October 1, 2022

Physics explores and analyses the reality around us. It studies the various physical phenomena perpetuating the Universe and forms the basis of all engineering applications. The study of Physics has changed our perceptions about Nature, and research, development & applications changed almost every aspect of human society.

The most significant inventions that changed the course of history- the steam engine, light bulb, the printing press, the radio, the computer – involved humanity’s brightest applying physics to solve science & engineering problems. That is applied physics 101! Applied physics, often called engineering physics, is the bridge between physics and its applicational domains, technology & engineering.

The importance of applied physics in our world is undeniable. This article looks at the many ways physics influences our lives & livelihood.

Applied Physics In The World We Live In

Before we begin, let’s get one thing clear. There are some critical differences between theoretical and applied physics. Theoretical physics aims to explore, understand, and postulate the behaviours of natural phenomena. Applied physics utilises that knowledge to solve real-life problems; in fact, every engineering domain has its foundation in applied physics!

Health

Medical instruments and software applications, medical facilities, medicine production centres— physics plays a significant role in everything else. From manufacturing scalpels & medicinal drugs to the design of ECG, EEG, X-ray, MRI machines etc., engineering & applied physics lie at the centre of them all.

Material physics, fluid mechanics, nuclear physics, and electromagnetism – are some key applied physics branches that contribute to the health sector.

Energy

Engineering and applied physics play a central role in energy production, transmission, and distribution.

 Whether fossil fuel or renewable, electric generators remain the primary energy generating machine in almost every case. Transmission and distribution require energy manipulation using transformers and associated machines, which harness & implement the laws of electromagnetism. In addition, electronic devices and instruments such as diodes, transistors, rectifiers, etc., enable optimal energy regulation.  

IT

Computers, servers, supercomputers, routers, hubs, processing & memory units, power systems—every essential element in a typical IT ecosystem has its roots in applied physics.

  • Like in every one of the fields mentioned, the importance of applied physics in IT is undeniable and always evident. Developments and advancements in applied physics led to the birth of the IT industry. And ongoing research is enabling the domain to flourish and advance further.
  • Information theory, one of the key threads in the fabric of information technology, has its foundations in signal processing & communications—myriad branches of applied physics power the design of computational systems and the very development of software applications.
  • Applied physics is the basis of  everything from online physics assignment help services to grammar checker tools.

Transportation

Cars, ships, aeroplanes—the mechanisms that allow automobiles to undergo displacement have their foundations in applied physics.

  • Material science, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, instrumentation, and automotive engineering are key applied physics branches in this field. Aeroplanes and ships sail & fly smoothly through the elements thanks to fluid dynamics & material science.
  • The automotive forces generated by propulsion systems involve thermodynamics and engineering mechanics. Likewise, radar, sonars, and every instrumentation & control system in a vehicle are the products of applied physics.  

Since conceptualising the first vehicle, land, sea & air, physics has been integral to their design & development. Likewise, the design, development, and operation of every mode of transportation have applied physics at work.

Communication

From the first-ever radio system to the latest 5G technology, physics led to every ground-breaking invention & advancement in the communications sector.

  • Analog and digital communication systems, the network and telecommunication sector, signalling & telemetry, satellite communications—harnessing the electromagnetic spectrum and achieving instantaneous data communication became possible thanks to the marvels of telecommunication engineering and applied physics.
  • R & D in wave & geometric optics led to the development of fibre optics. Software engineering and electronics engineering lie at the heart of current data communications and networking. Digital electronics, electronic signal processing, and software applications power mobile communications, and all these domains are the culmination of research & development in applied physics.

Without physics & its many applications, there would have been no smartphones, no Internet, no mobile networks, and no modern communications.

Manufacturing

Visit any factory or plant, and you will find engineering applications of physics everywhere.

The turbine & generator in power plants, the conveyor belts, the plant control systems, the robotic manipulators, boilers, energy distribution systems— physics is at the heart of everything.

  • Machine design and plant architecture involved material science & construction engineering.
  • Digital and analogue electronics and software applications enable automation. Semiconductor physics and electronic system design are the foundations of every automation and plant control system.
  • Instrumentation and robotics have become an integral part of industries & plants today. Digital electronics, system design, and software development are vital constituents of all such systems.

It can be said that the entire manufacturing sector is the perfect amalgamation of various applied physics branches.

Warfare

We have not only been able to harness physics for our betterment but for our destruction too!

  • Weapons and vehicles of warfare are also the culmination of a year of R&D in applied physics. The first gunpowder firearm, the first rocket, the first atomic bomb, battle tanks, submarines, fighter jets—- applied physics is at the centre of the development & advancements of these instruments of destruction.
  • Nuclear physics gave us the most horrifying weapon in existence. Electronic circuit design lies behind robust sensors, instruments, and communication systems in military vehicles and command centres. The plants and factories manufacturing firearms & ammunition, the heavily encrypted military communication systems, and the like – all applied physics at work.

Physics and its applications allow us to harness the forces of Nature for varied purposes. When it comes to warfare and military engineering

Experimentation & Exploration

The myriad applications of physics allow us to learn more about the yet unexplored areas of the subject. Remote-controlled drones, the Voyager satellites, the Mars rovers, the International Space Station, the Large Hadron Collider, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) – none of the systems, instruments, and infrastructure associated would have been possible without applied physics.

Exploring space or the deep sea, uncovering the mysteries within the nucleus or of life, developing cleaner & renewable sources of energy, advancements in the experimental processes, etc., have become possible due to applied physics.

Key Takeaway: In retrospection, we can say that applied physics is the core of almost every aspect of human society. The most significant advancements that led to phenomenal progress, the developments that solved real-world problems and eased our lives & livelihoods are culminations of applied physics.  

And that wraps up this write-up. Hope it was an informative read for one and all!

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