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Physics LibreTexts

1: The Nature of Science and Physics

In this text, you will begin to explore the history of the formal study of physics, beginning with natural philosophy and the ancient Greeks, and leading up through a review of Sir Isaac Newton and the laws of physics that bear his name. You will also be introduced to the standards scientists use when they study physical quantities and the interrelated system of measurements most of the scientific community uses to communicate in a single mathematical language. 

Thumbnail: This parabola-shaped lava flow illustrates the application of mathematics in physics—in this case, Galileo's law of falling bodies. Image used with permission (Jim D. Griggs, HVO (USGS) staff photographer @


  • Paul Peter Urone (Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento) and Roger Hinrichs (State University of New York, College at Oswego) with Contributing Authors: Kim Dirks (University of Auckland) and Manjula Sharma (University of Sydney). This work is licensed by OpenStax University Physics under a Creative Commons Attribution License (by 4.0).