Why is physics important?

At night, physics is important because without physics there would be nothing 😉 But I rather suspect that you want to know why physics should be important at school or at university – right?

Well, as the other authors already write, physics is only of limited importance to you as an individual person, because you might want to work something in which physical knowledge does not matter.However, I see it differently when it comes to why physics as a discipline of science is important for humanity as a whole:

First of all, “physics” tries to find answers to the oldest questions of mankind: “where do we come from?”, “where do we go?”, “How does the world work?” In this respect, I see physics (by the way, together with genetics and the theory of evolution) in the tradition of religions.The answers may be different, but the driving force behind these questions is very similar.

Second, physics allows us humans to understand how nature works in its foundations.And only if you understand something you can take advantage of it and manipulate it (in a positive sense). The result of this understanding, which humanity has built up over 500 now, is the technical progress and the technological world of today. You can stand by it as you like, but without physics there would be no electric power, no atomic bombs, no television, no internet, no telephone, no solar cells, no X-ray machines, no navigation devices, no flight to the moon and no satellites, no satellites, no satellites, no satellites, no satellites, no Weather forecast…

Thirdly, physics has developed a very rigorous toolbox to assess when something can be judged as “truth” and to what extent one can speak of truth at all.I am talking here about statistical methods that make it possible to assess measurement data and to qualify the results of measurements. A physically educated person knows that every measurement has a measurement error – so you can never really talk about “truth” and absolute accuracy – and that you need a minimum number of measurements to be allowed to say it at all. Furthermore, physics was the driving force behind the development of the scientific method and the “basic laws” of scientific work: 1) set a hypothesis (i.e. a presumption) about a process in nature. 2) Formulate your guess in such a way that it is possible to check it also by observation. 3) Perform an experiment in which you test your hypothesis, document your approach and your results. It must be possible for everyone in the world to understand your experiment and achieve the same results. 4)If your hypothesis has been refuted by the experiment, formulate a new hypothesis. If your experiment confirms your hypothesis, work with the hypothesis until you encounter contradictions. 5) In case of contradictions, continue at 1). What may sound muddled at first glance was a revolution in thought. Before the scientific method, “witches” could be burned in good conscience on demand. Truth was what was in the room as a statement, it did not need to be proven. The scientific method is – if any – the basis of democratic decision-making and opinion-forming processes. Those who are trained in this way of thinking should be reasonably prepared for racism and populism.

Fourthly, without physics and its findings, today’s advances in chemistry, biology, and medicine are hard to imagine.On the one hand, the measuring instruments used in chemistry and biology are based on physical principles – think of the mass spectrograph for the determination of molecular masses or the method of X-ray crystallography, which made it possible to determine the structure of the DNA molecule. to determine. On the other hand, the physical models of natural forces allow to gain completely new and deeper insights into the modes of action of molecules. For example, a non-slip “gecko skin” surface would not be possible without knowledge of the Van der Waal interaction. Or it would hardly be possible to develop new cancer drugs that dock precisely to certain receptors in the cell.

In summary, it can be said that without physics we would live as a scientific discipline somewhere in the Middle Ages.And this is both technical and philosophical.