Saturday, September 10, 2005


In 1905, Albert Einstein wrote his articles which provided the basis of three fundamental fields in physics: the theory of relativity, quantum theory and the theory of Brownian motion. The World Year of Physics in 2005 will provide the opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this Miraculous Year while raising the public awareness of physics.

The World Year of Physics 2005 is a United Nations endorsed, international celebration of physics. Events throughout the year will highlight the vitality of physics and its importance in the coming millennium.

Through the efforts of a worldwide collaboration of scientific societies, the World Year of Physics brings the excitement of physics to the public and will inspire a new generation of scientists.

Physics is closely related to the other natural sciences and, in a sense, encompasses them. Chemistry, for example, deals with the interaction of atoms to form molecules; much of modern geology is largely a study of the physics of the Earth and is known as geophysics; and astronomy deals with the physics of the stars and outer space. Even living systems are made up of fundamental particles and, as studied in biophysics and biochemistry, they follow the same types of laws as the simpler particles traditionally studied by a physicist.

The emphasis on the interaction between particles in modern physics, known as the microscopic approach, must often be supplemented by a macroscopic approach that deals with larger elements or systems of particles. This macroscopic approach is indispensable to the application of physics to much of modern technology. Thermodynamics, for example, a branch of physics developed during the 19th century, deals with defining and measuring properties of a system as a whole and is useful in other fields of physics; it also forms the basis of much of chemical and mechanical engineering. Such properties as the temperature, pressure, and volume of a gas have no meaning for an individual atom or molecule; these thermodynamic concepts can only be applied directly to a very large system of such particles. A bridge exists, however, between the microscopic and macroscopic approach; another branch of physics, known as statistical mechanics, indicates how pressure and temperature can be related to the motion of atoms and molecules on a statistical basis.

Today the field has grown to such an extent that with few exceptions modern physicists have to limit their attention to one or two branches of the science. Once the fundamental aspects of a new field are discovered and understood, they become of interest to engineers and other applied scientists. The 19th-century discoveries in electricity and magnetism, for example, are now the province of electrical and communication engineers; the properties of matter discovered at the beginning of the 20th century have been applied in electronics; and the discoveries of nuclear physics, most of them not yet 40 years old, have passed into the hands of nuclear engineers for applications to peaceful or military uses.

Physics not only plays an important role in the development of science and technology, but also has a tremendous impact on our society.

At the dawn of the 21st century the contributions of physics to other sciences will be essential to solving global problems such as energy production, environmental protection and public health.

Following are very useful websites!

Happy world year of Physics!
- M.Kannan