Vce physics Resource List with Annotations

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VCE Physics Resource List with Annotations


Unit 1

Wave-like properties of Light

Australian Optometrical Association 1984, Eyes Right, Australian Optometrical Association. Very comprehensive paperback, good illustrations, costs about $2. T, S

Cameron, J.R. and Skofronik, J.G., 1978, Medical Physics, Wiley, New York, T

Falk, D et al. 1985, Seeing the Light: Optics in Nature, Photograph, Color, Vision and Holography, Wiley/Harper and Rowe, New York. Excellent book for all optics contexts, but very expensive. T, S

Fowles, G 1989, Introduction to Modern Optics, Dover Publications, New York. Very comprehensive for its age, and readable.

Greenler, R, 1988, Rainbows, Glories, Haloes, Cambridge University Press, T

Johnston, SF 2001, A History of Light and Colour Measurement: Science in the Shadows, Institute of Physics, London. Links the scientific, technological, social and commercial in a very engaging way. T, S

Minnaert, M, 1948, The Nature of Light and Color in the Open Air, Dover, New York, T

Pye, JD 2001, Polarised Light in Science and Nature, Institute of Physics, London. Wealth of detail, many photographs. T, S

Nuclear and radioactivity physics

Australian School of Nuclear Technology 1988, Nuclear Science for Science Teachers, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights. T

Caro, D.E., McDonell, J.A. and Spicer, B.M., 1961, Modern Physics: An Introduction to Atomic and Nuclear Physics, Cheshire, Melbourne, T, S

Dahl, P 2002, From Nuclear Transmutation to Nuclear Fission, 1932–1939, Institute of Physics, London

Hall, E,J, 1984, Radiation and Life, Pergamon Press, New York, T

Hore-Lacy, I and Hubery, R, 1989, Nuclear Electricity - An Australian Perspective, UIC, S

Jungk, R., 1958, Brighter than a Thousand Suns - trans. J. Cleugh, Penguin Books, T, S

Milliken, R, 1986, No Conceivable Injury, Penguin Books, Melbourne, T, S

Milner, B 2001, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK A well presented student text that goes from decay to quarks and the synchrotron. S

Pochin, E., 1983, Nuclear Radiation: Risks and Benefits, Oxford University Press, T, S

Rhodes, R., 1988, The Making of the Bomb, Penguin Books, London, T, S

United Nations Environment Programme 1985, Radiation Doses, Effects and Risks, United Nations, New York

Detailed Studies


De Pree, C & Axelrod, A 2001, Complete Idiots Guide to Astronomy, Alpha Books, Indianapolis, US. Comprehensive, No colour pictures.

Maran, SP 1999, Astronomy for Dummies, , John Wiley & Sons, New York Effective text, adequate depth, Colour pictures. S, T

Moche, DL 2002, Astronomy – A Self-Teaching Guide, John Wiley & Sons, New York. No colour pictures, but many effective diagrams. A book teachers will appreciate. S, T

Moore, P 2000, The Data Book of Astronomy, Institute of Physics, London Current data and discoveries with extensive explanation.

Medical physics

Cameron, J.R. and Skofronik, J.G. 1978, Medical Physics, Wiley, New York, T

Hollins, M 2001, Bath advanced science: Medical Physics, 2nd edn, Nelson Thornes Education, Glocester, UK

McCormack, A & Elliott, A 2001, Health Physics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

Mould, R F 1993, A Century of X-Rays and Radioactivity in Medicine: With Emphasis on Photographic Records of the Early Years, Institute of Physics, London

Energy from the nucleus

Dahl, P 1999, Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy, Institute of Physics, London Definitive, scientifically accurate and compelling. S, T

Mould, RF 2000, Chernobyl Record: The Definitive History of the Chernobyl Catastrophe, Institute of Physics, London, The most complete report of Chernobyl yet published. S, T

Wilhelmsson, H 1999, Fusion: A Voyage Through the Plasma Universe, Institute of Physics, London. History of fusion to present day, "popular" but rigorous. T

Unit 2


Daish, CB 1972 The Physics of Ball Games The English University Press, London

Haake, SJ (ed) 1996 The Engineering of Sport A A Balkema, Rotterdam

Tao, P.K., 1987, The Physics of Traffic Accident Investigation, Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, T, S

Wesson, J 2002, The Science of Soccer, Institute of Physics, London


Meany, T et al. 2000, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Electrical Repair, Alpha Books, Indianapolis, US

Detailed Studies


Cooper, A & Walker, N, Getting the Measure of the Stars, IOP, 1989, 308p, T

Milner, B 2000, Cosmology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

Moring, G F 2002, Complete Idiots Guide to Theories of the Universe, Alpha Books, Indianapolis, US Thorough, no pictures. S

Rees, M 2000, New Perspectives in Astrophysical Cosmology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK Well known author, excellent up to date content, but quite deep. T

Investigations: Aerospace

Anderson, D & Eberhardt, S 2000, Understanding Flight, McGraw Hill, New York

Craig, DM 1998, Stop Abusing Bernoulli!, How Planes Really Fly, Regenerative Press, Anderson, Indiana, US

Smith, H 1992, The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics, McGraw Hill, New York

Tennekes, H 1996, The Simple Science of Flight, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, USA.

Investigations: Alternative energy sources

Markvart, T 2000, Solar Electricity, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York Not only about Photovoltaic cells, but also their use in real systems. T


Unit 3

Motion in one and two dimensions

Bate, R et al. 1971, Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, Dover Publications, New York.

Hawking S, 2002, On the Shoulders of Giants, Running Press, Philadelphia.

Tao, P.K., 1987, The Physics of Traffic Accident Investigation, Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, T, S

Electronics and photonics

Fowles, G 1989, Introduction to Modern Optics, Dover Publications, New York. Very comprehensive for its age, and readable.

Saleh, B & Teich, M 1991, Fundamentals of Photonics, Wiley interScience, New York Covers an enormousd amount, but starts from the basics. Not cheap. T

Detailed Studies

Einstein’s relativity

Bodanis, D, 2000, E = mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation, Walker & Co, Entertaining, accessible, but misleading at times, S, T

Bohm, D 1996, The Special Theory of Relativity, Routledge, New York Well written and comprehensive also discusses historical and philosphical issues. T

Einstein, A 1966, The Meaning of Relativity, Princeton University Press, USA. Obviously authoritative, but not a first choice. T

Einstein, A,1995, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Crown Pub, Obviously authoritative, but not a first choice, T

Einstein, A, 1924, Principle of Relativity Dover, Obviously authoritative, but not a first choice, T

Epstein, L C 1985, Relativity Visualized, Insight Press, San Francisco, Lives up to the title. S, T

Feynman, R 1998, Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Perseus Publishing, Boulder, Colorado, US. Recommended, some calculus, but explanations are very good. T

Gardner, M, 1997 Relativity Simply Explained, Dover, Accessible, but limited, S, T

Hawking, S 1998, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Doubleday, New York Recommended. T

Sartori, L 1996, Understanding Relativity – A Simplified Approach, University of California Press, USA.

Schwartz, J & McGuinness, M 1993, Introducing Einstein, Icon Books, London. Humorous, cartoon, accessible. S

Schwartz, J & McGuinness M 1990, Einstein for Beginners, Pantheon Books, New York Amusing, irreverent, but effective. S, T

Investigating structures and materials

Gordon, J.E., 1978, Structures, or Why things Don't Fall Down, . T, S, New York, Penguin Books, T, S

Gordon, J.E., 1978, New Materials, or Why You Don't Fall through the Floor, . T, S, New York, Penguin Books, T, S

Harris, DW 2000, Truss Fun, BaHa Enterprises, Lakewood, Colorado, US Well structured, accessible. S, T

Taylor, J 2002, Materials, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

Timoshenko, SP 1953, History of Strength of Materials, Dover Publications, New York. An excellent historical reference. T

Unit 4

Interactions of light and matter

Feynman, R 1995, Six Easy Pieces, Penguin, London. A Feynman classic on quantum theory. S, T

Electric power

Nasar, S E 1997, Schaum’s Outline of Electric machines and Electromechanics, McGraw Hill, New York

Detailed Studies

Synchrotron and applications

Weidemann, H 2002, Synchrotron Radiation, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany


Kennedy, S 2001, Telecommunications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

Pearsall, TP 2002, Photonics Essentials: An Introduction with Experiments, McGraw Hill, New York

Recording and reproducing sound

Eargle, J 2001, The Microphone Book, Focal Press, London Design and use of different types of microphones, including the concert hall and studio. Thorough, but dry.. T

Johnston, ID 2002, Measured Tones: The Interplay of Physics and Music, 2nd Edition, Institute of Physics, London Authoritative. S, T

Kane, JW & Sternheim, MM 1988, Physics, Wiley, New York.

Murphy, JL 1998, Introduction to Loudspeaker Design, True Audio, Andersonville, Tennesee Written by a physicist. S, T

Olson, H F 1967, Music, Physics and Engineering, Dover Publications, New York. An oldie, but a goodie. Detailed about speakers and microphones. T

Rossing, T D, Physics of Sound, T

General texts

Breithaupt, J 2000, New Understanding Physics for Advanced Level, 4th edn, Nelson Thornes Education, UK.

Butler M, Hopkins D & Willis J 2002, Macmillan Physics 1 HSC Course, Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Butler M, Hopkins D & Willis J 2002, Macmillan Physics 2 HSC Course, Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Butler M 2002, Macquarie HSC Physics, Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Gibbs, K 1999, The Resourceful Physics Teacher: 600 Ideas for Creative Teaching, Institute of Physics, London

Homer, D 2002, Synoptic Skills in Advanced Physics, Hodder, UK.

Hutchings, R 1996, Bath Advanced Science: Physics Core Text, 2nd edn, Nelson Thornes Education, UK.

Johnson, K et al. 2000. Advanced Physics For You, Nelson Thornes Education, UK.

Mee, C et al. 2000, AS/A2 Physics, Nelson Thornes Education, UK.

Neuss G, Allott A & Kirk T 2002, Physics for the IB Diploma, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

Rounce, J 2002, Maths for Advanced Physics, Nelson Thornes Education, UK.

Science Education Group, University of York 2000 Salters Horners Advanced Physics AS, Heinemann, UK.

Science Education Group, University of York 2000 Salters Horners Advanced Physics A, Heinemann, UK.

Zealey B et al. 2002, Physics in Context The Forces of LifePreliminary and HSC, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK

Practical activities

McKittrick, B 1991, Physics: Experiments and Student Investigations, McGraw Hill, Sydney.

Mee, C & Crundell, M 2001, Advanced Level Practical Work for Physics, Hodder UK.

Problem solving

Lowe, T & Rounce, J 1997, Calculations for A-level physics, Nelson Thornes Education, UK.

Taylor, C 1993, Physics Context Problems for Units 3 & 4, Nelson, Australia.


Theme Issues in “Physics Education”: several articles on each theme

‘Energy and The Environment’, Physics Education, March. 2003

‘Space and Science Fiction’, Physics Education, January, 2003

‘Teaching Physics through Earth Science’, Physics Education November, 2002

‘Uncertainty, Risk and Disaster’, Physics Education, September, 2002

‘Developing Ideas of Space’, Physics Education, July, 2002

‘Teaching Quantum Physics’, Physics Education, May, 2002

‘Untangling and using the Internet’, Physics Education, March, 2002

‘Girls with Attitude’, Physics Education, January, 2002

‘Medical Physics’, Physics Education, November, 2001

‘Nuclear Physics’, Physics Education, September, 2001

‘Space Physics’, Physics Education, May, 2001

‘Physics In Sport’, Physics Education, January, 2001

‘Quantum Physics’, Physics Education, November, 2000

‘Telecommunications’, Physics Education, July, 2000

‘Solar Physics’, Physics Education, May, 2000


Pintar Virtual Lab, software, Software on Waves, Electronics, Optics, Electricity, Sound and Mechanics

Physics Academic Software, software Over 60 pieces of quality, well supported software ranging in price from US$40 to$200 individual and $100 to $350 for a site licence. The description gives the list on content and clicking on an item of content gives all the other software that also covers that item

Sky Map, software/CD-ROM,, Powerful planetarium software available on a CDROM

Physlink, software,, (Solar system construction software.)

Making waves, software,, (Interactive waves package.)

Looking glass, software,, (Interactive geometric optics package.)

Relativistic Flight Simulations, software,, A graded set of simulations to suit computers of different capability

Physics software for Mac, software,, (A range of many mechanics simulations.)

Orbit Xplorer, software,, (Generates solar systems.)

Interference of waves, software,, Effective visuals

Visual Quantum Mechanics, software,, Impressive applets, but sophisticated in content, well supported with written material.

Physics On Line, software,, (Set of interactive web resources, lesson plans.)

Interactive Physics, software,, (Set of Mechanics simulations.)

Oscillations and waves, software,, (15 interactive programs.)

Circuit Shop, software,, (Electronics simulation.)

Active Education, software,, (Mechanics training programs.)

Statics and Dynamics of 3D Structures, software,,

Video data analysis software and

Crocodile Clips A very effective and comprehensive program.



Contemporary Physics Education Project , Particles, Fusion, Nuclear Science and History & Fate of the Universe

Glenbrook South Physics Page

Hyperphysics (Packages of instructional material across the full range of physics.)

Physics Applets  

Physics Virtual Bookshelf

Resourceful Physics

Webphysics (Collection of many physics websites.)

Flash animations

Unit 1

Wave-like properties of light

Physics of Theatre Description of the role of colour, different ways of lighting the stage and the different types of lights

Polarisation (File of PowerPoint slides. The early slides are too complex for students, but the later ones effectively show the many applications.) An instructional site that is still developing, but the polarisation material is quite effective.

Polarised Light in Nature and Technology An intriguing website on polarised light featuring historical, scientific, technological and biological insights.

Reflection & refraction by Huygen's Principle  

Nuclear and radioactivity physics

History of Physics: Curie

Law of Radioactive Decay  

Radioactive Decay Series 


Resource Guide (Resource guide for teaching astronomy through science fiction.)

Medical physics

The Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (Summary of medical physicists.)

Energy from the nucleus

Nuclear Energy Institute – Commercial (US)

World Nuclear Association – Commercial (UK)

Unit 2


The comparison of Aristotle and Galileo

Video: Galileo’s battle for the heavens (slo-mo dropping of ball from moving horse) (support materials to video)

Some movies with crash testing, others simulations and interactives.


Household Wiring


Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy (CLEA) web site An extensive range of activities, but at a high level


NASA The NASA site has an extensive range of educational materials on flight

Forces in Flight Flash animation:

Alternative Energy

Renewable energy The CRC on Renewable Energy at Murdoch University is a well structured and resourced site

Solar Tower Solar tower construction Solar tower for Mildura

Wind Energy Wind Farms: The Blue Energy company

Hydrogen Hydrogen-based economy:


Unit 3


Centripetal accel'n,

Elastic and Inelastic Collision

Projectile Motion

Electronics and photonics

Photonics Educational Applets

Einstein’s relativity

History of Physics – Einstein

Relativity on the Web (A list of popular science, visualisations and tutorial sites for a range of levels.)

Time Dilation

Investigating structures and materials

Bridges (Collection of websites about bridges, bridge construction and bridge-building contests.)

Resource for teachers on materials (Resources for teachers on materials, with over 150 keywords from adhesive to Young's modulus.)

Further electronics


Unit 4

Light and matter

Modern physics (Well produced site on modern physics.)

Electric Power

DC Motor


Lorentz Force

Magnetic field around a wire

Synchrotron and its applications

Bragg Diffraction with microwaves (A pdf file of the experiment.)

History of Physic s– Lawrence


Photonics Educational Applets

Recording and reproducing sound

Magnets, coils, loudspeakers

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