Physical Law

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Explore physical laws, principles and effects (Wolfram Alpha)

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Physical Laws (Constants) Relativity
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Physics Fundamentals (Martindale’s Reference Desk)

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A Dictionary of Named Effects and Laws in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics (D. W. Ballentyne & D. R. Lovett)

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Scientific laws are statements that describe or predict a range of natural phenomena. Each scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspect of the Universe. The term law has diverse usage in many cases (approximate, accurate, broad, or narrow theories) across all fields of natural science (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, etc.). Scientific laws summarize and explain a large collection of facts determined by experiment, and are tested based on their ability to predict the results of future experiments. They are developed either from facts or through mathematics, and are strongly supported by empirical evidence. It is generally understood that they reflect causal relationships fundamental to reality, and are discovered rather than invented.

Laws reflect scientific knowledge that experiments have repeatedly verified (and never falsified). Their accuracy does not change when new theories are worked out, but rather the scope of application, since the equation (if any) representing the law does not change. As with other scientific knowledge, they do not have absolute certainty (as mathematical theorems or identities do), and it is always possible for a law to be overturned by future observations. A law can usually be formulated as one or several statements or equations, so that it can be used to predict the outcome of an experiment, given the circumstances of the processes taking place.

Laws differ from hypotheses and postulates, which are proposed during the scientific process before and during validation by experiment and observation. Hypotheses and postulates are not laws since they have not been verified to the same degree and may not be sufficiently general, although they may lead to the formulation of laws. A law is a more solidified and formal statement, distilled from repeated experiment. Laws are narrower in scope than scientific theories, which may contain one or several laws. Science distinguishes a law or theory from facts. Calling a law a fact is ambiguous, an overstatement, or an equivocation. Although the nature of a scientific law is a question in philosophy and although scientific laws describe nature mathematically, scientific laws are practical conclusions reached by the scientific method; they are intended to be neither laden with ontological commitments nor statements of logical absolutes.

According to the unity of science thesis, all scientific laws follow fundamentally from physics. Laws which occur in other sciences ultimately follow from physical laws. Often, from mathematically fundamental viewpoints, universal constants emerge from a scientific law. — Wikipedia

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List of scientific laws named after people (Wikipedia)

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Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Researchers analyze circulating currents inside...
    on April 30, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    According to classical electromagnetism, a charged particle moving in an external magnetic field experiences a force that makes the particle's path circular. This basic law of physics are exploited in designing cyclotrons that work as particle accelerators. When nanometer-size metal particles are placed in a magnetic field, the field induces a circulating electron current inside the particle. The circulating current in turn creates an internal magnetic field that opposes the external field. […]

  • New law of physics helps humans and robots grasp...
    on April 29, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Although robotic devices are used in everything from assembly lines to medicine, engineers have a hard time accounting for the friction that occurs when those robots grip objects—particularly in wet environments. Researchers have now discovered a new law of physics that accounts for this type of friction, which should advance a wide range of robotic technologies.

  • Fermi satellite data puts new constraints on the...
    on April 29, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    What if some of the antimatter that was thought to have disappeared was hiding in the form of anti-stars? Researchers from the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP—CNRS/CNES/UT3 Paul Sabatier) are using the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope to put the most constraining limits ever on this hypothesis. The results of their work were published on April 20, 2021 in Physical Review D.

  • Steering light to places it isn't supposed to go
    on April 28, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Light that is sent into a photonic crystal can't go deeper than the so-called Bragg length. Deeper inside the crystal, light of a certain color range can simply not exist. Still, researchers of the University of Twente, the University of Iowa and the University of Copenhagen managed to break this law: They steered light into a crystal using a programmed pattern, and demonstrated that it will reach places far beyond the Bragg length. They publish their findings in Physical Review Letters.

  • Helping symmetric quantum systems survive in an...
    on April 28, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Symmetry principles of classical physics that help keep our solar system stable have an intriguing counterpart in the quantum world, according to new research by a team of physicists from Australia, Italy and Japan.