Physics is a fundamental science that endeavours to explain all the natural phenomena that occur in the universe using the method of experiment and observation and the method of mathematical reasoning. 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.
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 physics will enable learners 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.
This subject guide will help you to locate the resources you will find particularly useful when commencing your studies in this area. Here is the best place to find books, information about databases and a guide to appropriate websites.
Intenal assessment tasks in Physics may include: written reports, essays, case studies, portfolios, scientific poster presentations, oral presentations and debates, which will require you to reference where you have obtained your information.
Referencing advice: For further information go to the Library's Referencing Guidelines for extended help in this area. The Library staff are always happy to help you with any queries you may have in regard to referencing requirements for any research you are undertaking.
Faculty resources: All material purchased for the teachers in the Science Faculty is also available for student use if it is not required by the teachers. The resources are kept in the Library and can be found by using the Library catalogue.
The Library catalogue is a powerful searching tool that allows you to quickly locate material in our collections.
- 530 - Physics
All the chapters and summaries of the physics books on our shelves are entered into our catalogue. A simple keyword search is the quickest way to locate these resources, e.g.
Parsons, P. 2012, 3-minute Einstein: digesting his life, theories and influence in 3-minute morsels, Pier 9, Milsons Point, NSW.
Smil, V. 2006, Energy: a beginner's guide, Oneworld, Oxford.
Speyer, E. 1994, Six roads from Newton: great discoveries in physics, Wiley Popular Science, New York.
Tipler, A, Llewellyn, R.A., (2012), Modern physics, 6th edn. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York.
Walding, R, Rapkins, G, Rossiter G, (2004), New century senior physics: knowledge, processes and reasoning, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic. [Multiple copies of this text are held in the Science Faculty resources]
Issues in society
Folger, T (2017), Mass Hysteria in Scientific American, vol. 316 no. 2.
To be updated
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- World Book
- Oxford dictionary of physics
- Physics: A-Z of essential facts and definitions
- Physics: an illustrated guide to science
The CSIRO Science Image Library has an extensive selection of images you can use in your assignments. They are available to download and copy under a Creative Commons licence. You must acknowledge and provide a citation to the CSIRO when you use any of these images.
The following databases will help you in your research, particularly with up-to-date material. You will need your User Name & Password to log on.
This database contain magazine and journal articles on the latest developments in many areas associated with biology. eLibrary also has an extensive section dedicated to "Physics".
This database presents a broad range of scientific disciplines through extensive essays, videos, diagrams, definitions, biographies, and experiments.
- Australian Institute of Physics
- HubbleSite - The Telescope
- The Physics Classroom
- Physics - from the Khan Academy
- University of NSW - School of Physics - Physics animation and film clips
Unit 1: Ionising radiation and nuclear reactions
Unit 2: Waves
- BBC Higher Bitesize: Physics - Waves
Unit 3: Gravity and motion
- Gravity, Newton's Laws and the orbits of the planets - from UNSW, School of Physics
Unit 3: Electromagnetism
- BBC - GCSE Physics - Electromagnetism and magnetism
Unit 4: Special Relativity
- Relativty: Einstein's theory of relativity - UNSW, School of Physics
Unit 4: Quantum theory
- Phillip Ball (2013) Will we ever understand quantum theory? BBC Future
Unit 4: Standard model
- The Standard Model / CERN
The following tasks are only possible suggestions from the TQA in regard to internal assessment tasks in TQA Physics, Level 4.
- Library resources: Satellites
- Web resource: Artifical satellites - Science Learning, N.Z.
- Web resource: NASA
- Web resource: NASA - International Space Station
Big Bang theory
Black body radiation and the greenhouse effect
Forensic science - Projectiles
Harnessing nuclear power
- Library resource: Medical imaging
- Web resource: Medical imaging - From the U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Monitoring earthquakes and tsunamis
- Library resources: Earthquakes
- Library resources: Tsunamis
- Web resource: Earthquake - Australian Government - Geoscience Australia
- Web resource: Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre - Australian Government, Bureau of Meterology