What is matter? What is energy? What holds matter together? How do the various constituents of the universe interact at the most basic level? Where does the Earth sit in relation to the rest of the universe? Can we predict the movements of the stars?
Physics gives us the knowledge to address remarkable questions like these. But knowledge is also power: a better understanding of these laws, allows us to improve the ways we interact with, and harness our environment. And if you look at the rapid development in human technology over the past two centuries, it is amazing just how much technological change has been derived from advances in physics.
Perhaps the most clear-cut example in this respect is the dramatic transformation that electricity has brought about in all modern societies. Our whole way of living now is completely dependent upon being able to generate, transmit, and harness electric power in a safe and efficient manner – all of which is ultimately underpinned by our understanding of physics.
Keeping up with the ever growing demand for generating electricity with minimal environmental impact will be a significant challenge in the years to come.
No matter how much we know there is always more to discover – and from every discovery we generate great new and practical technologies.