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Physics is the science that quantifies reality. Its influence extends to all the natural sciences, including biophysics, astronomy, and chemistry. Physics classifies all interactions between matter and energy and tries to answer the most central questions of the universe.

From Aristotle and Isaac Newton to Marie Curie, philosophers and scientists have been using physics to understand the world for at least 2,000 years.

In any field, a scientist needs a handle on the basics before finding answers to fundamental questions. In physics, different types of matter-energy interactions define the basic branches of science. Energy takes the form of heat, light, radiation, sound, motion, and electricity.

It can be stored in an object’s position, chemical bonds, physical tension, and atomic nuclei. Matter refers to anything with mass, or anything made up of atoms, that takes up space. From the bonding of atoms to the combustion of an engine, matter, and energy interact in all facets of life, defining the physical world.

As current and former students are aware, physics makes sense of the relationships between matter and energy through mathematics; although, an appreciation for how physics shapes the world doesn’t require advanced computational skills.

Stacker used a variety of scientific and educational resources to compile a list of basic physics concepts help explain how the world works. From Newton’s Laws of Motion to electric forces, these concepts explain why matter behaves the way it does.

Read on to see how physics allows engineers to develop life-saving technology like airbags, how it explains door knob placement, and why a person’s legs look so short when they’re standing in water.

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