Math in the Physical Sciences

Physics and Mathematics

What is physics?

Physics is often described as the science of the interactions between matter and energy. It includes the subfields of atomic structure, heat, electricity, magnetism, optics, and many other phenomena.

Traditionally speaking, physics is divided into classical and modern—although many subdivisions of the two overlap—and both are ruled by mathematics. Classical physics includes Newtonian mechanics, thermodynamics, acoustics, optics, electricity, and magnetism. Modern physics includes such fields as quantum field theory and relativistic mechanics.

Other common divisions of physics are experimental and theoretical physics. Theoretical physicists use mathematics to describe the physical world and predict how it will behave; they depend on experimental results to check, understand, change, or eliminate theories. Experimental physicists test their predictions with practical experiments, often using mathematics to conduct the experiments.


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