Physics is the foundation of many disciplines and contributes directly to chemistry, astronomy, engineering, and most scientific fields.
Physics and Other Disciplines
Physics is the foundation of many important disciplines and contributes directly to others. Chemistry deals with the interactions of atoms and molecules, so it is rooted in atomic and molecular physics. Most branches of engineering are applied physics. In architecture, physics is at the heart of structural stability and is involved in acoustics, heating, lighting, and the cooling of buildings. Parts of geology rely heavily on physics, such as the radioactive dating of rocks, earthquake analysis, and heat transfer in the Earth. Some disciplines, such as biophysics and geophysics, are hybrids of physics and other disciplines.
Physics in Chemistry: The study of matter and electricity in physics is fundamental towards the understanding of concepts in chemistry, such as the covalent bond.
Physics has many applications in the biological sciences. On the microscopic level, it helps describe the properties of cell walls and cell membranes. On the macroscopic level, it can explain the heat, work, and power associated with the human body. Physics is involved in medical diagnostics, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasonic blood flow measurements. Medical therapy sometimes directly involves physics: cancer radiotherapy uses ionizing radiation, for instance. Physics can also explain sensory phenomena, such as how musical instruments make sound, how the eye detects color, and how lasers can transmit information.
The boundary between physics and the other sciences is not always clear. For instance, chemists study atoms and molecules, which are what matter is built from, and there are some scientists who would be equally willing to call themselves physical chemists or chemical physicists. It might seem that the distinction between physics and biology would be clearer, since physics seems to deal with inanimate objects. In fact, almost all physicists would agree that the basic laws of physics that apply to molecules in a test tube work equally well for the combination of molecules that constitutes a bacterium. What differentiates physics from biology is that many of the scientific theories that describe living things ultimately result from the fundamental laws of physics, but cannot be rigorously derived from physical principles.
It is not necessary to formally study all applications of physics. What is most useful is the knowledge of the basic laws of physics and skill in the analytical methods for applying them. The study of physics can also improve your problem-solving skills. Furthermore, physics has retained the most basic aspects of science, so it is used by all of the sciences. The study of physics makes other sciences easier to understand.