Physical Law

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Introduction1

Explore physical laws, principles and effects (Wolfram Alpha)

Dictionary

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

Encyclopedia

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

Encyclopædia Britannica

List of scientific laws named after people (Wikipedia)

Portal

Physics Fundamentals (Martindale’s Reference Desk)

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More News …

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.

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Related

Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Realm

Physical

“Fundamentals”
Law (Constant) Relativity
Force Gravity, Electromagnetism (Light, Color)
Matter (Microscope) Molecule, Atom (Periodic Table), Particle

“Space”
Universe (Astronomical Instrument)
Galaxy Milky Way, Andromeda
Planetary System Star, Brown Dwarf, Planet, Moon

Our Neighborhood
Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Trans-Neptunian Object
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid

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Notes

1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.