Level : (Ordinary and Higher Level)

Teacher : Mr J. White

Brief overview of the subject:

Physics is a natural science based on experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis with the purpose of finding laws for everything from the microscopic world of quantum physics to the planets, solar systems, galaxies and black holes described by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

The laws of nature can be used to predict the behaviour of the world and all kinds of machinery. Many of the everyday technological inventions that we now take for granted resulted from discoveries in physics. The basic laws in physics are universal, but physics in our time is such a vast field that many subfields are almost regarded as separate sciences.

Main areas of study:

The course can be broken down into the following modules:


The study of motion and what causes it to happen.


How light behaves and what causes natural phenomena like rainbows and mirages.

Waves, Sound and Light

How waves transfer energy and how the properties of waves affect what we sense in the everyday world.

Heat and Temperature

Defining what heat and temperature actually are and what happens when something freezes, melts or boils.


The study of how electricity and magnetism are two sides of the same coin, and how this leads to the world of modern technology.

Modern Physics

How the discovery of the structure of the atom has led to our understanding of radioactivity and the development of Nuclear Energy.

Particle Physics (Higher Level only)

The study of the quantum world, leading to Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2

Examination information:

There is one examination for Physics, available at Ordinary or Higher Level. The structure of the examination is the same for both papers:

Section A (120 marks)

·       the questions are based on the 24 mandatory experiments carried out during the course.

·       students answer 3 from 4 questions.

Section B (280 marks)

·       the questions are based on theoretical Physics.

·       students answer 5 from 8 questions.

The examination is 3 hours in duration.

 Link to syllabus :

The Physics syllabus (at both Higher and Ordinary Level) is available here:

Department Members:

Mr J. White



Real World Physics – Dan O’Regan (Publisher: Folens)

Other required material:

Lined copy

Experiment copy

Casio scientific calculator

Mathematical set

Leaving Certificate Physics examination papers

Formulae and Tables booklet

Useful Websites and Online Resources:

Career opportunities :

There are thousands of exciting, rewarding physics-related careers to choose from. These include areas such as:

Astronomy and space; climate science and meteorology; education; engineering; medical physics and digital healthcare; renewable energy, robotics and AI, VFX and gaming; finance and law.