What Is Physics?

Physics is the scientific study of matter and energy and how they interact with each other.

This energy can take the form of motion, light, electricity, radiation, gravity . . . just about anything, honestly. Physics deals with matter on scales ranging from sub-atomic particles (i.e. the particles that make up the atom and the particles that make up those particles) to stars and even entire galaxies.

How Physics Works

As an experimental science, physics utilizes the scientific method to formulate and test hypotheses that are based on observation of the natural world. The goal of physics is to use the results of these experiments to formulate scientific laws, usually expressed in the language of mathematics, which can then be used to predict other phenomena.


The employment prospects for those with qualifications in physics are generally good. Physics provides a route into many careers, and opportunities exist both in Britain and throughout Europe, and North America. These prospects are not confined to research, they extent into a wide range of industries, IT, medicine, high finance, marketing, business and management. The general skills of analysis and problem-solving that a physics degree fosters, help physics graduates to contribute effectively to most areas of an organisation’s activities.

While some physics graduates go on to work in academic research and teaching, many, possibly most, physics graduates move into jobs where they are not working as ‘physicists’ as such, but in which they are using the skills they developed through studying physics. They are challenged by moving into new fields but succeed because of their skills and training in physics. Some physics graduates are employed in industry, on the research and development side – industries such as those concerned with opto-electronics, computing, telecommunications, materials, motor vehicle technology, semiconductors and power generation. Physics graduates, because of their broadly based training, often become leaders of the increasingly common multi-disciplinary teams employed on development projects.

A physicist’s work may involve experimental investigations and theoretical analysis, but physicists are increasingly employed in the world of IT using advanced computers in the solution of scientific and engineering problems, or predicting financial futures. A physicist’s ability to model complex processes is particularly valued.

Teaching physics at school or college level offers not only the opportunity to work with young people, but it is also challenging in that teachers explain complex concepts while sharing the enthusiasm for the subject.

In summary a degree course in physics brings you face-to-face with the important fundamental concepts and knowledge which are at the heart of our understanding of nature. A degree course in physics also opens doors to a wider range of careers than almost any other subject.