Rights: The University of Waikato Published 29 July 2008 Download

Dr Richard McKenzie, Senior Research Scientist at NIWA, Lauder, explains what an exciting subject physics is.


Physics is the understanding of things, and you find out why it is that radios work and propagate around the world, and what makes a compass work, and why is the sky blue, all those sorts of things that it’s just part of understanding the world around you, and I feel very fortunate that I have had that sort of education that lets me understand some of those sorts of things. Although I'm not a mechanic, my physics background makes me at least understand how a car works, the internal combustion engine. I can't fix it, that's for sure, but you know what is going on – pumps and refrigerators, it’s a very useful background thing. I mean, the reason I did physics was really for completely the wrong reasons – it was a toss up between chemistry and physics, and I thought, oh, physics has got more prestige than chemistry, I'll do physics. But I'm really glad I did physics. It’s a very exciting subject. You're never going to be at the end of it, you're learning all the time.