Physics is the study of the fundamental laws that govern all natural phenomena. Physics is at the heart of everything. It pervades every part of the world of science, technology and engineering. Our reliance on technology in modern society is plain for all to see and many of the technologies continually transforming the world we live in can be directly traced back to important physics research. The laws of optics that describe the way light behaves led to the development of optic fibres which are rapidly transforming global communication. The humble transistor, unveiled in 1947, is a key component in our electronic systems and computers and is now considered as one of the most important inventions in human history. An understanding of the nature of electromagnetic waves has enabled a plethora of fantastic technologies to be developed – GPS, MRI scanners, mobile phones, television... the list is endless. Current research on nanostructures (structures a billion times smaller than a metre) will lead to the next generation of faster computers and communication systems.
The study of physics has allowed us to obtain a greater understanding of the universe we live in. After all, who has not asked themselves the question ‘What is this world I live in and how does it all work’? Physics teaches us a method of systematic thinking and the theories necessary to allow us to find an answer. It is the theories of physics that provide us with our understanding of space, time, matter and energy and indeed the fundamental particles from which everything is made. The theories of cosmology tell us how the universe began and how it could possibly end.
The main aims of the department are to foster an interest and enthusiasm for the subject in every year group, to promote an understanding of fundamental principles and consolidate ideas by providing a stimulating environment where students can learn, investigate and develop their sense of wonder of the world around them.
The teachers' passion and enthusiasm for physics is communicated to the girls, giving them confidence in the subject. Above all, we provide a supportive and caring service for each girl, taking their individual needs into account. We use a wide range of activities in lessons, encouraging the girls to question and experiment in order to further their understanding of the subject. We love to try out new ideas and approaches to teaching and learning and encourage the girls to develop and experiment with their own ideas. Class work is complemented by stimulating outings, lectures and competitions such as the Physics Olympiad.
Studying physics develops knowledge and skills which last a lifetime, including excellent analytical and quantitative skills, a practical approach to problem solving and the ability to communicate well.