In the past few decades the humanity in the name of its so called success exploited the Earth’s natural resources. The process of Industrial development also visualized the development of ozone hole, global warming, acid rain along with the development of severe health problems caused by environmental pollution in all the geospheres i.e. atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere which have attracted world-wide attention from scientists, environmental activists, social and political commentators. Discussion and Debates have taken place, among all the communities, about what actions should be taken to lessen such impacts. Although a number of problems in environmental science deal with geology, chemistry, biology and social issues, physical aspects and the applications of physics are also very important. To understand and evaluate the possible threats to the Earth caused by the exploitation of its natural resources with the development of industrialization, a new branch of science, Environmental physics, which is dedicated to study of ‘Environmental Issues’ need to be studied and understood at all the scales i.e. local, regional, national and global.
Environmental physics is an interdisciplinary science that integrates the physics of atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. It incorporates development of electromagnetic sensors, interaction of sunlight with airborne particulates and gaseous oxides, energy conservation issues, disposal/storage of radioactive wastes, development of "green" technology (i.e. environmentally sound, economically viable and socially acceptable) which incorporates interesting and challenging physics which is needed to be understood for sustainable development.
However, it is important to appreciate that the principles and laws of physics which includes Planck’s law, Kirchhoff’s law of thermal radiation, Wien’s and Stefan-Boltzmann radiation laws, Laws of thermodynamics, Principles of entropy, enthalpy, Gibbs free energy, conduction, convection, radiation and evaporation, are in evidence in different regimes of environments and govern how all species live on the Earth. Thus for life to be sustained we should not only be concerned with the chemistry and biology of metabolic reactions, but also with the physics of earth system processes for which there is need to study this branch of science.
PhD (JNU, New Delhi)