Physics is a fundamental science that endeavours to explain all the natural phenomena that occur in the universe. Its power lies in the use of a comparatively small number of assumptions, models, laws and theories to explain a wide range of phenomena, from the incredibly small to the incredibly large. Physics has helped to unlock the mysteries of the universe and provides the foundation of understanding upon which modern technologies and all other sciences are based.
The Physics ATAR course uses qualitative and quantitative models and theories based on physical laws to visualise, explain and predict physical phenomena. Models, laws and theories are developed from, and their predictions are tested by, making observations and quantitative measurements. In this course, students gather, analyse and interpret primary and secondary data to investigate a range of phenomena and technologies using some of the most important models, laws and theories of physics, including the kinetic particle model, the atomic model, electromagnetic theory, and the laws of classical mechanics.
Students investigate how the unifying concept of energy explains diverse phenomena and provides a powerful tool for analysing how systems interact throughout the universe on multiple scales. Students learn how more sophisticated theories, including quantum theory, the theory of relativity and the Standard Model, are needed to explain more complex phenomena, and how new observations can lead to models and theories being refined and developed.
Students learn how an understanding of physics is central to the identification of, and solutions to, some of the key issues facing an increasingly globalised society. They consider how physics contributes to diverse areas in contemporary life, such as engineering, renewable energy generation, communication, development of new materials, transport and vehicle safety, medical science, an understanding of climate change, and the exploration of the universe.
Studying senior secondary science provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. Studying physics will enable students to become citizens who are better informed about the world around them and who have the critical skills to evaluate and make evidence-based decisions about current scientific issues. The Physics ATAR course will also provide a foundation in physics knowledge, understanding and skills for those students who wish to pursue tertiary study in science, engineering, medicine and technology
Physics – Year 11
Students should have achieved at least a 60% average in Physics by the end of their Year 10 Science course. Students should also be competent in Science Investigation Skills.
Unit 1 Thermal, Nuclear and Electrical Physics
Students investigate energy production by considering heating processes, radioactivity and nuclear reactions, and investigate energy transfer and transformation in electrical circuits.
Unit 2 Linear Motion and Waves
Students describe, explain and predict linear motion, and investigate the application of wave models to sound phenomena.
Physics – Year 12
Students intending to do Physics in year 12 must have attained at least a C grade in year 11.
Unit 3 Gravity and Electromagnetism
Students investigate models of motion in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields to explain how forces act at a distance.
Unit 4 Revolutions in Modern Physics
Students use the theory of electromagnetism to explain the production and propagation of electromagnetic waves and investigate how shortcomings in existing theories led to the development of the quantum theory of light and matter, the Special Theory of Relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics.