Daily Use of Physics
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Physics is considered to be a powerful lens that helps people view the everyday world. Physics is reflected in the everyday phenomena, puzzles and toys that offer a variety of interesting challenges leading to deep and interesting problems that derive from science and mathematics. It provides us an understanding of energy, motion and explains these facts as a combination of fundamental particles interacting through fundamental forces. Hence, it is a study of natural phenomena (Oerter, 2006). Physics is everywhere around us. It is the backbone for any daily life example including electricity, electric light, wristwatch, CD player, cell phone, radio, plasma TV set, computer, refrigerator, and others. Any technology that is used in our daily life is related to this science. In addition, it is believed that physics is a necessity in solving a number of future problems as all forward-looking developments are based on the insights of physics.
These potential problems may be related to the development of fuel cells, nuclear fusion as an energy source, and others. Once upon a time our eyes were the only way for us to see the world. But increasingly sophisticated instruments developed by physicists have allowed us a window onto sights that our ancestors would never have dreamt of. Microscopes have exposed the inner workings of our cells, making modern medicine possible. Just think of what science would be like now without our modern microscopes! Our electron microscopes now days can even zoom in to the level of individual molecules and atoms, and revolutionary imaging techniques like MRI machines or X-ray machines allow doctors to spy on brain activity or broken bones, fixing problems that only a few years ago would have killed people. Another great invention was the light bulb. We just take it for granted when we come home and flip the switch and poof, theres light. But 120 years ago, before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, people had to use lamps to light their home and lighting the home after the sun went down was a messy, arduous, hazardous task. It took a lot of candles or torches to fully light up a good-sized room. Also, oil lamps, while fairly effective, tended to leave a residue of soot on anything in their general vicinity.
Light is a form of energy that can be released by an atom. It is made up of many small particle-like packets that have energy and momentum but no mass. These particles, called light photons, are the most basic units of light. Atoms release light photons when their electrons become excited. The beginning of every day starts from the use of physics. We get up with the help of an alarm clock and go to the bathroom to wash. The alarm is one of the wonders of the science. The process of drawing water from a well with the help of a pulley or obtaining it from a tube is governed by the laws of physics as well. Every means of transport that people use to get to work, school and hospitals are also applications of this splendid science. Trains, cars and buses utilize the wheel and prevent gravity from halting the movement of an object. It allows the vehicle to act as a constantly flowing object. The aviation industry has taken the science a step further, allowing lift and forward momentum. The industry manipulates physics by creating lift through the shape of a wing and its angle to alter airflow.
Most people use a washing machine to wash their clothes, and once again, physics can be found behind at least one of the cycles of washing clothes. The washing machine, on spin cycle, is in a uniform circular motion, which means that it is constantly accelerating, but not always speeding up. It is just changing direction because it is moving in a circle. As the washing machine is spinning with a high speed, the inside walls are exerting a force, called centripetal force, on the clothes. “With a centripetal force, the object moves in a circular path. When the unbalanced force is released, the object moves along a tangential path, at a constant velocity.” The force causing the centripetal force is a force caused by other objects and is not a new force. The centripetal force is trying to throw the clothes out of the inside walls along with the water. Since there are small holes on the inside of the inner walls, as the force is being pushed on the clothes, the water is able to go on in a straight line out of the inside walls of the washing machine. Therefore, the centripetal force is acting on the clothes and not the water. While the centripetal force is trying to push the clothes out of the machine, the centrifugal force is pushing the clothes back in the machine in a circular motion. Without the separation of the water and the clothes, it would take forever to attempt to dry all of the clothes being washed. Another concept of physics many people do not think about while actually do it is flushing the toilet. Flushing a toilet is a great example of transferring energy.
On most toilets, there is a tank on the back of it filled with water. What is the water doing? It is being stored, so it has a great potential energy and no kinetic energy. As the formula of potential energy explains, that mass times gravity times the height from the ground equals potential energy. Once the toilet is flushed, the energy transfers from being stored, or potential energy, to moving, or kinetic energy. This also gives the water momentum, which is defined by mass times velocity. As “Physics of Toilets” states, “This momentum of the rushing water creates enough momentum in the still water of the bowl to begin its movement through the p-trap.” Once the water has transferred enough momentum to move through the entire p-trap, it is drained out of the toilet by gravity pulling it downward. Another use of physics in our daily life is any simple mechanical device. The science is action may also be seen in a simple lever. It can be most easily observed at parks. Levers usually come in three flavors and serve to magnify force. They lessen the object’s weight on the opposing end. A see-saw that may be found in the part or playground consists of a lever that is the location for sitting and the fulcrum that is placed in the middle. Hence, a smooth ride through the air is created with the help of the two opposing forces that counterbalance each other.
The theme that physics is all relative resonates through the Einstein’s general and special theories of relativity. The physics of time can alter throughout the universe maintaining no uniform structure. The speed of an object can dictate the flow of time of and on that object. GPS satellites represent a common manipulation of this fact. These satellites are viewed in terms of variations in time-flow between the GPS receiver and the satellite. Physics may also be seen is all natural applications. Our eyes see different objects manipulating the electromagnetic spectrum. Our ears hear a number of sounds that occur through the air molecule alteration (Godfrey-Smith, 2003). Thus, physics plays an important role in the environment, energy, economic development, health, and education. The modern world provides us with an opportunity to travel far, communicate quickly and easily, and conduct business around the globe without any efforts. All that surrounds us and motions that happen may be easily explained with the help of physics. Not only modern technology, but also nature connects people with the laws of physics.
Godfrey-Smith, P. (2003). Theory and reality: An introduction to the philosophy of science. University of Chicago Press. Oerter, R. (2006). The theory of almost everything: The standard model, the unsung triumph of modern physics. Plume.