• Science is the understanding of nature. In other words, the understanding of the universe we live in.
  • images of different aspects of physics (matter, energy, waves, motion, electricity, matter, space)
  • Physics is science at its fundamental (i.e. most basic) level. 'blocks' of different sciences. (The blocks on top depend on the things below)

  • In physics, we think of nature as being:
  1. Matter: all the things that make up the universe
  2. The energy of matter
  3. The forces between matter (e.g. gravity).
  • These 3 words won't mean much to us yet — we will be learning all about matter, energy and forces over the course of this book.

All this science I don't understand
It's just my job five days a week

Everyday wisdom will tell you that physics is a bland subject enjoyed by boring losers, who spend all day avoiding people and reciting pi to 50 million digits. And they smell, too.

'Philip the fox reciting pi and smelling bad

This is very wrong, and I'm not just saying that because I'm unfathomably popular and smell really really good. Physics is genuinely a fascinating subject, which is also responsible for many of the things you enjoy (and depend on) every day.

'Philip the fox reciting pi and smelling bad Some of the things that wouldn't exist without knowledge of physics.

With that out the way, what actually is physics?

Before we find out what physics is, we first need to know what science is. What is science?

Science is the understanding of nature

When you think of nature, you're probably imagining mountains, trees, and lakes. These are certainly part of nature, but nature is actually lot bigger than that. Nature is really anything that exists without human involvement. So — as well as the great outdoors — this also includes the microscopic world, galaxies, and everything inbetween. Nature is basically the entire universe.

images of different aspects of physics (matter, energy, waves, motion, electricity, matter, space)

Everything in the entire universe is a lot of stuff to understand! To make it more digestible, we divide science into different subjects: each one focussing on a different part of nature.

'blocks' of different sciences. (The blocks on top depend on the things below) All these 'blocks' of science depend in some way on the things below.

The science that studies living things is called biology.

The science that studies chemicals is called chemistry.

The science that studies the fundamentals of nature (i.e. the ‘building blocks’ of nature) is called physics.

What are the fundamentals of nature that we'll be learning about? At its deepest level, nature is only made up of 3 things: matter, energy, and forces.

Matter is all the things you see around you: a pencil, a tree, the moon, etc.

Various objects, that all count as matter (pencil, moon, cmpfire, microphone, elephant, laptop, crystal, tree)

Energy is a special quantity that matter has. For example, a campfire has lots of heat energy, and a laptop has lots of electrical energy.

A campfire has lots of heat/thermal energy, and a laptop has lots of electrical energy

Forces are what cause matter to move around. If you were to drop a microphone, the force of gravity pulls it towards the ground.

The force of gravity pulling a microphone towards the ground

In each chapter of this book, we will discover more about these 3 things.

Matter, forces and energy in the upcoming chapters

Sometimes (or maybe quite often) you will find physics challenging. Remember: we're trying to understand nature at its fundamental level. So it's not always going to be easy! In fact, it often takes a lot of imagination to make sense of physics. Other times, the stuff we learn might need some practice before it sinks in.

Philip looking very confused

Speaking of practice, it looks like your first quiz questions have arrived...



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