<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
The spiral galaxy Andromeda is shown.
Galaxies are as immense as atoms are small. Yet the same laws of physics describe both, and all the rest of nature—an indication of the underlying unity in the universe. The laws of physics are surprisingly few in number, implying an underlying simplicity to nature's apparent complexity. (credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, P. Barmby, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

What is your first reaction when you hear the word “physics”? Did you imagine working through difficult equations or memorizing formulas that seem to have no real use in life outside the physics classroom? Many people come to the subject of physics with a bit of fear. But as you begin your exploration of this broad-ranging subject, you may soon come to realize that physics plays a much larger role in your life than you first thought, no matter your life goals or career choice.

For example, take a look at the image above. This image is of the Andromeda Galaxy, which contains billions of individual stars, huge clouds of gas, and dust. Two smaller galaxies are also visible as bright blue spots in the background. At a staggering 2.5 million light years from Earth, this galaxy is the nearest one to our own galaxy (which is called the Milky Way). The stars and planets that make up Andromeda might seem to be the furthest thing from most people's regular, everyday lives. But Andromeda is a great starting point to think about the forces that hold together the universe. The forces that cause Andromeda to act as it does are the same forces we contend with here on Earth, whether we are planning to send a rocket into space or simply raise the walls for a new home. The same gravity that causes the stars of Andromeda to rotate and revolve also causes water to flow over hydroelectric dams here on Earth. Tonight, take a moment to look up at the stars. The forces out there are the same as the ones here on Earth. Through a study of physics, you may gain a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of everything we can see and know in this universe.

Think now about all of the technological devices that you use on a regular basis. Computers, smart phones, GPS systems, MP3 players, and satellite radio might come to mind. Next, think about the most exciting modern technologies that you have heard about in the news, such as trains that levitate above tracks, “invisibility cloaks” that bend light around them, and microscopic robots that fight cancer cells in our bodies. All of these groundbreaking advancements, commonplace or unbelievable, rely on the principles of physics. Aside from playing a significant role in technology, professionals such as engineers, pilots, physicians, physical therapists, electricians, and computer programmers apply physics concepts in their daily work. For example, a pilot must understand how wind forces affect a flight path and a physical therapist must understand how the muscles in the body experience forces as they move and bend. As you will learn in this text, physics principles are propelling new, exciting technologies, and these principles are applied in a wide range of careers.

In this text, you will begin to explore the history of the formal study of physics, beginning with natural philosophy and the ancient Greeks, and leading up through a review of Sir Isaac Newton and the laws of physics that bear his name. You will also be introduced to the standards scientists use when they study physical quantities and the interrelated system of measurements most of the scientific community uses to communicate in a single mathematical language. Finally, you will study the limits of our ability to be accurate and precise, and the reasons scientists go to painstaking lengths to be as clear as possible regarding their own limitations.

Chapter 1 introduces many fundamental skills and understandings needed for success with the AP® Learning Objectives. While this chapter does not directly address any Big Ideas, its content will allow for a more meaningful understanding when these Big Ideas are addressed in future chapters. For instance, the discussion of models, theories, and laws will assist you in understanding the concept of fields as addressed in Big Idea 2, and the section titled ‘The Evolution of Natural Philosophy into Modern Physics' will help prepare you for the statistical topics addressed in Big Idea 7.

This chapter will also prepare you to understand the Science Practices. In explicitly addressing the role of models in representing and communicating scientific phenomena, Section 1.1 supports Science Practice 1. Additionally, anecdotes about historical investigations and the inset on the scientific method will help you to engage in the scientific questioning referenced in Science Practice 3. The appropriate use of mathematics, as called for in Science Practice 2, is a major focus throughout sections 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4.

Questions & Answers

how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
displacement in easy way.
Mubashir Reply
what is the Amount
Yasmin Reply
Of what? A bit of something
binding energy per nucleon
Poonam Reply
why God created humanity
Manuel Reply
Because HE needs someone to dominate the earth (Gen. 1:26)
Is the object in a conductor or an insulator? Justify your answer. whats the answer to this question? pls need help figure is given above
Jun Reply
how do i calculate the pressure on the base of a deposit if the deposit is moving with a linear aceleration
ximena Reply
why electromagnetic induction is not used in room heater ?
Gopi Reply
What is position?
Amoah Reply
What is law of gravition
sushil Reply
what is magnetism
Sandeep Reply
what is charging by induction
Sandeep Reply
what is electric field lines
Sandeep Reply
law of gravitation
Rakesh Reply
Suppose a 0.250-kg ball is thrown at 15.0 m/s to a motionless person standing on ice who catches it with an outstretched arm as shown in [link] . (b) What is his angular velocity if each arm is 5.00 kg? You may treat the ball as a point mass and treat the person's arms as uniform rods (each has a length of 0.900 m) and the rest of his body as a uniform cylinder of radius 0.180 m. Neglect the effect of the ball on his center of mass so that his center of mass remains in his geometrical center.
Varun Reply

Get the best College physics for ap... course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics for ap® courses' conversation and receive update notifications?