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.
Physics 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 subject, 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 subject 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 aims to develop students’:
- appreciation of the wonder of physics and the significant contribution physics has made to contemporary society
- understanding that diverse natural phenomena may be explained, analysed and predicted using concepts, models and theories that provide a reliable basis for action
- understanding of the ways in which matter and energy interact in physical systems across a range of scales
- understanding of the ways in which models and theories are refined and new models and theories are developed in physics; and how physics knowledge is used in a wide range of contexts and informs personal, local and global issues
- investigative skills, including the design and conduct of investigations to explore phenomena and solve problems, the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and the interpretation of evidence
- ability to use accurate and precise measurement, valid and reliable evidence, and scepticism and intellectual rigour to evaluate claims
- ability to communicate physics understanding, findings, arguments and conclusions using appropriate representations, modes and genres.