The Physics department aims to make Physics an enjoyable subject for all those who study it, incorporating as much practical work at all levels and with as many unusual experiments as possible.
As an A Level student, you will study the OCR B Nuffield course, developed by the Institute of Physics which presents physics that is current, modern and placed in context with real life situations. It introduces new topics such as imaging, materials, quantum electrodynamics and the up-to-date world of particle physics as well as the more traditional topics of forces and electricity. The A Level course is divided into six modules, three taken in Year 12 and three in Year 13. At AS level, Physics in Action comprises communication, the use of imaging, sensing and signalling in the modern world. Designer Materials looks at the structure and properties of materials and Understanding Processes and Experimentation studies waves, quantum behaviour, space and time. Two pieces of coursework are undertaken for the Physics in Practice module. For the Quality of Measurement module, you will research a material or structure of your own choice and produce a report, poster or web-page and undertake a practical assignment to produce a set of results which can be analysed.
At A2 level, Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe looks at models and rules and matter in extremes. Fields and Particle Pictures and Advances in Physics examine electro-magnetic theory and the nature of matter and Research Physics includes an extended practical examination and the research of a topic to produce a written report.
Physics is housed in a purpose-built laboratory block with three labs (each with its own networked computer area) a dark room, a preparation room and an ICT suite. The department has a very good stock of modern apparatus including an electron diffraction tube, many oscilloscopes including a Digital storage oscilloscope module, radioactivity apparatus, data logging equipment with accurate sensors and both a 90mm refracting telescope and an 6” reflecting telescope.
Your understanding and appreciation of the subject will be extended through a multitude of activities which include annual lecture trips to UCL in London where you can hear about the latest ideas from those working in scientific research fields, visits to hands-on science centres such as Techniquest and At-Bristol and visits from university physicists discussing nano-particles, working with electron microscopes and building superconductors. Each year students are entered for the Physics Olympiad - a national and international competition – which gives gifted pupils the opportunity to stretch themselves beyond the curriculum.
The department is also a member of the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth and pupils make regular visits here to study meteorology and astronomy. Sixth Form students recently visited CERN in Switzerland to see the workings of one of the most cutting-edge pieces of scientific equipment, the large Hadron Collider, located 100m below ground and to learn about the Higgs boson particle.
Queen’s College was amongst the first to see the fragmentation of Comet 169P/Hergenrother using the Faulkes Telescope Education Project which provides schools with access to a global network of robotic telescopes. A cutting-edge discovery, Queen’s College is now referenced in Remanzacco Observatory’s submissions to the minor planet centre and the work has been used by scientists across the world.