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Introduction to Physics


This material can be used as the basis of a first lesson to Year 11:

1.  Write down three things you know about physics or about what physicists do.

2.  Name three famous physicists (and say what they did).

3.  Is physics the same as maths?  What’s the relationship?


To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

from William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence”

Picture Above: A beautiful frangipani flower in my garden at home.

"Science asks the why and how questions and therefore is the process of questioning, not the acquisition of information.  We must always begin by asking questions, not by giving answers.  We must create interest in things, phenomena and processes."

from Victor F. Weisskopf "The Privilege of Being a Physicist", W.H. Freeman & Co., New York, 1989.

Picture Above: The Globular Cluster called Omega Centauri

Physicists look at our universe with open minds and hearts and strive to describe and understand the intricate interrelationships that exist therein.

Picture Above: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon July 1969 (I watched the Moon walk on a black and white TV as a Year 4 student at East Maitland Primary School).


The realm of physics is endless!

From the very big:

  • energy production in stars

  • galaxy formation

  • theories of how the universe began

To the very small:

  • studies of surface structure and nano-technology

  • interactions of atomic, sub-atomic, sub-nuclear particles

  • basic theories of matter (QED, QCD, GUTs)



PURPOSE - pure knowledge & better standards of life for all - both of which can bring humanity closer to GOD.



QUESTION - always be curious, imaginative, creative

PONDER - think logically, think laterally, make predictions

INVESTIGATE - observe, measure, test, record

SYNTHESIZE - develop theories that accurately reflect reality

STRIVE - do your best, be positive, never give up


Physics uses mathematics to express and describe the relationships between the various aspects of the universe that come under its scrutiny.


But always remember, Albert Einstein once said that:

“So far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain.  And so far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”

When you use maths to describe or solve a problem in the real world always ask does my description or solution make good physical sense?


In Year 11 you will study the following topics:

  • Module 1:  Kinematics

  • Module 2: Dynamics
  • Module 3: Waves and Thermodynamics
  • Module 4: Electricity and Magnetism

In Year 12 you will study the following topics:

  • Module 5: Advanced Mechanics

  • Module 6: Electromagnetism

  • Module 7: The Nature of Light

  • Module 8: From the Universe to the Atom


Throughout the course you are expected to do all set homework and Assessment Tasks.  Laboratory Reports must be completed and submitted on time.  Answering practice questions & solving problems which get you to apply the theory is the best way to study physics.  Use the Syllabus as your guide to what you need to know.  Ask your Teacher how to do this.

A good set of notes is essential.  You will certainly find these on this website.  You are best to create your own summary notes for each Module from these and from the notes provided by your teacher.

Use a loose-leaf folder system for notes and lab reports.

Keep all work up to date, revise what you do in class on a regular basis and ASK your Teacher for help if you are having difficulty!!!

Your Teacher will inform you which text book to obtain.

Finally, remember that all senior science courses are more challenging than junior science courses because of the level of complexity of the material being studied.  Achieving good marks takes a great deal of determination, practice and stamina.


Best wishes for your success.

Mr R Emery


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