The world through the prism of Physics
As rightly said by Vikram Sarabhai, “we must be second to none in the applications of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society”- Physics is an extremely vast subject which involves the study of fundamental topics such as optics, atomic and molecular physics, experimental solid-state physics, non-linear dynamics, theoretical and computational physics (which includes condense matter to string theory). It is a science which deals with the study of motion, energy and force.
Physics is one of the oldest subjects which opens the door for various career opportunities including in astronomy, academics, research, engineering physics and healthcare. It is a challenge to become a name for India in the field of science. By increasing the percentage of GDP for research and development the shortcomings in the field of science and research can be overcome. India has produced eminent physicists such as C. V. Raman, Homi Baba, Vikram Sarabhai and Satendra Bose. In 1945 Homi Baba established a renowned institution named TIFR in Mumbai which brought laurels to the country in the field of research.
Modern physics includes high energy particle physics including Higgs-Bosson (the God particle), gravitation and cosmology, soft condensed matter or bio physics, quantum computation and information, quantum confinement, quantum interference and nanotechnology (involving low dimensional systems like graphene and similar 2D systems), energy harvesting materials and quantum phase transitions. Nanotechnology is a field of science which holds the key to technological advancements which rely on novel particles obtained from small size of the parent materials. Nanotechnology brings a unique opportunity in the field of renewable energy and can overcome various technology limitations.
Physics is considered as the most exciting endeavour. Quoting Richard Feynman, “Perhaps you will not only have some appreciation of this culture; it is even possible that you may want to join in the greatest adventure that the human mind has ever begun”. He further adds, “It’s the way I study—to understand something by trying to work it out or, in other words, to understand something by creating it. Not creating it one hundred percent, of course; but taking a hint as to which direction to go but not remembering the details. These you work out for yourself”. He further said, “what I cannot create, I do not understand”.
Masters or doctorate in physics enhances the chances to know about the mathematical problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students of MSc physics should go through the core subjects such as classical physics, quantum mechanics, statistical physics, electricity and magnetism and mathematical physics. Areas such as functional and advanced materials comprising optical materials, photovoltaic solar cells, organic electronics, oxide electronics, nano-oxide interfaces, magnetic memories and spintronics have strong overlap with the industry. Students after completing their MSc in physics can teach in MTS, IISERs and TIFR. They can work in R and D departments in defence labs.
Concluding with the quotation of Stephen Hawking, “There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope”.
The writer is Principal at SSM College of Engineering