Reading Physics

A series of readers to help you understand physics.

Physics stories have particular purpose – to be a reliable guide for thinking about the world and acting in the world. So the stories are tested. The stories are often both simple and not obvious. They exercise our capacity to re-imagine the world: to see it anew.

Just as everyone learns to see the world differently as they grow up, so physics has evolved: some ways of reasoning about the world have somewhat limited success, although these ways may still be workable within a limited scope. And similarly to the realisation that our parents can't do everything, we appreciate that physics is one story about how the world is. It just happens to be a very good one, in that it's a reliable guide to action, an inspiration to the imagination, and paradigm for coherence and consistency.

Physics is suitable for many things but always open to adaption. It'll always be an unfinished story, although many parts are rather polished. It's the best we have for now.

These are physics stories that are a reliable guide for thinking about the world and acting in the world. The story is tested. It's both simple and not obvious. Practice re-imagining the world to see it more richly.

Seeing

Hearing

Moving

Controlling

Photons

Waves

Stories of journeys

Kinds of forces

Something for nothing

Switching power

Radiation and matter

Setting trajectories

Setting limits