My mother is an AP Physics teacher back home at my high school. She was never very pushy about us in school, other than to do our best at everything, because she understood not everyone was good at everything. She made us take all the basic classes so we would be well rounded and have a good understanding of what we would need to be knowledgable for in college. I remember looking at her and saying, “Physics isn’t important. I am not going to need physics to be a biology major. No way.” I also remember her looking straight at me laughing and telling me how wrong I was; well turns out, mothers do know best!
The quote by P.W. Bridgman, “The laws of thermodynamics smell of their human origin,” has a lot to say for the importance of physics, every bit that has to contradict with my original thought process of physics not being important in my major that has to deal with the focus on the study of living things. The first law of thermodynamics brings about the idea that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If we think of this in terms of life, things are constantly in a swing of motion. This has more to do with biology than I ever thought possible. When someone or something dies, they don’t just vanish, they are buried. When they are buried, they still don’t just sit in the ground, perfectly preserved forever, they decompose and become part of the material that surrounds them, which so happens to be the earth, which then moves into the crops the earth produces, which are then consumed by the organisms we, as humans, consume all the way right back around until we die and then repeat this never-ending cycle. This concept shows that the idea of the conservation of energy, the laws of thermodynamics, and all things relate right back to each other. There is no creation of destruction of energy or life, it’s all one big cycle. Just as Mufasa would say, “We are all connected in the great circle of life.”
From Walt Disney’s The Lion King, Mufasa sits with Simba to explain to him Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics… I mean, the circle of life.