Relating Physics to Everyday Life

Relating Physics to Everyday Life

On this “Living Planet” that we call Earth, lots of interesting events occur. These events are the events that we see or experience regularly. At some point, your curiosity would have pushed you to ask about what was going on? The answer to all these questions is Physics. Physics can quench your thirst for knowledge and facts. It governs our life in one way or the other. In this article, let us discuss various instances in which physics come into play.

Simple Machines

Park is a place where you can easily see physics in action. Have you ever wondered about the science behind the slide and the see-saw that you so often play with? The functionality of various equipment in parks is based on simple machines. A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force. Simple machines such as levers come in different variations, each with varying fulcrum locations. They magnify force, lessening the effort needed to move objects on the opposite end.

  • A see-saw at a park consists of a lever (locations for sitting) and the fulcrum (placed in the middle). The two opposing forces counterbalance each other and create a smooth ride through the air.
  • Slide is a device that combines stairs going up and a slide going down, both examples of inclined planes. The inclined plane eases the effort of climbing by spreading it over a longer distance. The smooth slide returns you gently to earth, slowing the influence of gravity just enough to make it fun.

Simple Harmonic Motion

Simple Harmonic Motion occurs when a particle or object moves back and forth within a stable equilibrium position under the influence of a restoring force proportional to its displacement.  Simple harmonic motion is used to model many real life situations. Following are a few situations:

  • The back and forth repetitive movements of a swing in the park against the restoring force is an example of simple harmonic motion.
  • The car shock absorbers attached to the wheels employ the principle of simple harmonic motion to ensure a safe ride to the passengers. When a car hits a bumpy road, the springs or shockers act as a shock absorber. The restoring force on the spring will push the car back into place
  • The back and forth movement of a cradle is caused due to a single push and is maintained by the principle of SHM.


Rotational Motion

Rotational motion of a rigid body around a fixed axis is a type of motion in which all the particles constituting the body undergoes circular motion about a common axis. Rotational motion of a rigid body around a fixed axis is a special case of rotational motion. During rotational motion, there is also a possibility of the axis changing its orientation. A few examples of rotational motion in our daily life are:

  • The rotation of Earth about its axis creates the cycle of day and night
  • Motion of wheels, gears and motors are examples of rotational motion
  • A door swivelling on its hinges on opening and closing it is an example of rotational motion
  • A spinning top and a Ferris wheel in an amusement park is an example of rotational motion.

Sense of Seeing

We see the wonders of the world through our eyes.  When we talk about body parts and their function , it is understood that we are talking about Biology. But, we neglect the fact that functions of body parts also work under the laws of Physics and Chemistry.  When we talk about our sense of vision, we come to realize that eyes work as a camera to see things around us.  The lens in our eyes is a convex lens.  When light enters our eyes, the cornea and lens focus the light. Iris of the eye creates an image on the retina, which is real and inverted. The image of light is converted into electrical signals and sent to the vision centre of the brain by the optic nerve. The vision centre analyses the electric signal received and arranges it into its original form to be seen by the eye.

Learning Physics is more than the study of black holes and stars in space, it is the study of interactions between matter and energy. From volcanoes to the ocean’s waves, understanding each of them requires the study of physics. Subscribe to BYJU’S and learn various Physics concepts with the help of interactive video lessons!