Physics, the Fundamental Science

Chapter 1

1. Physics
1. Physics as a Physical Science
• Physical Science => The study of the matter.
• Matter => Anything that has mass and takes up space.
• Physics => The study of the physical properties of matter. (The study of the basic nature of matter and the interactions that govern its behavior.)
• Classical Physics => Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Optics, Electricity and Magnetism.
• Modern Physics => Atomic Physics, Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics and Condensed-Matter Physics.
1. Physical properties
• Properties => Qualities/attributes that, taken together, are usually unique to an object. (Size, Color, Shape, Odor)
1. Measurements
• Physics is a quantitative science
• Measurement => The process of comparing a property of an object to a well-defined and agreed-upon referent.

(Precision & Description)

• Unit => A well-defined and agreed-upon referent.
1. Measurement Systems
1. Metric vs. English System
2. Standard Units (Metric System)
3. Length – meter (m) Mass – kilogram (kg)

Volume – liter (L)

4. Metric Prefixes

Prefix Symbol Meaning

Giga- G 1,000,000,000 x base unit

Mega- M 1,000,000 x base unit

Kilo- K 1,000 x base unit

Base Unit

Deci- d 0.1 x base unit

Centi- c 0.01 x base unit

Milli- m 0.001 x base unit

Micro- m 0.000,001 x base unit

1. Quantitation
• Measurement => A number and a unit.
1. Data
• Measurement information used to describe something.
• Can describe objects, conditions, events or changes that are occuring.
• Used to further your understanding of a situation or test a hypothesis.
1. Examples:
1. Driving routes
2. Volume comparison

3. Volume Area

Cube a 1 in3 6 in2

Cube b 8 in3 24 in2

Cube c 27 in3 54 in2

4. Ratios and Generalizations
• Ratio => A relationship between two numbers, one divided by another.
• Velocity = distance/time
• Density = mass/volume

Block A Block B

Mass = 81.0 g Mass = 135g

Volume = 30 L Volume = 50 L

Density = 2.7 g/L Density = 2.7 g/L

1. Symbols & Equations

a. Symbols => Each symbol stands for a very

specific property or concept. These quantities represent a number and a unit.

1. Equation => A statement that describes a

relationship where the quantities on one side of the equal sign are identical to the quantities on the other side.

1. Describe a property
2. Define a concept
3. Describe how quantities change

together.

5. Proportions

• Direct
• Inverse
• Square
• Inverse square
1. Constants
• May or may not have units.
1. Graphs
• Scientific data can be represented in a variety of ways.
• A graph shows how changes in one variable correspond with changes in a second variable.
• Dependent variable => y-axis
• Independent variable => x-axis
• Slope = x/ y

y

x

1. Scientific Method
• Involves making a varied series of inquiries by observing, questioning, interpreting and concluding.

Observations

Formulate a Hypothesis

Design a Controlled Experiment

Prior Knowledge Collect Data

Interpret Data

Draw Conclusions

1. What is a Hypothesis?
• A tentative explanation of events that occur or of how something works.
• Hypothesis are subjected to rigorous testing.
• Testing proves a hypothesis false/true.
• Hypotheses must be about the observable universe.
1. Verifiable vs. Falsifiable Hypotheses
• Verifiable => Confirmable
• Falsifiable => Capable of being shown to be untrue
1. Specific vs. General Hypotheses
• Hypotheses that are easy to verify generally tell us very little.
• Scientific hypotheses are usually absolutely falsifiable but not absolutely verifiable.

In science, you continually attempy to prove your hypothesis is incorrect. Scientific statements are tentative!

1. What is a Theory?
• A cluster of related hypotheses that share a common vocabulary and a common subject matter.