Top 10 Physics Discoveries that Changed the World

For hundreds of years, Physics has provided the foundational knowledge required to help us understand the environment around us. Furthermore, physics has been the basis of many technological advancements. If you are looking to get into a physics-based career, then you will need to get professional physics tuition services in Singapore.

Kungfu Physics is arguably the best physics tuition centre in Singapore offering tuition services to students in several academic levels including O-Levels, A-Levels, and IP Physics. Mr Gabriel Tan is the physics tutor at the tuition centre. He has helped thousands of students understand the underlying principles that have shaped modern living.

In this article, we look at the top 10 physics discoveries that have changed the world. We have scoured the internet to find the discoveries that happened over a century ago and those in recent times.

Archimedes Principle

Archimedes was a Greek physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and inventor. Although we do not know much about him, he is regarded as one of the leading physicists of all time. His most significant discovery, the Archimedes Principle, has helped us better understand fluid dynamics.

The principle states that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on an object immersed in a fluid, whether partially or fully submerged, is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. It allowed us to calculate the buoyancy of an object that is partially or fully submerged.

In its simplest form, the Archimedes Principle is represented by this formula:

Weight of displaced fluid = weight of the object in a vacuum – weight of the object in the fluid

The principle helped us understand how and why objects float. Archimedes’ 5th proposition best helps us understand the principle. He acclaimed Eureka when he realised that he could detect whether a crown is made of pure gold. He balanced pure gold and the crown on a scale in the air, then put the scale in water.

According to Archimedes’ Principle, if the density of the pure gold differs from the density of the crown, the scale would get out of balance when in water. The use of water displacement led to the discovery of the principle.

Today, the Archimedes principle is used in determining the relative density of a substance as well as in the design of submarines and ships. It is also used in determining the weight of hot air balloons by varying the quantity of the hot air in the balloon.


Inertia is a discovery made by Galileo Galilei, an Italian physicist, astronomer, and engineer, who is also regarded as the father of observational astronomy. Before the Renaissance, the world used Aristotle’s theory of motion, which stated that in the absence of external motive power, all objects on earth would come to rest, and moving objects will be in motion as long as there is a power acting on them.

Many philosophers disputed this theory of motion, and Galileo Galilei took the Copernican model and improved on the widely known theory of motion. He stated that an object moving on a level surface will continue moving in the same direction at a constant speed unless it is disturbed. Isaac Newton then advanced the principle of inertia as the first of his laws of motion, which states that every object stays in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is acted upon by an external force.

There are three types of inertia:

  • The inertia of motion – it is the inability of an object to change its state of rest without an external force
  • The inertia of rest – This is the inability of an object to change its states of motion by itself
  • The inertia of direction – it is defined as the inability of a physical object to change the direction of motion by itself

There are several applications of inertia in daily life, including:

  • The inertia of motion keeps satellites moving in a circular motion around planets
  • The inertia of rest applies when leaves and fruits fall from the tree. When the tree is shaken, the fruits and leaves remain in a state of rest, and they then fall
  • Long jump athletes bring themselves to a state of inertia of motion to propel themselves for a longer distance

Inertia is also the applicable principle that was used in the development of seat belts. They act as an external force that keeps your body in place when a car collides with a foreign object. In an accident, your upper body is thrown in a state of motion, and it tries to move forward due to the inertia of motion, but the seat belt cancels the force.

Pascal’s Principle

The principle is also known as the law or principle of transmission of fluid pressure. It states that a change in pressure at any point in a confined incompressible fluid is transmitted through the fluid such that the same change in pressure occurs in everywhere.

Pascal’s Principle has a variety of applications including:

  • Force amplification in braking systems in a majority of motor vehicles
  • Raising water in artisan wells, dams, and water towers
  • In scuba diving in the calculation of the atmospheric pressure underwater

Following the wide application of the principle, Blaise Pascal extended his work in the study of hydrostatistics and hydrodynamics. He went on to work on a variety of inventions, including the hydraulic press and the syringe, which are handy in modern healthcare.

Law of Gravitation

Isaac newton is probably one of the greatest physicists of all time. He is credited with a variety of physics discoveries such as his laws of gravity and motion among others.

Newton’s law of universal gravitational states that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with force, which is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centres and directly proportional to the product of their masses.

This principle marked the unification of other explanations of gravity on the earth. The best explanation of Newton’s law of gravity is that the Sun’s gravity keeps the earth in orbit around the Sun, which makes for the right conditions for the earth to support life.


The modern world is dependent on the great work done by Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. These two men devised generators that could generate electricity for commercial and residential use. However, Nikola Tesla’s work at improving Edison’s direct current generator led him to discover a way of generating and transmitting alternating current electricity.

Thanks to the Tesla coil, which was the basis of the modern high voltage transformer, which helped in the transmission of power over long distances. This is in comparison to Edison’s direct current where power transmission was costlier, and the current would drop after a short distance.

Today, hydroelectric power stations can generate power in high voltages, which can be transmitted over long distances. This helped spur the industrial revolution, and today, it is responsible for the world as we know it today.

Electricity helped bring innovations that used electromagnetic induction. For example, automotive manufacturers use machines with electromagnets to lift and heavy loads that could be impossible to move.


Before 1895, x-rays were a type of unidentified radiation generated by experimental discharge tubes. They were discovered by scientists investigating cathode rays. German physics professor Wilhelm Röntgen discovered them when experimenting with Crookes and Lenard tubes.

Wilhelm noticed a faint green glow from the screen and saw that the x-rays were passing through the cardboard to make the screen glow. Upon further investigation, he noticed that they could pass through the papers and books on his desk. He went on to discover their medical use when he took a picture of his wife’s hand on a photographic plate.

Due to the discovery, modern medicine has significantly benefited from radiology. John Hall-Edwards was the first physician to use x-rays in a surgical operation. With that said, how are they formed?

X-rays are generated by an x-ray tube, which is essentially a vacuum tube that uses a high voltage to accelerate the electrons released by a hot cathode at high speed. He electrons then collide with a metal target, the anode, which then produces the x-rays.


Many laws try to explain thermodynamics, but the second law best applies today. It states that the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time, and it remains constant in all the processes are reversible.

Thermodynamics eludes to the changes in temperature and understanding how it affects various states of matter has changed the world. For example, when it comes to architecture and construction, temperature plays a huge role in which materials are used and how they will be used to meet the goals of the building project.

The Big Bang

The are many origin stories as to how the earth came to be, but the most accurate one is the Big Bang theory. It is a cosmological model of the observable universe from the earliest known periods. Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer, first coined the theory.

The theories are based on the hypothesis that matter in the universe was created by one big bang in the past. While there are other origin stories of the universe and how life came to be, the Big Bang theory has proved to tell the best story.

With that said, the theory that was first coined in 1949, has been the basis of hundreds of studies by the brightest astronomers we know today. It has helped us understand the galaxy and the universe as well as the origin of life on earth.

General Relativity

General relativity is also known as the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist of our time. It refines Newton’s law of universal gravitation and generalises special relativity. The result is a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time.

Einstein determined that the curvature of space-time is directly proportional to the energy and momentum of matter and radiation present. General relativity can be used to predict everything right from the existence of black holes, to light bending due to gravity, and more.

Unlike other laws and theories, general relativity does not have any invariant geometric background structures. For this reason, the laws of physics are the same for all observers.

Higgs Boson

The standard model of particle physics is not yet complete, and scientists have been looking for the existence of a particle that would complete the Standard Model was only theorised, and never observed.

However, Fabiola Gianotti announced the results of research that had taken several decades to carry out using the largest particle accelerator. The results showed direct observational evidence of the existence of Higgs Boson.

This is a subatomic particle that is responsible for giving mass to any fundamental particles. Its existence explains the why weak nuclear force does not spread over a large area much like how electromagnetism does. Higgs Boson was discovered in 2012, and it has gone down as one of the most significant breakthroughs in physics of the 21st century.

Kungfu Physics

Most students think that there are no physics discoveries to be made today. However, there is much that we need to do to make work easier and to improve the quality of life. This means that you start applying various physics principles that you learn at school or tuition centre in Singapore.

Unfortunately, not all physics tuition centres in Singapore are equal. You will need to find one that suits your needs and budget. Here are reasons why you should consider Kungfu Physics for physics tuition services in Singapore:

Holistic Physics tuition Services

At Kungfu Physics, we have a track record of offering the best physics tuition services in Singapore. We ensure that each student that walks into our tuition centres improves their grades. This is all possible thanks to Mr Tan, who is our sole physics tutor. This way, you can be assured that you will not be subjected to the varying quality of tuition.


Mr Tan has been a physics tutor and teacher for ten years. He has taught at various institutions including several MOE schools. He has also been the head of department at Catholic High Secondary school and an assistant head of department and lecturer at Raffles JC. This means that he has experience teaching O-levels physics, IP physics, and A-levels physics.


Physics has been instrumental in discovering ways that we can make life easier. It also helps us understand how the environment around us works. Above are the top ten physics discoveries that have changed the world.

If you have a desire to improve the quality of life, you will need to understand physics and how the various principles affect everyday life. Contact Kungfu Physics today, and enquire about class schedules, tuition fees and our physics tuition services in Singapore.