Introduction to the subject of physics, and how it underpins our understanding of the physical world today. Starting with an initial description of what physics represents from the micro- to the macroscopic, Roger Blin-Stoyle takes the reader on a tour of Newton's Laws, the nature of matter, explaining how the physical world works and how physics may affect our future understanding.
Part 1 Understanding the world around us: what is physics?; the nature of understanding; the problem of complexity; conceptual models in physical theory; human experience of the physical world; moving forward. Part 2 Everyday experience of motion and energy: motion and forces; force, mass and acceleration; momentum and angular momentum; work and energy; oscillating systems; wave motion; moving forward. Part 3 The nature and behaviour of matter: atoms and molecules; the particulate nature of gases, liquids and solids; internal energy, heat and temperature; the second law of thermodynamics; solids and their behaviour; liquids and their behaviour; gases and their behaviour; moving forward. Part 4 Everyday experience of electromagnetism: electric and magnetic forces; electric potential and electric current; magnetism and electromagnetic induction; electromagnetic radiation; the reflection and refraction of light; the interference and diffraction of light; moving forward. Part 5 Quantum physics and the atom: atomic constituents - electrons and nuclei; the rise of quantum mechanics; waves and particles; using quantum mechanics; atomic structure; atomic radiations; moving forward. Part 6 Properties of matter - some quantum explanations: the origin of the interatomic force; conductors and insulators; semiconductors; superconductivity; magnetism in solids; superfluidity; moving forward. Part 7 Einstein's relativity theory: what is relativity?; simultaneity; time dilation; length contraction; mass and energy; relativistic quantum mechanics; general relativity; moving forward. Part 8 The atomic nucleus: nuclear constituents; general properties of nuclei; the nuclear force; nuclear models; nuclear reactions; radioactivity; nuclear physics - a few remarks; moving forward. Part 9 The fundamental constituents of matter: the classification of elementary particles; intrinsic particle properties and conservation laws; understanding the nature of hadrons; the weak interaction; the electroweak interaction and unification; moving forward. Part 10 Astrophysics and cosmology: an outline of the "visible" universe; electromagnetic radiation in the universe; the expanding universe and the Big Bang; the early stages of the universe and the formation of stars; the lives of stars; problems and conjectures; moving forward. Part 11 Reflections on physics and physicists: gathering the threads together; theories of everything; the anthropic principle; reductionism, complexity, determinism and chaos; advancing physics and technology; what about physicists?.