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What is physics?

Well, that's a tricky question and can be answered in various ways. One is that it's the primary science that underlies all other sciences, the rootstock so to speak with the rest of science being the scion. It speaks to us in the language of mathematics, but math isn't science. It's logic, and it tells us that above all, physics is logical, which reflects as a fact that the universe is also logical. No unicorns or witches on broomsticks. One must be aware though that maths can take one into perfectly logical places that are quite beautiful but have no reality, so before a mathematical model can be elevated to physical fact, the model has to pass the acid test of empiricism, that is, designed experiment and/or fortuitous observation. Math alone doesn't cut it, but every reality has a mathematical model waiting in the wings.

Physics itself stands on a basis that all that exists in the physical universe is in some way in motion, and this gives us a starting point. So we might say it's the study of objects in motion and their consequences. Motion of course implies "displacement", or a change of position in "space" - what we might call an "elemental" (my idea) - at some "rate", which behooves us to recognise another elemental we call "time", but let's be careful out there.

Space is "real", and reality itself needs definition. The best that I've seen is that cobbled together by Robert Dicke, called his Rules of Reality. These are:

1/ To be real, an entity must be separable from another entity. (This means a one body universe is meaningless)

2/ The entities must communicate in some way (any way will do, a force field, gravity, electric charge, "bump"...)

3/ The entities must both agree that the other exists ("agree" here means 1 = true, 0 = false to the basic proposition, "the other exists")

4/ Induction is a universal principle (allows the two body existence above to extend to three, then four then...ad infinitum)