Physics And Its Powerful Impact On The Environment - We Talk about Nature
Relation between Environment and physics. There are various problems in environmental science with physics and social issues and application of physics . The Environment: Physics at the beginning of the twenty-first century has reached This correlation may allow studies of solar activity backward 10, years in. Kate Ravilious talks to three leading physicists-turned-environmental researchers , to find out about their journey. How many people study.
The environment we live in is called the natural world. Well, then let me tell you that we, the human beings, still live in the environment of planet Earth and these humans are foremost criteria. Whatever is happening to the planet has got the direct effect on us. Even if you are not bothered about animals, plants and other species of the environment, but for the existence of human beings the study of an environment is so important.The physics behind the connection between us and our environment
How does physics help us to study the environment? There are various ways in which physics helps us to study the environment. But here we are going to discuss only the important ones. Until the s, atmospheric science had concentrated on the theory and practice of weather forecasting, which involved a time scale of 6 to 10 days. Weather forecasting was based on an understanding of the prevailing instability of large-scale, mid-latitude phenomena resulting from an analysis of the Navier-Stokes fluid dynamic equations.
In the oceans, meanwhile, the emphasis was on attempting to understand the physical processes that accounted for mass and heat transport in cases such as the Gulf Stream and the circulations of the ocean basins.
At that stage of understanding, it was thought that variability in the oceans and variability in the atmosphere were relatively independent of each other on time scales shorter than decades.
More recently, it has been realized that the ocean and the atmosphere are coupled on much shorter time scales. A series of positive and negative feedbacks between the ocean and the atmosphere create this phenomenon, an oscillation on a grand scale, which is responsible for an instability of the climate system in the Pacific region.
The understanding of this phenomenon, which rests on the joint fluid dynamics of the ocean and the atmosphere, suggests a predictability in the climate system.
Problems of this kind arise with increasing frequency because of the larger and more prosperous human population.
Physics: The Science of the Universe and Everything In It
But they can also be addressed with greater success because of our deeper understanding of the affected systems and an improved capacity Page Share Cite Suggested Citation: These kinds of problems come at all scales: The discovery of the destruction of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons is a classic example of the use of physical science to understand how human beings change a natural system.
Ancient Greek Natural Philosophy Before physics would become the hard science with all its subdisciplines and subtleties, underpinned by math and underpinning virtually every other science, it would become a way of thinking about the world through natural means.
This natural philosophy was of great use to the protoscience. No longer were phenomena considered part of the work of magic or supernatural means. Put simply, natural philosophy determined that every event, no matter the size or significance, must have a natural explanation. This was an important and fundamental shift away from a mystical or supernatural view of the world although it was not based on experimentation or observation as the later science of physics would become.
These early thinkers were Thales 5 who created natural philosophy and theorized that seismological events such as earthquakes had a natural cause correct but assumed wrongly that landmasses were giant rafts that reacted to ocean ripples which caused the quakes. Thales also theorized that water was the substance on which all matter was built. He was wrong about this too but Anaximander had another idea.
7. The Environment | Physics in a New Era: An Overview | The National Academies Press
This was a philosophical rather than a scientific observation and historians of science today argue repeatedly over what Anaximander's actual meaning may have been. He did not theorize the atom - that would come much later - but some have drawn parallels with the discovery of hydrogen.
With Heraclitus, we have the birth of the concept of time as a fluid thing. It wasn't much of a leap for him to determine that nothing ever stayed the same and was subject to constant and infinite change.
But the greatest development in this age, stemming from natural philosophy, was atomism. Although it would take nearly 2, years for researchers to discover the atom, the first theory about these tiny particles began in the 5th century BCE during the Greek period 7.
Leucippus and Democritus both built on theories from a much earlier time and the writings of ancient Indus Valley and Chinese thought on the matter, but it was during this age that the first true theory was formulated - although without observation. We now know the idea that atoms cannot be broken down is false. The Medieval World For around 1, years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, academic and intellectual pursuits fell out of favor partly due to necessity and partly due to the strict controls placed by the medieval church on things outside the bounds of doctrine.
Medieval Europe was a time of little investigation and little interest in all the areas that would today come under the science of physics. However, the church and many other institutions preserved such works out of curiosity if not academic pursuit which is why we know so much about what most Greek and Roman thinkers believed about the world. But the same was not true in the Islamic Middle East. They not only preserved and embraced both western and eastern thinkers but built on their knowledge.
It's considered the Islamic Golden Age and many discoveries in the realms of the natural sciences came in this time. But to say that Christian Europe was intellectually destitute until the Renaissance would be erroneous. Galilei Galileo was one of the world's first astronomers, but his ideas were not completely his own - he had inspiration for the critique of Aristotle's and the ancient world's approach to physics in the form of John Philoponus, a 6th-century Byzantine scholar who questioned many earlier claims.
Philoponus is rare in that he based his understanding of the physical world on observation. He influenced later Islamic thinkers 8 before and during the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium. This was the age of optics; Ibn al-Haytham wrote The Book of Optics which saw not only the final nail on the coffin for ancient views about optics but also saw the invention of the Camera Obscura 9.
Other optical physicists of this age include Al-Farisi, Al-Kindi the father of Arab philosophyIbn Sahl, and the man considered the greatest ever Islamic scholar - Avicenna - the father of modern medicine but also an astronomer. The European Renaissance - which many have said was possible due to the flight of Eastern thinkers out of the crumbled civilization of Byzantium and into western Europe, took many of the ancient and more recent works from the Islamic world who had traded their knowledge with the last bastion of the Roman Empire.
It would soon be the time for Classical Physics to arise, but the Enlightenment and the modern science was still quite some time away.
It's separate from Modern Physics today because it was, in some ways, flawed However, the move to classical physics is noteworthy for the marked shift away from philosophy and intuition-based theory to observation and experimentation.
The emergence of optical tools such as the microscope and the telescope allowed the discovery of the atom, the challenge to the notion that the Earth was not just the center of the solar system but the center of the universe, and the identification of gravity.
This is the age of Copernicus who defined the heliocentric model of the Solar System, Johannes Kepler who set down laws determining how planetary bodies moved, Galileo whose astounding work in developing telescopes reinforced the Copernican view of the solar system, Isaac Newton who set down universal laws on motion and gravity.
Alongside all this were important changes to mathematics. Isaac Newton was also responsible for the invention of calculus 11 which enabled physics to begin to solve some of its most complicated problems. Changes from the early 19th century that led to the Industrial Revolution were based, in part, on the advanced in engineering that was fueled by advances in physics.
Without physics becoming a solid science in the 18thth centuries, we may not have had the combustion engine and the use of fossil fuels 12new developments in metallurgy and building construction and many other things that pushed towards industrialization. It was also the age of electricity and the light bulb - a great age of invention. But despite all this invention and applied physics, classical physics could not explain everything.
In fact, it fell down in some complex areas and by the time the 20th century came along, many of its flaws and limitations were already under scrutiny. The ultimate problem was its belief in constants and predictability - understandable in the Age of Enlightenment because science is based on predictability. But physics and the laws that surround it are not unchanging It would take the recognition of these flaws to develop several subfields in the 20th century.
Modern Physics AS noted above, classical physics, despite its uses, is flawed in several fundamental ways. The 20th century was the beginning of modern physics which would incorporate many discoveries and theories and give birth to some of our most celebrated scientists such as Marie Curie for her work with radioisotopesher daughter Irene who discovered artificial radioactivityMax Planck who began developed quantum theoryVera Rubin who discovered Dark Matter Albert Einstein who revolutionized physics with his Theories of Relativity which solved and corrected a few problems that had bugged various physicists for generations and Professor Stephen Hawking for a wide range of discoveries, solved paradoxes, and complex theories particularly those relating to the nature of Black Holes This is also the age of space exploration, calculating the size of our solar system and distance to nearest stars and other galaxies.
Through mathematical measurements and physics, we have been able to calculate that the size of the visible universe at around billion galaxies. It's even been used to attempt to calculate the potential number of civilizations in the universe. Quantum Theory gave way to Quantum Mechanics, one of the most complex sciences for the layperson to understand. The early 20th century saw a number of complex experiments in many subfields of physics, none more so than the discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN's Large Hadron Collider 15the world's largest particle accelerator.
But physics has never been about the complex and lofty - it's also about the everyday. It's at the core of engineering and many other sciences. It's fundamental to the Earth sciences such as meteorology and is vital in our understanding of this generation's most pressing problem - climate change. How Physics Applies to Environmental Science No other science can get away from physics or chemistry because all matter is made up of molecules.
As physics is the study of how matter acts and reacts to various forcings and aspects of the world and the universe, physics has massive implications for the environmental sciences. Although few physicists deliberately aim to become climatologistsmany today are working on some of the fundamental problems caused by our changing climate and examining potential solutions The physics of our environment, atmosphere and ocean cycle system 18 temperature rises all dictate a number of things such as the fluid movements of water systems such as oceanic oscillations, and how environments will react to atmospheric chemistry changes.
Physics will show how climates will change and the long-term effects on both land and aquatic ecologies. The contribution of physics to the environmental sciences is no better demonstrated than in the development of renewable energy.
For example, solar panels and solar arrays convert light for panels and heat for arrays into electricity through chemical processes that we have identified through physics Also, physics has been fundamental in developing turbines - the science behind wind farms that also generate electricity. Finally, physics can be used to calculate the amount of energy produced by the processing and burning of biofuel just as it has for fossil fuels.
The Roles of Physics in Our Modern Society | Sciencing
Similar to climate change, physics is key to understanding occurrences and the spread of aerial pollution. This has massive implications for public health and the extent and seriousness of certain conditions, anything from asthma up to lung cancer Physics and physicists measure aerial pollutants, suggest and develop methods of mitigating it, and examines what is an unsafe level.
They are also involved alongside chemists in tackling the problem. Without satellites, we would not know as much about our planet as we would have done Physics underpins the rockets used to send satellites into space.
Even flight is dependent on physics and the necessary relationship between speed and lift. This goes for thermal imaging and other types that have allowed us to map our world and meteorological events. Understanding physics is also central to predicting and measuring seismological activity - and, of course, preparing for such an environmental disaster as an earthquake or volcano When the ground moves, it creates ripples on the land.
Earthquakes that occur at sea create ripples in the water that cause tsunamis. One of the worst seismological disasters of the modern age happened at Christmas when an earthquake under the ocean causes a massive tsunami, killing aroundpeople. Physics can predict, based on the size of seismological activity, the impact on land and ocean of such activity. The Sub-Disciplines of Physics As with the other hard sciences, physics can be broken down into two broad groups - applied physics and theoretical physics.
The latter is concerned with devising theories about how the universe or any atoms or molecules within it might function. Applied physics is the practical use of materials, typically used in engineering projects. With each new discovery, new science and new technology, there will always be issues for physics to understand and deconstruct.
This is both a theoretical and an applied science. It's important n concert halls and theaters, for example, to design the architecture so that it makes the best use of the sound, make it carry far, and channel noise without too much feedback or echo.
It's been used to great effect in modern churches too for the same reason. Although invisible, sound occurs as waves, spanning out from a central point. They are the reverberating of aerial particles reacting to sound. It is not just about music or architectural use either.
The science of acoustics also includes other aspects of sound engineering - the creation of sound and control of sound reduction. Other uses include SONAR - used by civilian and military shipping to detect anomalies at and under the sea, medical use with ultrasound scanning, and even seismology. Astronomy Astronomy is one of the oldest forms of modern physics and existed long before physics was even a science. For most of recorded history and even before that, humans have been interested in the stars, their relative positions, and using them to track the seasons.
The stars and planets inspired imagination and are at the center of some of our most enduring myths. But astronomy today is very different.