Ever wondered why the picture frame remains in position or why a particular measurement taken by different individuals of the same profession often appear different? Have you ever wondered why we sit comfortably on a chair without falling or why the taste of the same food items cooked using different cooking utensils taste differently? Ever wondered why birds don’t get electrocuted on some power lines and immediately get fried on other lines or why imaginary water appears on the road when viewed from afar? Do you ever wonder why the rainbow appears the way it does or why a day-old baby finds it difficult to hold a key?
These and many others are the reasons physics exist. Physics is a subject classified under the branch of science. It belongs to the group of physical sciences, a branch of knowledge saddled with the responsibilities of explaining and gaining deeper insights, knowledge and understanding to things around us. Physics, when viewed from the angle of philosophy, belongs to the world of realism, a body of knowledge that studies reality, things we can see, hold or touch.
Physics is a science subject that studies matter and its associated energy and how they interact with one another. Matter is the amount of mass in a quantity. Anyone studying physics is called a physicist. Physicists are individuals that attempt to proffer solutions, explanations, answers and defenses as to why physical occurrences happen the way they do. The study of Physics affords individuals to talk authoritatively and give insights to issues as they concern the realities of life.
Various branches of physics exist, with each branch finding usefulness in almost all aspects of human life and activities. It is worthy of note that the usefulness of physics in our daily lives cannot be overemphasised. To a chemist, the knowledge of mensuration is indispensable. Whether by counts, syrups or drips, the knowledge of measurement is vital. In the study of Physics, an essential topic is the concept of measurement and measuring instruments. While measurement deals with knowing the worth, quantity or amount of something, it is essential to know the appropriate measuring instruments and how to use them. Thus, it is imperative to add that some quantities are basic while some are derived.
The basic quantities are also called the fundamental quantities, they are naturally occurring and do not require any other bits of manipulation for their measurement. Basic quantities exist by nature and they include mass, length, time, temperature, amount of substance, luminous intensity and electric current. A visit to the tailor’s shop will see the usefulness of mensuration playout. The tailor majorly obtains measurement that relates to the physical description of the client. He obtains these measurements that may include but not limited to; height, body size, waist length, chest side. All these readings are obtained by direct measurements.
However, when the volume or area of an item is required, further manipulations such as multiplication and/or division may be required. Whenever manipulations such as division and or multiplication are carried out, the obtained result becomes a derived quantity. Derived quantities do not occur naturally on their own and cannot be obtained by direct measurements, there must be manipulation of one or more quantities to obtain a derived quantity.
To someone in the food industry, it is pertinent to apply the various principles of physics to ensure proper and optimum delivery. An indisputable application is found in the use of a pressure cooker. The use of a pressure cooker in cooking saves time, resources and energy. The pressure cooker ensures that no form of vapor is lost to the environment, thereby trapping all vapor within the boundaries of the cooker which helps build up internal pressure thereby altering the boiling point of the water used in the cooking process, which enables the food items to be cooked faster as opposed to the longer duration required.
Similarly, to an African, particularly, women of Yoruba origin, it is a common practice to find them placing a very heavy item such as stones or iron rods/metals on the cover of a cooking pot particularly when preparing moimoi, that is nicknamed bean cake in the English dialect. This method is often referred to as crude, ancient or traditional. It is worthy to note that the taste and aroma of the moimoi prepared by the ancient mothers who used the ‘crude’ method tasted uniquely different from those prepared by the sophisticated and developed women who utilised the modern approach. The ancient women understood though not in writing but by principle and application, the effects of pressure on boiling.
To a footballer, the concept of projectile is an essential life skill. With the knowledge of time of flight, maximum height and range, a skilled footballer termed a professional footballer will surpass that of an ordinary or local footballer. Thus, there is a connection between the activities of a physicist and the survival of humanity. When the ordinary mind sleeps, relaxes and recreates, a physicist continuously probes for imaginary problems, generating further confusion only to develop resources which will aid the human race. For without problems, there are no solutions. The technologies we enjoy today are results of unending research works of physicists and scientists in general.