Physics is the most neglected major science taught in the high schools of the United States. It has more misconceptions associated with its principle than any of the other science, not to mention an undeserved reputation for difficulty. Yet physics is the foundation of modern technology and a key requirement for millions of high paying careers in engineering, computer science, and medicine.
Physics is the most fundamental of all the sciences in that it deals with the principles of energy and matter. It is also the most precise and mathematical. So many students mistakenly assume the decision to take high school physics depends only on their math level and confidence at being able to do math. However, top math students are not always top physics students and vice versa. A basic knowledge of physics is also increasingly important for music, art, and humanities students who want a deeper understanding of their subjects.
Physics and math compliment each other, but are each unique in their own right. Mathematics is primarily a left brain activity which focuses on the mechanics of solving equations. Physics uses the left brain activity of math, but adds the right brain activities of being able to visualize problems and think creatively ingeneral concepts. It is less concerned with the mechanics of solving equations. The standards of evidence in physics are different than in math. In math it is the mathematical proof which is usually considered truth. In physics it is the experiment which always contains some error and is subject to further investigation. This is why a top-level physicist like Einstein could be mediocre at math (relatively speaking), but excellent at physics. While high school physics students must be able to do basic algebra, they don’t have to be math wizards.