For countless times, you could have wondered how you never fell while riding the Space Shuttle and why you never really got away flying while riding the Flying Fiesta or the Roller Coaster. Magic? Not at all! It’s PHYSICS.
Physics is the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time. Since we know from General Science that anything that has mass and takes up space is matter, we could easily visualize how Physics is crucial to our everyday lives. It explains basic concepts like how a yoyo works, why a car moves, why the rainbow has colors, how an airplane could fly in the sky and a man could float in water.Of course, these basic explanations could lead to greater inventions such as satellites, cellular phones, GPS, radio frequencies, lasers, computers and others. To put it simple, Physics reveals the nature’s beauty and challenges our imaginations, which leads to great discoveries and technologies.
For starters, let us assume that you are a typical kid with a penchant for cars. Years from now, you would love to drive a car of your own (you are lucky if you have a car now). Let us assume also that your love for your car has made you to dwell a little deeper on the concepts on how you work with it.
For the first two concepts, we have velocity and the average velocity. The velocity of your car is the change of speed (or rate) with respect to the time when your car starts with an initial position and ends at its final destination. Average velocity is just the average of your car’s calculated initial velocity (at initial position with respect to its speed and time) and your car’s calculated final velocity (at the final position with respect to its speed and time). The formula for the average velocity is given by . To visualize this more, take a look at the example below.
Your car accelerates with an initial velocity of 15 meters per second and it reaches its destiny at 40 meters per second. What is your car’s average velocity?
Initial Velocity: V1 = 15 m/s
Final Velocity: V2 = 40 m/s
The average velocity is given by:
Vav= 27.5 m/s
Thus, your car’s average velocity is 27.5 m/s.
Now, let’s move on with the concept of acceleration and average acceleration. Acceleration is defined as the rate at which your car changes its velocity. It is given by the formula . We say that your car is accelerating when it is changing its velocity. You may be thinking that when your car goes fast, it is also accelerating, but that is not true. Acceleration does not have anything to do with going fast. To understand this, proceed to the example given below.
Your car accelerates with an initial velocity of 7 m/s for 6 seconds then 18 m/s for 5 seconds finally for 15 m/s for 8 seconds. Calculate your car’s average acceleration.
Velocity: v1= 7m/s, v2= 18m/s, v3= 15m/s
Time taken: t1 = 6s, t2 = 5s, t3 = 8s
Total velocity: Δ v = v1 + v2 + v3 = 7 + 18 + 15 = 40 m/s
Total time taken: Δ t = t1 + t2 + t3 = 6 + 5 + 8 = 19 s
The average acceleration is given by:
= 2.1053 m/s2.
Thus, the average acceleration of your car is 2.1053 m/s2.
The good news is that those concepts could also be applied in any object that moves. You may want to try using the same concept for moving particles, rolling balls and others. Amazing, right?
Why Learn Physics
Physics is one of the fields of study that is substantial to the development of a country. For instance, we could look at the improvement of trade and industrial productivity with the existence of enhanced transportation. Applications of this in the Philippines are LRT, MRT, Jeepneys, and the presence of fossil fuels like petrol and diesel.
Physics is also of great significance to other fields of study such as Biology, Agriculture, Medicine, Mathematics and Engineering. In Agriculture, the study of the physical property of a soil and other components is important to an optimal plantation. The applications of Physics in Medicine are x-ray tests, MRI, ultrasound, treatment of organs and tumors, and even diagnosis of cancer.
Now, visualize a world without Physics. What do you see? Yes, a world without Physics is a world without life and colors, right?
Here are some facts in Physics that could blow your beliefs:
1. The Eiffel Tower is up to 15 cm taller in summer due to the effect of Thermal Expansion.
2. Whales talk to each other by making a loud clicking noise. The sound waves travel extremely well underwater and they can hear each other from 100 miles away.
3. Hot water freezes quicker than cold water.
4. Hawaii is moving toward Japan 10 centimeters (4 inches) every year.
5. A TV screen shows 24 pictures a second. Since a fly sees 200 images a second, it would see TV as still pictures with darkness in between.
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