From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Monsieur E. Bréhier (Histoire de la Philosophie, Paris, 1928, vol i, p. 42) says that the question 'What are things made of? ' is not Thales' question but Aristotle's question."--The Idea of Nature (1945) by Robin George Collingwood
Physics (Greek: (phúsis), "nature") is the branch of science concerned with the discovery and characterization of universal laws which govern matter, energy, space, and time. The role of physics, then, is to provide a logically ordered picture of nature in agreement with experience.
Natural philosophy has its origins in Greece during the Archaic period, (650 BCE – 480 BCE), when Pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales rejected non-naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena and proclaimed that every event had a natural cause. They proposed ideas verified by reason and observation and many of their hypotheses proved successful in experiment, for example atomism.
Classical physics became a separate science when early modern Europeans used these experimental and quantitative methods to discover what are now considered to be the laws of physics. Kepler, Galileo and more specifically Newton discovered and unified the different laws of motion. During the industrial revolution, as energy needs increased, so did research, which led to the discovery of new laws in thermodynamics, chemistry and electromagnetics.
- List of important publications in physics
- List of unsolved problems in physics
- Perfection in physics and chemistry
- Philosophy of physics
- Physics (Aristotle) – an early book on physics, which attempted to analyze and define motion from a philosophical point of view
- Timeline of fundamental physics discoveries
- Related fields
- Interdisciplinary fields incorporating physics