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Physics is all about:
Physics tries to explain how nature behaves. It aims to ask
every question that can be asked about how absolutely
everything works, and then search for the answer to these
questions. There seems to be no limit to physics: it seeks to
explain energy and matter and how these things work together.
It looks at the unimaginable big universe and the
tiniest particles in an atom. There are many more mysteries
left to be discovered and explained. This is what makes Physics
Physics is absolutely vital for anyone interested in careers in
engineering and the physical
sciences, architecture, and
atmospheric science/weather forecasting or
aviation. It is required background for
Medicine/Physiotherapy and especially
important if you are considering careers in Radiation
Neurology or Nuclear
Level 2 (Year 12) Course:
This course forms the foundation for any future study in
Physics. It relates aspects of Motion, Electricity,
Magnetism, Radioactivity, Light and Sound to everyday
experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Studying
and practically analysing Physics in real life situation is
the focus of this course and we will discuss many different
ideas, big and small, such as:
- Does New Zealand face a looming electricity crisis? What
types of electricity generation should New Zealand invest in
for the future?
- How much electricity am I using every day and how can I
- Why is Usain Bolt so fast compared to other runners?
Would a change in throwing force or angle make a bigger
difference to the range of a shot put?
- How much force is the biceps producing when holding a
- What is light? Why do most microwave ovens have a
- Why is the shape of an auditorium so important for the
sound quality experienced by a member of the audience? How
can speaker designs be improved?
- Is nuclear radiation always bad? Is it safe to have
radioactive smoke detectors in my house?
- How can we design better houses and cars to keep people
Level 3 (Year 13) Course:
This course continues with the concepts introduced at Level 2
and forms the basis for any future study at tertiary level. We
will cover more advanced concepts in Motion, Electricity and
Electromagnetism, Light and Modern Physics and will develop a
more thorough understanding of uncertainty in our practical
measurements. As last year, the course will be taught in
context, that is, you will be analysing complex problems in
real life situations such as:
- How does baking make road corners safer? What is the
Physics needed to consider to build a thrilling but safe
- Why does a merry-go-round rotate faster when you move
closer to the middle? Can I use oscillating motion, like a
swing, to predict the speed and position at every moment in
- Why is the tail rotor of a helicopter so vital for its
proper functioning? What’s the maximum number of somersaults
that can be performed when diving off a 10m platform?
- Why do we use AC electricity in our electrical power grid?
What is the function of a transformer? How does a laptop
charger transform high voltage AC to low voltage DC?
- How are radio and TV signals transmitted and received by
- What are semiconductors? How do LEDs and transistors work?
- How do musical instruments produce sound? Why does the same
pitch on different instruments not sound exactly the same? How
do electric guitars work?
- How does ultrasound allow you to see an unborn baby?
How does sonar work?
- How do speed cameras work? How can we determine the speed
of stars and galaxies many lightyears away?
- How can we use lasers to detect earthquakes?
- What is the nature of light? What is quantum mechanics? How
can we determine the composition of distant stars by just
looking at the light they are producing?
- What’s so special about the Higg’s boson?
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