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Why study physics?

Physics lies at the heart of the natural sciences

Almost any scientific problem can be approached using the ideas and methods of physics.

Physics explains how the world works

Physics helps us understand why things in the natural world happen the way they do. It enables us to explain, for example, how buildings move in an earthquake, why a car takes as long as it does to come to a stop when the brakes are applied, why the sky is blue and grass green, and why the supports of a bridge have to be of certain dimensions.

Physicists – and students studying physics – are able to use their understanding to predict how an object will behave under particular conditions, improve the functioning of everyday objects, and envisage totally new developments.

Physics is useful and exciting

The knowledge and processes used by physics have produced new and exciting technologies that are in everyday use. Almost any example of modern technology has its origins in mechanics, optics, electronics, thermodynamics, nuclear physics, or some other branch of physics. Physicists are challenged to discover how nature works; along the way, they get to know the excitement of explaining, seeing, or doing something that no one has understood or done before.

Learning in physics opens up career opportunities

Learning in physics will come in useful no matter what you go on to do. Employers value the kinds of skills that studying physics develops: the ability to grasp things quickly, focused solution finding, plus problem solving, analytical, mathematical, and IT skills.

People with a background in physics are found in all these areas and more: telecommunications, space, medicine, finance, law, music, television, environment, architecture, civil engineering, sports, gaming, energy, and education.

Last updated May 9, 2012