Physics: A Very Short Introduction

Sidney Perkowitz

A large portion of the technology we use every day is based on physics, the fundamental science of matter and energy, which embraces all facets of nature from the subatomic to the cosmic. The quest of mankind to comprehend its surroundings and place within it requires understanding the physics of our cosmos. Physics allows us to investigate how the environment and human society interact, which can aid in our efforts to ensure the planet’s long-term sustainability.

This Very Short Introduction gives a general overview of how this omnipresent science came to be and how it functions, including information on funding sources, the education and thought processes of physicists, and how physics underpins the technology that we all use. From the conceptions of the Greek natural philosophers through contemporary quantum mechanics, cosmology, digital electronics, and energy generation, Sidney Perkowitz covers the theories and results of pure and applied physics. He discusses the effects of physics outside the lab, including how it affects society, culture, and humanity’s perception of its place in the universe, while also taking into account some of its most significant experiments, such as recent findings in elementary particles, gravitational waves, and materials science.