Though physics deals with a wide variety of systems, certain theories are used by all physicists. Each of these theories were experimentally tested numerous times and found to be an adequate approximation of nature. For instance, the theory of classical mechanics accurately describes the motion of objects, provided they are much larger than atoms and moving at much less than the speed of light . These theories continue to be areas of active research today. Chaos theory , a remarkable aspect of classical mechanics was discovered in the 20th century, three centuries after the original formulation of classical mechanics by Isaac Newton (1642–1727).

The uncertainty principle has been frequently confused with the observer effect, evidently even by its originator, Werner Heisenberg . [17] The uncertainty principle in its standard form describes how precisely we may measure the position and momentum of a particle at the same time — if we increase the precision in measuring one quantity, we are forced to lose precision in measuring the other. [18] An alternative version of the uncertainty principle, [19] more in the spirit of an observer effect, [20] fully accounts for the disturbance the observer has on a system and the error incurred, although this is not how the term "uncertainty principle" is most commonly used in practice.

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