Honors Physics - Introduction

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What Is Physics?

So, you’ve decided to take on the challenge of learning physics… a noble pursuit, no doubt, but what have you gotten yourself into? What do you hope to accomplish with this newfound knowledge? Where ever will you use what you learn? Why go to all this trouble?

Those are some pretty deep questions, which hopefully you’ve started to think about if you haven’t previously. The answers, though personal, may be helped by first answering the question, “What is Physics?”

Physics is many things to many different people. If you look up physics in the dictionary, you’ll probably learn physics has to do with matter, energy, and their interactions.  But what does that really mean? What is matter? What is energy? And how do they interact? And most importantly, why do we care?

Physics, in many ways, is the answer to the favorite question of most 2-year-olds: “Why.” What comes after the why really doesn’t matter. If it’s a “why” question, chances are it’s answered by physics. Why is the sky blue? Why does the wind blow?  Why do we fall down? Why does Susie smell funny? Why do airplanes fly? Why do the stars shine? Why do I have to eat my vegetables? The answer to all these questions, and many more, ultimately reside in the realm of physics.