Humans readily function within the narrow atmospheric envelope present at the earth's surface and are seldom concerned with survival requirements. Outside the boundaries of the envelope, the environment is hostile and our existence depends on our ability to counteract threatening forces. To function safely, divers must understand the characteristics of the subsea environment and the techniques that can be used to modify its effects. To accomplish this, a diver must have a basic knowledge of physics—the science of matter and energy. Of particular importance to a diver are the behavior of gases, the principles of buoyancy, and the properties of heat, light, and sound.

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