning Physics does not entail remembering too many facts. It is based on very few concepts and fundamental relationships.

Skills Physics will teach you

Active learning of Physics teaches one to think and act in a special way. It sharpens the power of observation; imparts the art of logical reasoning and argumentation based on interpretation of facts and evidence data; challenges imagination by providing opportunities to engage with abstract concepts, create scientific frameworks, build models and check the consistency of theories proposed. Physics courses lay a great deal of emphasis on problem-solving and project work.

Building careers with Physics

Skills developed by studying Physics are of universal value and easily transferred to newer contexts. Few Physics students continue in academia or research on problems at the frontiers of knowledge. The boundaries between physics, engineering, technology and applied mathematics have always been fuzzy and physicists are renowned for establishing many new areas of enquiry. Computer science, information technology and bioinformatics are prime examples of how the creative landscape of a discipline changes once physicists enter. Increasingly, physicists are being attracted to challenging industrial and engineering problems; to molecular biology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, biophysics, medical physics, environmental science and earth sciences among others.