Outline of physics

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to physics:

Physicsnatural science that involves the study of matter[1] and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force.[2] More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.[3][4][5]

Nature of physics[edit]

Physics can be described as all of the following:

  • An academic discipline – one with academic departments, curricula and degrees; national and international societies; and specialized journals.
  • A scientific field (a branch of science) – widely-recognized category of specialized expertise within science, and typically embodies its own terminology and nomenclature. Such a field will usually be represented by one or more scientific journals, where peer-reviewed research is published. There are several geophysics-related scientific journals.


Main article: Physics

This is a list of the primary theories in physics, major subtopics, and concepts.

Note: the Theory column below contains links to articles with infoboxes at the top of their respective pages which list the major concepts.
Theory Major subtopics Concepts
Classical mechanics Newton's laws of motion, Lagrangian mechanics, Hamiltonian mechanics, kinematics, statics, dynamics, chaos theory, acoustics, fluid dynamics, continuum mechanics Density, dimension, gravity, space, time, motion, length, position, velocity, acceleration, mass, momentum, force, energy, angular momentum, torque, conservation law, harmonic oscillator, wave, work, power
Electromagnetism Electrostatics, electrodynamics, electricity, magnetism, Maxwell's equations, optics Capacitance, electric charge, electric current, electrical conductivity, electric field, electric permittivity, electrical resistance, electromagnetic field, electromagnetic induction, electromagnetic radiation, Gaussian surface, magnetic field, magnetic flux, magnetic monopole, magnetic permeability
Theory of relativity Special relativity, general relativity, Einstein field equations Covariance, Einstein manifold, equivalence principle, four-momentum, four-vector, general principle of relativity, geodesic motion, gravity, gravitoelectromagnetism, inertial frame of reference, invariance, length contraction, Lorentzian manifold, Lorentz transformation, metric, Minkowski diagram, Minkowski space, principle of relativity, proper length, proper time, reference frame, rest energy, rest mass, relativity of simultaneity, spacetime, special principle of relativity, speed of light, stress–energy tensor, time dilation, twin paradox, world line
Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics Heat engine, kinetic theory Boltzmann's constant, conjugate variables, enthalpy, entropy, equation of state, equipartition theorem, first law of thermodynamics, free energy, heat, ideal gas law, internal energy, irreversible process, partition function, pressure, reversible process, second law of thermodynamics, spontaneous process, state function, statistical ensemble, temperature, thermodynamic equilibrium, thermodynamic potential, thermodynamic processes, thermodynamic state, thermodynamic system, third law of thermodynamics, viscosity, zeroth law of thermodynamics
Quantum mechanics Path integral formulation, scattering theory, Schrödinger equation, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics Adiabatic approximation, correspondence principle, free particle, Hamiltonian, Hilbert space, identical particles, matrix mechanics, Planck's constant, operators, quanta, quantization, quantum entanglement, quantum harmonic oscillator, quantum number, quantum tunneling, Schrödinger's cat, Dirac equation, spin, wavefunction, wave mechanics, wave–particle duality, zero-point energy, Pauli exclusion principle, Heisenberg uncertainty principle


Field Subfields Major theories Concepts
Particle physics Accelerator physics, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, particle astrophysics, particle physics phenomenology Standard Model, quantum field theory, quantum chromodynamics, electroweak theory, effective field theory, lattice field theory, lattice gauge theory, gauge theory, supersymmetry, Grand Unified Theory, superstring theory, M-theory Fundamental force (gravitational, electromagnetic, weak, strong), elementary particle, spin, antimatter, spontaneous symmetry breaking, brane, string, quantum gravity, theory of everything, vacuum energy
Atomic, molecular, and optical physics Atomic physics, molecular physics, atomic and molecular astrophysics, chemical physics, optics, photonics Quantum optics, quantum chemistry, quantum information science Atom, molecule, diffraction, electromagnetic radiation, laser, polarization, spectral line, Casimir effect
Condensed matter physics Solid state physics, high pressure physics, low-temperature physics, nanoscale and mesoscopic physics, polymer physics BCS theory, Bloch wave, Fermi gas, Fermi liquid, many-body theory Phases (gas, liquid, solid, Bose–Einstein condensate, superconductor, superfluid), electrical conduction, magnetism, self-organization, spin, spontaneous symmetry breaking
Astrophysics Cosmology, gravitation physics, high-energy astrophysics, planetary astrophysics, plasma physics, space physics, stellar astrophysics Big Bang, Lambda-CDM model, cosmic inflation, general relativity, law of universal gravitation Black hole, cosmic background radiation, cosmic string, cosmos, dark energy, dark matter, galaxy, gravity, gravitational radiation, gravitational singularity, planet, Solar System, star, supernova, universe


Main article: History of physics

General concepts[edit]

Field Articles
General concepts Gravity, light, physical system, physical observation, physical quantity, physical state, physical unit, physical theory, physical experiment
Theoretical concepts Mass–energy equivalence, particle, physical field, physical interaction, physical law, fundamental force, physical constant, wave
Basic quantities Space, length, time, mass, electric charge, energy, matter, potential energy, force, momentum, velocity, acceleration, entropy, temperature
Subfields Acoustics, aerodynamics, classical mechanics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, dynamics, electromagnetism, hydrodynamics, kinematics, mathematical physics, mechanics, optics, plasma physics, quantum mechanics, relativity, statics, thermodynamics

Famous physicists[edit]

Main article: List of physicists


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Richard Feynman begins his Lectures with the atomic hypothesis, as his most compact statement of all scientific knowledge: "If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations ..., what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is ... that all things are made up of atoms – little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. ..." R. P. Feynman, R. B. Leighton, M. Sands (1963). The Feynman Lectures on Physics 1. p. I-2. ISBN 0-201-02116-1. 
  2. ^ J. C. Maxwell (1878). Matter and Motion. D. Van Nostrand. p. 9. ISBN 0-486-66895-9. "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of events." 
  3. ^ H.D. Young, R.A. Freedman (2004). University Physics with Modern Physics (11th ed.). Addison Wesley. p. 2. "Physics is an experimental science. Physicists observe the phenomena of nature and try to find patterns and principles that relate these phenomena. These patterns are called physical theories or, when they are very well established and of broad use, physical laws or principles." 
  4. ^ S. Holzner (2006). Physics for Dummies. Wiley. p. 7. ISBN 0-470-61841-8. "Physics is the study of your world and the world and universe around you." 
  5. ^ Note: The term 'universe' is defined as everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. However, the term 'universe' may also be used in slightly different contextual senses, denoting concepts such as the cosmos or the philosophical world.
  6. ^ Eminent scientists, Published by scholastic India pvt. Ltd.

External links[edit]