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.
Physics is housed in a purpose-built laboratory block with three labs, 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.
As an A Level student, you will study the AQA course, which lays foundations for courses at university. The course is linear with the content split across the two years and examined at the end of the second year. In the first year there are topics on measurements and their errors, particles and radiation, waves, mechanics and materials and electricity. In the second year topics include further mechanics and thermal physics, fields and their consequences, nuclear physics and astrophysics. Throughout the two years students complete twelve compulsory pieces of practical work which are internally assessed in order to achieve the Practical Endorsement element of the A level.
Your understanding and appreciation of the subject will be extended through a multitude of activities which can include lecture trips 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. Each year a number of 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 among 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.