5 Amazing Inventions By Physicists We Use Every Day

5 science inventions we use in daily life, examples of physics in every day life

Did you know that one of the first video games was invented by a physicist? Why do you have to put your bags through a machine when you enter airport? In this post, we will look at five simple or somewhat complicated inventions by physicists that are used in daily life.

Although, from Wi-Fi to smart TV - physics is everywhere around us in the form of modern technology. The following are inventions we rarely talk about, or are thankful for, despite making use of them on regular basis.

1. Lever

Archimedes said, “Give me a firm place to stand and a lever and I can move the Earth." That was never tested but a lever is put to use in many forms today: Stapler, a pair of scissors and seesaw. There are different classes of levers:

a) Class I lever is when fulcrum is between load and effort. Example: Seesaw.
b) Class II lever is when load is between fulcrum and effort. Example: Door.
c) Class III lever is when effort is between fulcrum and load. Example: Stapler.

2. Video games

Physics has had an important impact in the early development of video games. In 1958, physicist William Higinbotham created what is thought to be the first video game. It was called Tennis For Two, a very simple game that shaped the history of computer games.

3. Electric generator

Physicist Michael Faraday invented the first electric motor in 1821. Shortly after, Faraday invented the electric generator, based on electromagnetic induction discovered by him. This is used to generate electrical power - which in turn is used to run electrical appliances.

When Faraday first presented induction, he was asked by some politician or reporter: What use is it in the practical world? To this Faraday replied, What use is a newborn baby?

4. Battery

While Faraday invented a way to generate electrical power by fluctuating magnetic fields, another physicist Alessandro Volta had invented a way to store electrical power in 1800. In honor of Volta, the SI unit of electric potential is called Volt. Today, almost all the toys that children play with use batteries.

5. X-ray

Some say that Nikola Tesla discovered x-rays by accident. Others credit Wilhelm Roentgen for inventing a way to generate x-rays in 1895. Whatever the case may be, did you know that x-rays are not only used in healthcare but also in the security industry? Every time your luggage passes through a security machine, an officer can see what is inside your bags.

Who Was Nobel Laureate Irène Joliot-Curie?

irene curie - daughter of marie curie winner of nobel prize chemistry

"One must work seriously, be independent and not spend life just having fun; that is what our mother - Marie Curie - always told us, but never that science was the only career worth pursuing."

Irène Joliot-Curie [1897-1956] was a French chemist and physicist. She was the elder daughter of Pierre Curie and Marie Curie, and a Nobel laureate, like her parents - continuing the Curie legacy.

Early life

Irene and her younger sister Eve lost their father Pierre Curie early on in 1906, when he had a tragic accident. Madame Curie was left alone to raise the two daughters.

marie curie with daughters irene and eve
Madame Curie with daughters Irene and Eve

Irène was great when it came to science and mathematics, her mother chose to focus on home schooling instead of the more conventional public school route.

Marie formed a local entity called "The Cooperative" with other distinguished French scholars, in which nine students that were children of the most eminent personalities of France took admission. Irene was part of that club.

Children were encouraged to learn not only the sciences but also engage in cultural experiences, play music, study foreign languages, etc.

While a teenager, Irene joined her mother in laboratory as an assistant. Curie taught her daughter - "Life is not easy for any of us. So what of it? One must have confidence and believe that they are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.


Jean Frédéric Joliot was a French chemical engineer who wanted to work with Madame Curie, winner of two Nobel Prizes. He became an assistant to Marie Curie at the Radium Institute. Joliot fell in love with Irène, and soon after their marriage in 1926 - they both changed their surnames to Joliot-Curie.

Work as a couple

Similar to Pierre and Marie Curie, daughter Irene worked alongside husband Jean, in the laboratory. In 1933, the couple became the first to calculate the accurate mass of the neutron, which was discovered in 1932.

It is an alchemist's dream to turn one element into another. In 1934 Joliot-Curies used their knowledge of chemistry and realized that dream. They created radioactive nitrogen from boron, radioactive isotopes of phosphorus from aluminum, and silicon from magnesium.

By then, radioactive materials were used in medicine - it was a growing industry. Their techniques allowed radioactive elements to be created quickly, cheaply, and in abundance. Today these materials are even used in the treatment of cancer.

For their pioneering work, Joliot-Curies won the Nobel Prize in 1935, as a couple, replicating the success of Pierre and Marie Curie three decades prior to this. This added to the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes.


Much like her mother, Irene died of over exposure to radioactive materials. She was diagnosed with leukemia in 1946 as she had been accidentally exposed to polonium in 1946. Irene died in 1956 aged 58.

As Irene was an atheist, her family asked not to conduct a religious ceremony for her death. Her children, daughter Helene and son Pierre, went on to become notable scientists - physicist and biochemist respectively.

5 Biopics Like Oppenheimer Everyone Should Watch

5 biopics on scientists physicists movies that are like oppenheimer

Did you enjoy the performances by Cillian Murphy and Benny Safdie as Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, respectively? The depiction by Christopher Nolan has won praises from audiences and critics alike.

If you liked Oppenheimer, the following are five other biopics on scientists that you might like:

1. Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything is set at the University of Cambridge, as it shows the life of the English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who is well known for his work on black holes.

The movie also details the romantic life of Hawking with Jane Hawking, who was married to the scientist for 30 years. More than astrophysics, this film is about hope, positivity and love.

2. Infinity (1996)

Infinity is a biographical drama film about physicist Richard Feynman. You must remember Feynman from Oppenheimer, played by Jack Quaid. In this movie, Feynman was played by Matthew Broderick, who also directed and co-produced the film.

biopics on scientists movies like oppenheimer

Richard Feynman was a Nobel laureate who is widely known today as the physicist who played the Bongo. In Oppenheimer, as the Trinity Test succeeded in the morning, Feynman could be seen playing his favorite musical instrument.

3. Einstein and Eddington (2008)

This is a historical film that featured David Tennant - doctor who - as British scientist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, and Andy Serkis as Albert Einstein. It is the story of Einstein's general theory of relativity as it developed in the backdrop of world war.

4. Radioactive (2019)

Radioactive is a British biographical drama film starring Rosamund Pike as Marie Curie. Curie was not only an acclaimed chemist but also a physicist - who won Nobel Prizes in both the sciences. She is the only person to have that honor.

marie curie biopics like oppenheimer  movies like oppenheimer

Marie Curie was widely respected across the scientific community. Einstein considered Curie as his idol. Marie Curie is known for her discovery of elements like Radium and Polonium. This movie is a must watch who wants to learn more about her life struggles.

5. Tesla (2020)

What a brilliant performance this was by Ethan Hawke playing the role of Nikola Tesla - Serbian engineer and physicist. Anyone who wants to understand the genius and flaws of Tesla should definitely give this movie a watch.

If you are among the very few who don't know who Nikola Tesla is ... he is the inventor of such technologies like remote control and alternating current electrical system. This movie shows a different side to Tesla no one knows.

How Rutherford Became Father of Nuclear Physics

how rutherford became father of nuclear physics

"It is JUST AS surprising - as if a gunner fired a shell at a single sheet of paper and for some reason or other, the projectile BOUNCED BACK."

This is how New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford described the result of alpha particle scattering experiment - conducted by his students Geiger and Marsden.


Geiger and Marsden aimed high speed alpha particles at a very thin gold foil - it was only 1000 atoms thick. Around the gold foil was a zinc sulphide screen which glowed every time alpha particles would hit it.

If Thomson's plum pudding model of atom were correct, the fast moving and relatively heavier alpha particles would have passed straight thought the target, since electric field generated by evenly distributed charge is very minimal.

rutherford model of atom vs thomson model

But the experiment revealed that a few alpha particles were deflected by small angles, while 1 in 20,000 particles got deviated by angle greater than 90 degrees.

rutherford model of atom, gold foil alpha experiment

Rutherford set out to explain these unusual findings by creating a new model of atom, because Thomson's model had failed.

Early life and career 

Ernest Rutherford [1871-1937] was a multi-talented student who did phenomenally well in mathematics, catching everyone's attention at his school as a consequence.

He won the scholarship to study at Canterbury College, University of New Zealand, where he participated not only in the lab but also in the debating society.

Rutherford was the head boy in college and played the rugged sport of rugby. He completed three degrees in this college - ba, ma and bsc.

Thereafter, he travelled to England in order to study under the guidance of J. J. Thomson at the Cambridge University. Rutherford worked with cathode ray tubes under Thomson's mentorship. 

In 1899, he heard about Henri Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity and became interested in exploring alpha and beta decay. Rutherford was among the first to prove that alpha particles were Helium nuclei.

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting." Rutherford used to say, but ironically he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908 for his pioneering work with on the chemistry of radioactive substances.

Discovery of Nucleus 

As discussed earlier, alpha particle scattering experiment was conducted by Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden in the year 1909, by passing alpha particles through a thin gold foil.

Rutherford argued that since most of the particles passed straight through the gold foil, the atom must be made up of mostly empty space - not a positive soup as Thomson had thought.

In fact, the atom is about 100,000 times the diameter of the nucleus. It is like putting a grain of sand in the middle of a soccer ground!

Positive charge must be localized, Rutherford argued, in a very small point at the center of atom, which explained bouncing back in a small fraction of alpha particles, since positive positive repel.

Negative charges in the atom must be located somewhere on the outskirts ... which explained smaller deflections.

rutherford father of nuclear physics

Summing up

By creating a new improved model, Rutherford became the father of nuclear physics, as he initiated a whole new branch of physics. Scientists decided to probe further into the nucleus and many subatomic particles were discovered as a result.

Upon the discovery of atomic nucleus, Rutherford said: "I have broken the machine and touched the GHOST OF MATTER." But he regretted not being able to explain something deeper - "when we found the nucleus, we found the basis of everything, the greatest secret of all - except of life."

Is Oppenheimer Worth Watching If You Are Physics Student?

christopher nolan movie review oppenheimer cillian murphy

Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan is dedicated to one of the greatest scientists of all time, J. Robert Oppenheimer [1904-1967] American physicist who is more famous as the director of Los Alamos laboratory during the second world war.

Oppenheimer once said: "It is occasionally true that I need physics more than friends." and that is what summarizes his college life. He was not particularly a social person and found merry in his own company. Nolan has shown how Oppenheimer dreamt physics all day long - a thing that drove him nearly crazy.

Nolan cleverly communicated that Oppenheimer was a genius physicist and not just some guy who led the Manhattan Project. That he made significant contributions to astrophysics, molecule theory, quantum mechanics and collaborated with some of the best minds of that time.

The movie is not about the bomb either. As titled, it is the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer who became victim of the second red scare during the 1940s and 1950s. He emerged as a war hero after the war but his closeness with communists - his brother being a former communist - led to his image assassination.

Communist or commie is a cuss word in America. People in the United States were systemically taught to dislike communism - so much so - that they started hating the idea and perceived it as something evil. Nolan has beautifully captured this struggle of Oppenheimer's to prove his loyalty and that he was not spying for communists.

Is there science in Oppenheimer, the movie? Yes a little bit of it here and there. For example, the Germans used heavy water as moderator, a very scarce resource which delayed their nuclear weapons program, while the Americans used a readily available Graphite - giving them a lead.

That is about it, more or less.

robert oppenheimer with albert einstein oppenhimer movie by christopher nolan review

What about other greats like Einstein, Teller and Feynman? The first two scientists have played interesting, influential roles in the movie. However, Feynman was excluded except the part he started playing Bongo when the Trinity test was successful at 5.30 in the morning.

Who acted their part the best - was it Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer or Robert Downey Jr as Lewis Strauss? There is a third possibility here - Matt Damon as Leslie Groves was mighty impressive. His screen time was comparatively less but acting was overpowering and top notch.

Overall, Oppenheimer is worth a watch for knowing how a "humble" scientist gets trapped by vindictive politics of that era. How human relationships change over the course and how some of them stand the test of time. What it means to be a scientist - to explore all possibilities, to fight for truth and to never give up.

What does Chandrayaan-3's journey to the Moon look like?

chandrayaan 3 moon mission details

Chandrayaan-3 is the latest Moon mission by the Indian Space Research Organization - ISRO. The main objective of the project is to conduct a soft landing on the lunar surface, which is expected to happen after 40 days voyage.

Earlier in 2019, the lander of Chandrayaan-2 deviated from its original trajectory and suffered a hard landing on the Moon. The orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 is still circling the Moon and keeps sending important data.

The journey

Chandrayaan-3 was successfully launched from Srihari Kota on 14 July, 2023. The distance between Earth and Moon is nearly 384,000 kms which will be covered in 40 days. Choosing July for launch was deliberate as Earth and Moon are the closest this time of the year.

The propulsion module will carry the lander and rover set up to 100 km lunar orbit. Then, the lander and rover configuration will separate and aim for the Moon's surface. If soft landing is achieved, rover will enter the Moon.


The main objective is to demonstrate soft landing and loitering capabilities of the rover. The other objective is to study the lunar surface and compile data of its composition. The rover is designed to conduct experiments with soil to understand which mineral resources are available on the Moon.

Apart from that, the rover on Chandrayaan-3 will also seek the presence of water ice on the Moon. Earlier India's Chandrayaan-1 had discovered water molecules at the lunar poles. This time the aim is to further study the history and geology of Moon's surface.


The lander is box shaped with four standing legs. Inside the lander exist the rover and various instruments for experiment. Rover on Chandrayaan-3 is a small six wheeled vehicle that weighs 26 kg. The rover carries a drill, cameras and spectrometer.

lander and rover of chandrayaan 3

Summing up

The chandrayaan-3 mission is expected to complete a soft landing on the south pole region of the Moon. Doing so, it will put behind the failure of Chandrayaan-2 lander in 2019. The rover on Chandrayaan-3 will not only help in understanding lunar surface composition but also know the evolution of solar system as it studies craters at the south pole.
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