Astrophysics (index)

Conservation Law

(property that remains unchanged by physical phenomena)

Physics has uncovered a number of types of quantities that remain unchanged through physical actions, and the term Conservation Law indicates the unchanging nature of these values. These constants (i.e., laws) are often used in analyzing or predicting the results of physical events, serving as hints toward what must be happening. They are commonly used in Dynamics (e.g., orbits, the motions within galaxies, clouds, etc.) and in Quantum Mechanics which has a number.

Some relations that are not absolutely universal can still be treated as conservation laws for many purposes: for example, for many purposes, mass and energy can each be treated as constant, but in other cases, they must be treated as interchangeable, i.e., under a single conservation law.

Conserved quantities include momentum, angular momentum, energy, electric charge, and several other quantum numbers.