What is Physics?

Physics attempts to summarise phenomenon in nature according to scientific laws, for example the movement laws of Newton. Such laws are formulated to provide us with knowledge of the physical world. Physics, together with the subjects Chemistry and various divisions of Mathematics, form the basis of Science and Technology. These subjects form part of curriculums from Engineering and various other applicable fields.  The mission of the subject group Physics is comprised of mainly training while research is conducted in Astrophysics and Space Physics within the Centre for Space Research. This centre is also involved with the South African National Antarctic Centre where research is conducted in Antarctica. Physics gives an individual a unique approach to problem solving, a logical scientific mind-set as well as insight and a perspective on the world we live in. These skills contribute to the physicist’s ability to adapt in careers other than those of Physics.  The subject group Physics has an elaborate bursary scheme which is aimed at training outstanding students as physicists and to help reduce the great shortage of natural scientists in South Africa.

Physics consists of the following subjects:

  • Mechanics, Oscillations, Waves and Theory of Heat
  • Physics for Biology
  • Electricity, Magnetism, Optics, Atomic and Nuclear Physics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Optics
  • Special Relativity
  • Introductory Quantum Physics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Wave Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particles
  • Astro- and Space physics