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Department of Physics

What is physics? 

Physics is the study of natural forces in the universe. By studying these forces, we can understand why and how things work the way they do. When we understand matter, energy and the interactions between them, we can then use that knowledge to discover and create new ideas and technologies. The fundamental ideas of physics underlie all science — astronomy, biology, chemistry and geology — and physics is essential to applied science and engineering.

Physics research and discoveries have contributed to the new and exciting technologies that exist today. For example, innovations using physics allow our computers, mp3 players and cell phones to store more data while becoming increasingly smaller. Physics ideas have taken our world from the horse and buggy to the supersonic jet; from the candle to the laser; and from smoke signals to satellite transmissions. Through use of MRI, lasers, and radioactive elements, doctors apply physics concepts and tools to help diagnose and treat illnesses like cancer. Physics research is also being focused on discovering more efficient and cleaner energy sources. Understanding and controlling new forms of energy, developing new materials for the next generation of computers, and improving methods of medical imaging—all these and more will certainly require a thorough knowledge of physics.