Regents Physics - Modern Physics

Modern Physics refers largely to advancements in physics from the 1900s to the present, extending our models of Newtonian (classical) mechanics and electricity and magnetism to the extremes of the very small, the very large, the very slow and the very fast. Modern Physics can encompass a tremendous variety of topics, of which we will explore just a brief few in this course. Key topics for our exploration include:

  • the dual nature of electromagnetic radiation
  • the quantum nature of atomic energy levels
  • models of the atom
  • universal conservation laws
  • mass-energy equivalence
  • sub-atomic structure
  • fundamental forces in the universe


  1. Explain the wave-particle duality of light.
  2. Calculate the energy of a photon from its wave characteristics.
  3. Calculate the energy of an absorbed or emitted photon from an energy level diagram.
  4. Explain the quantum nature of atomic energy levels.
  5. Explain the Rutherford and Bohr models of the atom.
  6. Explain the universal conservation laws.
  7. Recognize the fundamental source of all energy in the universe as the conversion of mass into energy.
  8. Understand and use the mass-energy equivalence equation.
  9. Understand that atomic particles are composed of subnuclear particles.
  10. Explain how the nucleus is a conglomeration of quarks which combine to form protons and neutrons.
  11. Understand that each elementary particle has a corresponding anti-particle.
  12. Utilize Standard Model diagrams to solve basic particle physics problems.
  13. Define the known fundamental forces in the universe and rank them in order of relative strength.

Topics of Study

  1. Wave-Particle Duality
  2. Models of the Atom
  3. Mass-Energy Equivalence
  4. The Standard Model
  5. Modern Physics Quiz