The Nature of Light

The Nature of Light

Prior to the 20th century, physicists, including Newton and Maxwell, developed theories and models about mechanics, electricity and magnetism and the nature of matter. These theories and models had great explanatory power and produced useful predictions. However, the 20th century saw major developments in physics as existing theories and models were challenged by new observations that could not be explained. These observations led to the development of quantum theory and the theory of relativity. Technologies arising from these theories have shaped the modern world. For example, the independence of the speed of light on the frame of observation or the motion of the source and observer had significant consequences for the measurement, and concepts about the nature, of time and space.

Throughout this module, students explore the evidence supporting these physical theories, along with the power of scientific theories to make useful predictions.

Contextual Outline - Students learn to:

  • develops and evaluates questions and hypotheses for scientific investigation PH11/12-1
  • designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information PH11/12-2
  • conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information PH11/12-3
  • selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a range of appropriate media PH11/12-4
  • communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose PH11/12-7
  • describes and analyses evidence for the properties of light and evaluates the implications of this evidence for modern theories of physics in the contemporary world PH12-14

Extract from Physics Stage 6 Syllabus © 2017 NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)