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conservation laws

Introduction

conservation laws, in physics, basic laws that together determine which processes can or cannot occur in nature; each law maintains that the total value of the quantity governed by that law, e.g., mass or energy, remains unchanged during physical processes. Conservation laws have the broadest possible application of all laws in physics and are thus considered by many scientists to be the most fundamental laws in nature.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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