Friday, October 15, 2010

The Physics of the "Mundane"

I got interested in physics not because of some grandiose idea of wanting to know why we exist, or how the universe came to be, etc. I didn't have, and don't have, such lofty goals. Maybe I'm not smart enough to want to ask those questions. Rather, I love physics because of its ability, or at least its potential capability, to solve or explain ordinary, and apparently "mundane" phenomena. These seemingly-simple things are what fuel my curiosity.

The Buzz Blog on Physics Central has a bunch of such mundane phenomena, with videos of them. One may be tempted to argue that studying and trying these things may be a waste of time. But as mentioned at the end of the blog entry, these things can, in fact, be an avenue to understand more important phenomena. After all, who would have thought that just trying to understand an apple falling from a tree could provide an understanding of how to build large structures and how celestial bodies move.


1 comment:

Pi-Guy said...

I really do love these kinds of problems. Here's another fine example:

Everyone should remember that episode in one of Feynman's books, where he said that having fun figuring out a flying dinner plate in the cafeteria eventually connected to his work in QED and earned him his Nobel.