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hubbledeepfield_wfc3_360What is Physics?

Physics concerns itself with measurable values and quantifiable events to study the nature and properties of matter, and its kinematics or its motion through space and time.  Physicists use the scientific method to define the constants governing physical phenomena, and their philosophy reflects on the results obtained from this empirical research.  It calls upon abstract concepts like force and energy to make it possible to predict the course of natural phenomena.

Exciting, yes?

 
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Calculating Entropy – The Energy of Change

Changing States – Fundamental Phases of Matter

Classical Physics I – Energy, Power and Boiling Water

Classical Physics II – Force and Kinetic Energy

“Pow”! “Bang”! The Physics of Superheroes

Thermodynamics and Entropy – Our Irreversible Universe

Up Archimedes! – The Principle of Buoyancy

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MathematicsDo I Need To Understand Maths and Algebra?

It will help.  To make predictions, mathematics is necessary… and more to the point it is helpful too.  Maths is altogether beautiful.  Paul Dirac is credited for saying: “It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty in one’s equations, and if one has really a sound insight, one is on a sure line of progress.”

And it gets even more exciting…  Because the laws of Physics and Mathematics apply to other parts of the Universe, whether distant in time or space, in the same way they operate on Earth today.

 
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A Starry Starry Night or The Unexpected Maths in a Van Gogh’s Masterpiece

Euler’s Equation: A Thing of Great Beauty

Fibonacci’s Golden Spiral – The Relationship between Maths and Nature

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A Brief Timeline of Astronomy

Astronomical science more or less starts around 300 BC in various parts around the World, and with much different World Views.  For many centuries now, people have clearly felt an almost instinctive fascination for the night sky.  Cosmology dates back a long time ago too.  A different approach to celestial phenomena is taken by natural philosophers Plato and Aristotle who attempt to rationalize the dynamics of the Cosmos, rather than develop mathematical models…

Back then, Aristarchus reasons that the motions of celestial bodies may be explained by the fact that Earth and the other planets in the Solar System orbit the Sun.  ‘Heliocentrism’ is then considered a heresy.  For centuries afterwards, the apparent common sense view of a geocentric world remains unchallenged, reinforced by the model developed by Ptolemy.  The idea gets eventually revisited by Nicolaus Copernicus in the 16th century.

1610, Galileo Galilei documents the orbits of the four brightest moons in his observations of the planet Jupiter.  His results are in direct contradiction with the largely held geocentric doctrine of the Catholic Church.  Galileo pleads that his astronomy is a merely abstract work of mathematics, not of natural philosophy, to spare himself a dreadful fate.

Our_Solar_SystemMany revolutions later…

Along comes Johannes Kepler, and later on Isaac Newton, the world view shifts again…

During the 20th century, the Standard Model provides an altogether different view upon things.

Nowadays, astrophysics describes the physical processes that occur within and around galaxies, stars, gas clouds and celestial moving bodies, as well as their interactions and dynamic behaviour, and beyond…

 
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Arecibo and the Great Silence – Where We Talk About a Parrot Named Alex

Earth Creation – The Story So Far…

Exoplanet ‘Young Jupiter’ 51 Eridani b

Mars Has Water!

Planck’s Time and the “Oldest Light” in the Cosmos

Sentinel Is Watching

Size Matters… in Astrophysical Terms

Testing Times – Methods of Dating the Geological Past

The Earth, as seen from Mars

Why the Universe may be Inherently Unstable

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How We Learn About the Stars and their Motions

 
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A Hint of Astrometry I – Celestial Coordinates

A Hint of Astrometry II – Distances and Apparent Motion

A Hint of Astrometry III – Stellar Magnitudes

400 – Anatomy of a Solar Eclipse

Celestial Rendez-Vous – An Equinoctial Total Eclipse of the Sun

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Read more…

 
 
 
 

 

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