Physical law

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A physical law, scientific law, or a law of nature is a scientific generalization based on [[::empirical|empirical]] observations of physical behavior. Empirical laws are typically conclusions based on repeated scientific experiments over many years, and which have become accepted universally within the scientific community. The production of a summary description of nature in the form of such laws is a fundamental aim of science.

Laws of nature are distinct from the law, either [[Religionor civil, and should not be confused with the concept of natural law. Nor should 'physical law' be confused with 'law of physics' - the term 'physical law' usually covers laws in other sciences (e.g. biology) as well.

Origin of laws of nature[change | change source]

Some extremely important laws are simply definitions. For example, the central law of mechanics F = dp/dt (Newton's second "law" of mechanics) is often treated as a mathematical definition of force. Although the concept of force predates Newton's law,[1] there was no mathematical definition of force before Newton. The principle of least action (or principle of stationary action), Schroedinger equation, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, causality and a few other laws also fall into this category (of mathematical definitions).

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References[change | change source]

  1. E.g. in the science of statics, as propounded by Galileo and his predecessors.

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