Physics is a natural science based on observations, experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis with the purpose of finding quantitative explanations for phenomena occurring from the subatomic scale through to the planets, stellar systems and galaxies in the Universe. While much scientific understanding in physics has stood the test of time, many other areas continue to evolve. In undertaking this study, students develop their understanding of the roles of careful and systematic experimentation and modelling in the development of theories and laws. They undertake practical activities and apply physics principles to explain and quantify both natural and constructed phenomena.
In VCE Physics students develop a range of inquiry skills involving practical experimentation and research, analytical skills including critical and creative thinking, and communication skills. Students use scientific and cognitive skills and understanding to analyse contemporary physics-related issues and to communicate their views from an informed position.
VCE Physics provides for continuing study pathways within the discipline and leads to a range of careers. Physicists may undertake research and development in specialist areas including acoustics, astrophysics and cosmology, atmospheric physics, computational physics, education, energy research, engineering, instrumentation, lasers and photonics, medical physics, nuclear science, optics, pyrotechnics and radiography. Physicists also work in cross-disciplinary areas such as bushfire research, climate science, forensic science, geology, materials science, neuroscience and sports science.
This study enables students to:
apply physics models, theories and concepts to describe, explain, analyse and make predictions about diverse physical phenomena
understand and use the language and methodologies of physics to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts and more broadly to:
understand the cooperative, cumulative, evolutionary and interdisciplinary nature of science as a human endeavour, including its possibilities, limitations and political and sociocultural influences
develop a range of individual and collaborative science investigation skills through experimental and inquiry tasks in the field and in the laboratory
develop an informed perspective on contemporary science-based issues of local and global significance
apply their scientific understanding to familiar and to unfamiliar situations, including personal, social, environmental and technological contexts
develop attitudes that include curiosity, open-mindedness, creativity, flexibility, integrity, attention to detail and respect for evidence-based conclusions
understand and apply the research, ethical and safety principles that govern the study and practice of the discipline in the collection, analysis, critical evaluation and reporting of data
communicate clearly and accurately an understanding of the discipline using appropriate terminology, conventions and formats.
The study is made up of four units:
Unit 1: The human body in motion
Unit 2: Physical activity, sport and society
Unit 3: Movement skills and energy for physical activity
Unit 4: Training to improve performance