Physics has become cool again?

A column on the BBC musing on this, for anyone who’s interested. Part of this trend is probably due to this guy and a few shows like The Big Bang Theory, and possibly Mythbusters as well.

My own take on this is possibly biased because I’m studying physics, but I (personally) think physics is the best of the three major branches (physics, biology and chemistry). The reason for this is that the laws of physics underpin everything, and quite a bit of chemistry is applied physics, especially thermodynamics and quantum physics.
The main problem with biology from my perspective is the long names like Saccharomyces cerevisiae – or baker’s yeast. In fact, Enrico Fermi once made a crack at this when he said “If I could remember the names of all these particles, I’d be a botanist.”
Most of the really interesting questions lately have come from physics: What happens inside a black hole? What is matter made of? Physicists are also working on how the universe may have began: the Big Bang does not actually cover this, but covers the expansion afterwards. I might cover that another time.

However, a frequent complaint of non-physicists is this:

This comes about from the fact that the laws of physics underpin everything, and the fact that most experts in one field tend to think that their expertise extends to another field when it doesn’t. That’s something I need to keep in mind.

However, going back to my original topic, UCAS has reported that the amount of applications to do physics has increased for the fifth year in a row. More people are moving to physics because it’s apparently a great way to find a job in many sectors, and to do biochemistry last year, I had to do physics in first year. Physics ended up being more interesting than biochem, which is why I switched.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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