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Physical is the Discipline group centered around the ability to manipulate the nature and properties of matter and energy. The many disciplines that branch from this group allow Magicians to manipulate heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, gravity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.
This group is the area of magic that focuses on matter and energy. Physical magic is described as gruesome and disgusting by Eliot and Janet when Quentin and Alice are able to get inside the Cottage.
At Brakebills, students of this group are dubbed Physical Kids. They are statistically the rarest of all of the groups, and therefore are typically very snobby about it. Due to the small amount of Physical students in the series, Quentin gets placed with them for the remainder of his time at Brakebills, but it is later revealed that his discipline is a more obscure branch of Physical Magic.
A Victorian-era country house, referred to as the Cottage, is the official housing facility for the Physical Kids. It is located towards the outer rim of The Sea, set behind a small band of trees. The Cottage is the closest Discipline house to the Welters field.
- Phosphoromancy: The art of manipulating light. It's said to be a very clean and technical discipline, as Alice stated. This form of magic can be used to refract light to render an area invisible, redirect and focus it to burn objects and to freeze single photons in mid-air.
- Repair of Small Objects: This is Quentin's discipline in the series, as well as a subject he teaches during his time as a Professor at Brakebills.
- Cold Magic: Ice and cold related magical proficiency. This is Janet's discipline. It allowed her to make animated swans of ice during a party, as well as utilize Sorrow & Sorrow, her twin magical staves.
- Mixology [TV]: The study or skill of preparing mixed drinks and magical brews. Attributed as an informal discipline, mixology takes prominence in the Physical cluster of disciplines. Physical Kids are renowned for their parties, with Eliot being known around campus for his signature cocktails. Notably, this was used in a combined effort of Margo and Eliot to summon a Djinn.
- "You can bend physics to your will, and possess great fortitude of mind, magic, and liver. Contrary to popular belief, mixology is not a formal part of this Discipline."
- "Kinetics: he was good with them. He was a Physical Kid. Whispering fast, reaching back to a Brakebills seminar he hadn't thought about in, what, five years, he held out both hands, palms up, and waved them towards the soldier as if he were shooing away a flock of pigeons"
- —Quentin explaining his ease with Telekenisis[src]