Support materials only that illustrate some possible contexts for exploring Science as a Human Endeavour concepts in relation to Science Understanding content.
Major catastrophes like the Japanese and Indian Ocean tsunamis and the Christchurch earthquakes have led to an increased need to monitor and record the plate movements that cause these phenomena. Various devices including seismographs and computer modelling are used to detect, determine the location of and predict effects of earthquakes and tsunamis (ACSPH058). Knowledge of different types of waves and their motion through the ocean and the continents allows prediction of the possible extent of damage or the timing of a tsunami. Earthquake engineering aims to limit seismic risk through design and construction of structures that are better able to resist the effects of earthquakes. A variety of methods including damping and suspension have been developed to protect buildings (ACSPH055).
Noise pollution comes from a variety of sources and is often amplified by walls, buildings and other built structures. Acoustical engineering, based on an understanding of the behaviour of sound waves, is used to reduce noise pollution. It focuses on absorbing sound waves or planning structures so that reflection and amplification does not occur (ACSPH058). When new roads are built, consideration is given to noise barrier design, surface materials and speed control. Buildings can be designed to limit the noise that enters from outside sources like roadways and low flying aircraft. Noise mitigation is also achieved by using particular materials for insulation and designing both the interior and exterior to reflect sound in particular ways. Safety equipment such as ear protection is compulsory and extensively tested for use in industrial situations due to the possible health consequences of exposure to excessive noise (ACSPH059).
In the late 17th century, Robert Hooke and Christiaan Huygens published early theories of light as a wave (ACSPH053) and around 1800 Thomas Young showed through experimentation that light passing through a double slit showed interference and thus wave properties. Young also developed principles of coherence and superposition of light. For many years, the presence of the luminiferous aether was proposed as the medium by which light is propagated, an idea that was later disproved by experiments such as the Michelson-Morley experiment (ACSPH054). Later, in the 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell developed a theory of electromagnetism and showed that electromagnetic waves would travel through space at the speed of light, implying light was an electromagnetic wave (ACSPH054).