What Has Physics Ever Done for Us?
I'll admit, my tongue is stuck firmly in my cheek when I'm asking this question. We know that physics research has contributed immeasurable benefits to mankind. This is exactly what Alfred Nobel tried to celebrate when setting out his vision for the Nobel Prizes. However, in some cases, those benefits are more pronounced than in others.
Consider the humble blue LED, the invention of which won Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics. Its impact has been immense. The device was the final piece of the puzzle needed to replace old-school lighting – filament and fluorescent bulbs – with LEDs.
No bigger than a nail, LEDs last 100 times longer than a filament bulb and use a fraction of the electricity. They are suitable for off-grid lighting systems powered by renewable energy while reducing both carbon emissions and electricity bills; Communities in remote or poor areas especially benefit.
Here, the research had a well-defined goal, its impact on society was estimated, and the technology was soon available for everyday use. However, not all physics research has such obvious or immediate benefits. Physicists doing fundamental research are usually unprepared to change the world. Rather, the goal is to understand the universe better.
Double prize winner Marie Curie was not sorry about her inspiration. Despite propaganda to the contrary, it was not intended to help people with cancer: "Scientific work should not be considered from the point of view of its direct utility. It should be done for the sake of the beauty of science, for itself," she said. announced in 1921.
Can you use these words to convince a politician that a new telescope or particle accelerator should be funded? Maybe not. But, as romantic as they may seem, there is a sense of humour in them. It has been proven time and again that basic research is a pipeline that feeds applied research (and vice versa). Without it, countless advances - not just in physics - simply wouldn't have happened.
Years in the Making
A classic model is GPS technology, used for everything from the exploration of airliners, to tracking the exact location of pizza deliveries. More directly, great-end technology produced for basic research – from directors and materials to algorithms – can show useful outside academia. A famous pattern is Wi-fi technology developed by Australian astronomers. Used daily by billions, it was made on the back of research searching for ultra-weak radio flags from mini black holes, though the black holes were nevermore detected, in the end.
Show Me the Money
To help tell decisions on research funding, some have tried to work out the amount of basic research. It’s especially important as study becomes increasingly expensive. While the Curies isolated radium in an old shed, particle physicists’ recently published vision for the next big particle accelerator – a 100-kilometre ring compared to the 27-kilometre Large Hadron Collider – is projected to cost a result of €24 billion. It makes LIGO, which detected gravitational loops for the first time and cost over a billion money, look like small fry.
It’s no simple feat, however. Typically, studies haven’t quantified the most substantial contribution of basic research: the long-term result of discoveries. This in nice as been deemed simply too hard; how do you work out the amount of relativity?
This was the scene of Italian physicist Stefano Forte and professors Massimo Florio and Emanuela Sirtori, who did a cost-benefit study of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2016. The great-term benefits of any discoveries are “a bonus for future creations, donated to them by now taxpayers,” they wrote.
Despite being conservative in their calculations, their decisions were positive and emphatic: a 90% probability that the benefits of the LHC outweighed its costs, by €2.9 billion. The 2 largest contributions were social capital effects – specifically, how young researchers’ careers benefit from working at CERN – and technical spillovers. One spillover pattern is ROOT. Developed at CERN, the free data review software has tens of thousands of users outside of high-energy science, mostly in finance.
So, surely, with benefits like these, there should be no question about funding basic physics research? The good news is that the public recognises its importance. In a 2014 study, for example, 71% of Americans agreed that investments in basic research “usually pay off in the long run”.
However, from a political point of view, at least, several factors spoil the waters. For one, science, in general, is one of many areas that governments must fund. The decades it takes to feed breakthroughs like relativity into life-changing technology go far beyond the electoral cycle that often drives politicians' decisions.
Focusing on classic applied research, which has more concrete goals and maybe commercialized soon, can be particularly attractive in tough times. For example, following the global financial crisis in 2007–2008, the governments of the US and Canada turned away from fundamental science funding.
Recently, the owners of six major research organizations, including Germany's Max Planck Society, expressed concerns about Horizon Europe, the next big EU funding programme. They are afflicted with what they argue is a shift in focus via applied research that involves an increase in relatively small funding for fundamental science. Obviously, both types of study are important, but how do you compare the two?
Looking ahead, we can only dream of how basic research could change or even save our world. There is no shortage of challenges as the planet's population continues to grow and the need for action on climate change becomes increasingly urgent. Will our understanding of the Higgs boson leap forward? What will be the next GPS? However, one thing is certain: If we want the fruits of basic research, we have to keep sowing the seeds. In the science of gardening, good things come to those who wait.
Ou're interested in technology and want to learn about how things work, learning more about physics can help you understand why the modern world and the tools that
There Are So Many Advantages To Studying Physics: -
A wide range of career opportunities
If you're wondering about what kind of jobs come with a physics degree, the great answer is that there are so many to choose from!
Although a physics degree is inherently highly embedded in the sciences, physics graduates do not necessarily go into jobs that are scientific in nature, and you certainly need to become an expert or physicist if you don't want to. is not demanded.
Of course, if you have your heart set on becoming an astrophysicist or laboratory technician, you can naturally follow those paths, but it's also important to note that there are other career paths for physics graduates.
For example, physics graduates may find themselves working in a variety of fields, such as:
- Government or public sector;
- Business and finance; Or
- Technology, to name a few.
So if you think of a career as an accountant, engineer, investment analyst, journalist, mathematician, or any other position you think interests you entirely, a physics degree can help you reach your goal. possible, even if indirectly.
If you decide that a career in physics is something you want to pursue, keep in mind that it can be helpful to try to secure some sort of work experience in a related field to increase your chances of success.
It gives you a challenge
Whether you're reading physics at GCSE or A-levels in school or reading about physics at university and beyond, physics, like other sciences, has a respect for requiring specialized skills, such as:
- Strong mathematical ability;
- Ability to learn complex formulas; And
- So, if you want to study at a university that offers a challenge and keeps you busy, physics may just be the degree route for you, especially if you enjoy the mathematical side of the subject, such as equations. Solving or performing algebra or calculus.
Gain valuable skills for employers
You learn a lot during a physics degree, including a variety of transferable skills, such as:
- Problem-solving and analytical skills;
- Research skills; And
- Communication and presentation skills.
These transferable skills are often especially attractive to employers in many different industries, which means you can add them to your CV. When you have a physics degree to your name, stand out from the rest of the crowd.
What's more, physics is actually in high demand in some fields like teaching. Due to the shortage of qualified physics teachers, the government is offering financial incentives to graduates such as physics graduates, to help more physics graduates get into the classroom as teachers.
appreciate modern technology
It will come as no surprise to learn that everything we take for granted in today's digitally-driven age has been developed and used thanks to physics. For example, consider any of the items here that we use daily:
- Computers and laptops;
- Digital cameras;
- Mobile phone; And
- DVD and MP3 Player.
If you're involved in technology and want to learn around how things work, learning more about physics can help you understand why the modern world and the tools that make it work the way it is today. We do.