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THE FIELDS AND USES OF PHYSICS
The story of man's civilisation is the story of his study of nature and the application of his knowledge in his life. Primitive man was born, lived and died with little change in his manner of living from generation to generation. The laws of nature were not studied.
The use of tools, first of stone and later of metals, the domestication of animals, the development of writing and counting, all progressed slowly since rapid advance was not possible until man began to gather data and check theories. Till that time most of man's knowledge was based on the speculations of the Greeks.
Not until a little over three centuries ago did man adopt the scientific method of studying his environment. After this the development of civilisation has become increasingly more rapid. The advance of all the natural sciences has been almost simultaneous: in fact, many of the prominent scientists were working in more than one field of knowledge.
We shall limit our attention to the one field of physics. Probably more than any other science physics has changed the conditions under which man lives. Physics deals not with man himself, but with the things he sees and feels and hears. This science deals with the laws of mechanics, heat, sound, electricity, light, which have been applied in numerous combinations to build our machine age. Modern physics also deals with electronics, atomic phenomena, photo-electricity, X-rays, radioactivity, the transmutation of matter and energy and the phenomena associated with electron tubes and the electric waves of modern radio.
The practical application of the developments of physics continues at an ever increasing rate. “Practical physics” plays, therefore, no small role, for the laws of physics are applied in every movement we make, in every attempt at communication, in the warmth and light we receive from the sun, in every machine. Practical applications of physics are not all made, by physicists, for the majority of those who apply the principles of physics are called “engineers”.
In fact, most of the branches of engineering are closely related with one or more sections of physics: civil engineering applies the principles of mechanics; mechanical engineering utilises the laws of mechanics and heat; electrical engineering is based on fundamentals of electricity, etc. The relation between engineering and physics is so close that a thorough knowledge and understanding of physical principles is important for progress of engineering. One of the tools common to physics and engineering is mathematics.
If we are to make effective use of the principles and measurements of physical science, we must have a workable knowledge of mathematics. Physics and mathematics are thus the basic “foundations of engineering”.
2. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word combinations:
цивілізація, застосування знань, від покоління до покоління, використання інструментів, розвиток, письмо та рахунок, збирати дані, одночасно, видатні вчені, займатися, радіоактивність, тепло, будівництво, використовувати, закони механіки, зв’язок, обмеження.
3. Make up word combinations from the following words and translate them into Ukrainian:
man’s, utilize, engineering, tube, to deal with, civilization, laws, mechanical, man, electron, electric, to gather, waves, data.