American Institute of Physics
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PHYSICS IN EVERYDAY LIFE
The most basic of the sciences, physics, is all around us every day. If you've ever wondered what makes lightning, why a boomerang returns, how ice skaters can spin so fast, how Michael Jordan can "fly," why waves crash on the beach, how that tiny computer can do complicated problems, or how long it takes light from a star to reach us, you have been thinking about some of the same things physicists study every day.

Physicists like to ask questions. They try to find answers for almost everything_from when the universe began to why soda fizzes. If you like to explore and figure out why things are the way they are, you might like physics.
Alf Rawls performs the "Ollie," the aerial maneuver on which all new skateboard tricks are based. The "Ollie" depends on a rapid compression and decompression of the skater's legs. (Photo courtesy Transworld Skateboarding Magazine.)
 
DID YOU
KNOW?
Did you know that a karate strike aimed slightly BEHIND the target achieves the most force? The idea of momentum is the key, a topic found in physics courses.



If you've had a back-row seat at a rock concert, and could still hear, you experienced physics at work! Physicists studying sound contribute to the design of concert halls and the amplification equipment. Knowing more about how things move and interact can be used to manage the flow of traffic and help cities avoid grid lock.
Ford driver Robby Gordon competing in the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix. Aerodynamic engineering helps reduce drag and increase traction. (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company/Campbell and Co.) Lasers and radioactive elements are tools in the war on cancer and other diseases. Geophysicists are developing methods to give advance warning of earthquakes. The work of physicists made possible the computer chips that are in your digital watch, CD player, electronic games, and hand-held calculator.

PHYSICISTS AT WORK
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PHYSICS IN CAREERS
CAREERS IN PHYSICS
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