There are many smaller branches of physics, making physics is one of the broadest scientific disciplines. The study of physics has changed a great deal since Aristotle wrote his first theories on physics around 350 BC. New scientific developments create new areas of physics to study, so the topic of physics grows more complex and far-reaching all the time. If you're interested in studying physics, or even having a career in physics, here are some of the branches you can consider.
This is the study of stars and galaxies. Astrophysics also involves abstract concepts such as predictions about the beginnings of the universe. With a degree in astrophysics, you could design satellites or even run missions into outer space by working at NASA.
This branch studies the physics of living organisms. It is sometimes considered to be an overlap of biology and physics. Biophysics and medicine go hand in hand, as this study plays a big part in the development of life-saving machines and artificial limbs. It also has broader uses in engineering; everything from cars to sneakers is influenced by our understanding of biophysics.
This is the branch of physics involves using the principles and theories of physics to study chemical processes. It is very similar to physical chemistry and has significant overlap with it. The development of batteries, fuels, medicines and building materials all result from the work people do in chemical physics.
Condensed Matter Physics
The area of physics studies matter in a concentrated state, whether as a solid, liquid or gas. Designers of manufacturing equipment rely on condensed matter physics, as do people inventing new fuel sources and batteries.
This is the branch of physics that studies atoms and the structure of atoms. Nuclear power plants, X-ray machines and the smoke detectors in your home all exist because of our understanding of atomic physics.
Not to be confused with Atomic Physics, molecular physics deals with entire molecules and the atoms that form them. By learning how to manipulate the elements, we can create new types of substances, ranging from durable metals to plastics and gels, that get used in many different industries.
This is the branch of physics concerned with the properties and behavior of light. It has applications in mechanics and computer engineering, as well as the use of lasers.
This is the study of subatomic particles, and how those particles interact. This is mostly a theoretical, research-based form of physics that seeks to unlock how the universe was formed and how energy is created and used.
Another mostly theoretical science, quantum physics studies physical systems using quantum theory. Related very closely to particle physics, quantum physics examines the behavior of the tiniest subatomic particles in an attempt to create general theories about physical laws.
This is the branch of physics that studies heat and its relationship with other forms of energy. Like molecular physics, there are thousands of applications for this research, ranging from manufacturing to new forms of energy.
Which branch of physics sounds like the most fun to you? Whether you want to learn more about space, develop a renewable source of fuel or simply create the most comfortable sneakers ever, there's a branch of physics that can help you achieve your goal.
Next time you watch fireworks with your kids, take advantage of the opportunity to share some simple lessons in physics with them.
Kids will love these simple physics projects that show the composition of light and let them build simple machines.
Volleyball and physics share a close relationship. The next time you watch or play a game of volleyball, think about the rules of physics that make the game possible.