Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the very smallest particles—quarks (perhaps 10–17 m in size), which may be truly fundamental—to the vast distances between galaxies (1024 m).
At the school level both theory and experiments should be undertaken by all students. They should complement one another naturally, as they do in the wider scientific community. The Diploma Programme physics course allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques and to increase facility in the use of mathematics, which is the language of physics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal skills, and information and communication technology skills, which are essential in modern scientific endeavour and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right.
Physics is, above all, a human activity, and students need to be aware of the context in which physicists work. Illuminating its historical development places the knowledge and the process of physics in a context of dynamic change, in contrast to the static context in which physics has sometimes been presented. This can give students insights into the human side of physics: the individuals; their personalities, times and social milieux; and their challenges, disappointments and triumphs.
Grade 11 & Grade 12 will cover the following topics:
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