Physics is a natural science based on experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis with the purpose of finding quantitative physical laws for everything from the nanoworld of the microcosmos to the planets, solar systems and galaxies that occupy the macrocosmos. 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.
Year 11 ATAR Course
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. In this unit, students explore the ways physics is used to describe, explain and predict the energy transfers and transformations that are pivotal to modern industrial societies. Students investigate heating processes, apply the nuclear model of the atom to investigate radioactivity, and learn how nuclear reactions convert mass into energy. They examine the movement of electrical charge in circuits and use this to analyse, explain and predict electrical phenomena.
Unit 2 - Linear Motion and Waves
Students describe, explain and predict linear motion, and investigate the application of wave models to sound phenomena. In this unit, students develop an understanding of motion and waves which can be used to describe, explain and predict a wide range of phenomena. Students describe linear motion in terms of position and time data, and examine the relationships between force, momentum and energy for interactions in one dimension. Students investigate common wave phenomena, including waves on springs, and water, sound and earthquake waves.
Year 12 ATAR Course
Unit 3 - Gravity and Electromagnetism
Students investigate models of motion in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields to explain how forces act at a distance. In this unit, students develop a deeper understanding of motion and its causes by using Newton’s Laws of Motion and the gravitational field model to analyse motion on inclined planes, the motion of projectiles, and satellite motion. They investigate electromagnetic interactions and apply this knowledge to understand the operation of electric motors, direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) generators, transformers, and AC power distribution systems. Students also investigate the production of electromagnetic waves.
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. In this unit, students examine observations of relative motion, light and matter that could not be explained by existing theories, and investigate how the shortcomings of existing theories led to the development of the special theory of relativity and the quantum theory of light and matter. Students evaluate the contribution of the quantum theory of light to the development of the quantum theory of the atom, and examine the Standard Model of particle physics and the Big Bang theory.