Physics stands as a foundational branch within the realm of science, delving into the fundamental principles governing the universe. With its origins deeply rooted in the Greek word ἡ φύσις, meaning "nature," physics strives to unravel the intricacies of how objects navigate through space and time, shedding light on the underlying behaviors of the cosmos. At its core, physics explores the properties of matter, the forces that act upon it, and their consequential effects.

Defined as "that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of events," physics plays a pivotal role in various scientific endeavors, particularly in engineering and the development of cutting-edge technologies. Fields such as aviation and electronics owe their progress to the insights gleaned from the study of physics. Notably, the inception of the mathematical field of calculus was motivated by the need to advance mechanics, a pivotal branch within the realm of physics.

In the contemporary landscape of physics, a nexus of ideas converges around the four laws of symmetry and the conservation principles governing energy, momentum, charge, and parity. These principles serve as the bedrock for understanding the fundamental dynamics shaping our physical reality.

Furthermore, physics extends its influence into astronomy, the oldest natural science. Originating as an integral part of 'natural philosophy' alongside chemistry and biology, astronomy evolved as an independent discipline during the scientific revolution. The delineation of these scientific fields marked the emergence of physics as a distinct body of knowledge.

As we traverse the vast expanse of scientific exploration, physics continues to stand as a beacon, unraveling the mysteries of the universe and fostering advancements that propel humanity into new frontiers.

Famous Physics Quotes

Isaac Newton

  • Now the smallest Particles of Matter may cohere by the strongest Attractions, and compose bigger Particles of weaker Virture.... There are therefore Agents in Nature able to make the Particles of Bodies stick together by very strong Attraction. And it is the Business of experimental Philosophy to find them out. [Isaac Newton, Optics (1680)]
  • I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. [Isaac Newton]
  • If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. [Isaac Newton]
  • If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent. [Isaac Newton, 1642-1727]

Andre Gide

  • One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. [Andre Gide]

Galileo Galilei

  • In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of an individual. [Galileo Galilei]
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. [Galileo Galilei]

Fermi and Lederman

  • Young man, if I could remember the names of all these particles, I would have been a botanist! [Enrico Fermi to his student (and future Nobel Laureate) Leon Lederman]
  • Physics isn't a religion. If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money. [Leon Lederman]

Pierre Laplace

  • Your Highness, I have no need of this hypothesis. [Pierre Laplace (1749-1827), to Napoleon on why his works on celestial mechanics make no mention of God.]

Konrad Lorenz

  • It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young. [Konrad Lorenz, 1903-1989]

Paul Dirac

  • In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite. [Paul Dirac (1902-1984)]
  • [Renormalization is] just a stop-gap procedure. There must be some fundamental change in our ideas, probably a change just as fundamental as the passage from Bohr's orbit theory to quantum mechanics. When you get a number turning out to be infinite which ought to be finite, you should admit that there is something wrong with your equations, and not hope that you can get a good theory just by doctoring up that number. [Paul Dirac]

Niels Bohr

  • The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. [Niels Bohr (1885-1962)]
  • A physicist is just an atom's way of looking at itself. [Niels Bohr]
  • An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field. [Niels Bohr, 1885-1965]

Louis Pasteur

  • It is inescapable that asymmetric forces must be operative during the synthesis of the first asymmetric natural products. What might these forces be? I, for my part, think that they are cosmological. The universe is asymmetric and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or of its indirect consequences. The universe is asymmetric. [Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)]
  • In the field of observation, chance favours the prepared mind. [Louis Pasteur]

Rene Descartes

  • Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems. [Rene Descartes (1596-1650), "Discours de la Methode"]

Bertrand Russell

  • Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires. [Bertrand Russell]
  • Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise. [Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970]

Gerald Holton

  • Even in the best times, managing science has been compared to herding cats; it is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all. [Gerald Holton, in the American Scientist]

Georg Stigler

  • Theories are not rejected by cirsumstantial evidence: it takes a theory to beat a theory. [Georg Stigler]

Edgar Allan Poe

  • Coincidences, in general, are great stumblingblocks in the way of that class of thinkers who have been educated to know nothing of the theory of probabilities - that theory to which the most glorious objects of human research are endebted for the most glorious of illustration. [Edgar Allan Poe, The murders in the Rue Morgue, 1809-49]

Gerard t'Hooft and Veltman

  • The diagrams contains more truth than the underlying formalisme. [Gerard t'Hooft and Veltman 1973]

Stephen Hawking

  • We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special. [Stephen Hawking]
  • My goal is simple. It is complete understanding of the universe, why it as it is and why it exists as all. [Stephen Hawking]
  • Scientific discovery may not be better than sex, but the satisfaction lasts longer. [Stephen Hawking (BBC News, January 16, 2002)]

Albert Einstein

  • The grand aim of all science [is] to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest possible number of hypotheses or axioms. [Albert Einstein]
  • As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. [Albert Einstein (1879-1955)]
  • Subtle is the Lord, but malicious he is not. [Albert Einstein (1879-1955)]
  • Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. [Albert Einstein (1879-1955)]
  • Science is a refinement of everyday thinking. [Albert Einstein]

Plato: Timaeus

  • I shall stick to the priciple of likelihood which I laid down at the start, and try to give an account of everthing from the beginning which is more rather than less likely. So let us begin again, calling as we do on some protecting deity to see us through a strange an unusual argument to a likely conclusion. [Plato: Timaeus]

Common sayings

  • The B meson is the hydrogen atom of QCD. [common saying, though first used by Kurt Gottfried - about charmonium!]