“"I ask you to look both ways. For the road to a knowledge of the stars leads through the atom; and important knowledge of the atom has been reached through the stars.”
- Sir Arthur Eddington
Why Study Physics?
In the physics department we encourage pupils to be inquisitive, developing their skills of investigation through the processes of research, experimentation and analysis. Pupils develop a love for learning and discovery that allows them to not only cover the curriculum but to also extend their interests beyond the specified topics and learn about ideas and areas that they enthuse about; often this results in a pupil-led lecture evening.
Enthusiastic teachers who have a passion for the subject, working in modern, well-equipped and comfortable laboratories, help instil an understanding and way of thinking that enables pupils to appreciate that what they see is not always as it seems!
In Third Form we offer an in-house course entitled From the very big to the very small, followed by the AQA GCSE Physics (8463) course during the Lent Term.
Fourth and Fifth Form pupils will start on the AQA GCSE Physics (8463) course, but may be given the option to follow the AQA Combined Science Trilogy (8464) course after their internal exams and in consultation with members of staff.
Sixth Form pupils follow the OCR Physics A (H556) course.
Physics at A level
Head of Physics, Matt Lang, talks more about our physics A level course.
Is Physics for You?
We actively encourage co-curricular activities such as lectures, visits and entry to competitions. In addition to this, a number of Sixth Form pupils participate in an inspirational visit to CERN in Geneva.
Our pupils have also gained places on Headstart courses where they are able to experience life at university while working in labs.
When you play sport and decide how fast you need to run and in which direction you need to go, you are applying some of the basic laws of physics! How do you catch a cricket ball so that it does not hurt your hand? Do you ever stop to ask "I wonder why"? If you have, then physics is for you!
In November 2020 nine of our Upper Sixth physicists were entered into the British Physics Olympiad, a competition designed to test the most able young physicists in the country and ultimately is used to select the British Physics Team.
The competition consists of a very challenging 2 hour 45 minute exam, with questions based on the A level syllabus. However, the demand of the questions is far higher, with each one posed to challenge pupils' understanding of a different aspect of the universe, requiring them to have a separate perspective in order to have a chance of answering it.
This year’s paper included: coming up with a mathematical expression for the true position of a star by modelling the Earth’s atmosphere as a large number of layers where the speed of light decreases as you approach the Earth’s surface; and predicting the mass ratio of a binary star pair that would become unbound following one of the stars having a supernova explosion using Newton’s model of gravity.
Just to be entered for this competition is a real achievement, and Mr Speyer is delighted with the outcome from Cambridge: four bronze awards, and five commendations.
Tommy R-J, George G, Jamie G and Wang T were the four pupils awarded bronze, with Abigail H, Kent Tsui, Finn K, Jeri W, and Rachel Y awarded a commendation.
Matthew came to King's from Exeter University, where he completed a research degree in medical physics. He is passionate about ensuring all pupils are aware that physics is the most important subject.
Charles Speyer joined King's from Okehampton College where he was a physics teacher. Charles completed a degree in physics with theoretical physics at Manchester University, and a PGCE at the University of Bath.
Claire joined King's as an NQT. She has had six years' experience as a science teaching assistant, focusing on supporting gifted and talented and SEN pupils. Claire studied for her BSc in physics through the Open University.
Joseph joins us from Wetherby High School. As well as physics, Joseph will be teaching chemistry.