Physics

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. It forms the basis of our understanding of the Universe and provides an excellent general knowledge base for understanding the physical world. It gives you a real edge in the modern world that is increasingly dependent on scientific advances. It provides skills for life in problem solving, practical skills, synthesising information and linking ideas.

Staff List

Dr K Puech - Head of Department
Dr Puech joined St Catherine’s in 2001 after having worked in Optical Communications in Germany and the UK. Her special area of interest in Physics is lasers and nonlinear optics, which she studied for her PhD. A glutton for punishment, she enjoys training for and participating in triathlons. Her main interest, though, is relaxing and spending time with her family.
email: kathleen.puech@stcatherines.info


Mrs J Cringle - Physics Technician
Mrs Cringle joined the school in January 2002 having previously worked as a Physics Technician at Woking 6th Form College. She has also worked at the Trace Elements Laboratory University of Surrey (part of the Biochemistry department at the RSCH). She enjoys helping organise events for charities including the HALOW Project and The MS Society. In her free time she likes swimming.
email: julia.cringle@stcatherines.info


Mrs J Deakin
Mrs Deakin joined St Catherine’s in 2014 as Director of Studies. She holds a Physics degree from the University of London where she also enjoyed a stint in research, studying the magnetism of rare earth magnetic multilayers. Mrs Deakin is a keen musician and singer and when she is not plugged into her computer can usually be found on the water or on horseback, usually accompanied by family members
email: jacki.deakin@stcatherines.info


Dr A Suleman
Completed an MSci degree in Physics in 2012 at University College London, followed by a PhD in Condensed Matter and Material Physics conducted at London Centre for Nanotechnology, before joining St. Catherine’s in 2016. Apart from Physics, his other passion is football.
email:asif.suleman@stcatherines.info


Mrs A Wakefield
After her degree in Pure & Applied Physics at the University of Nottingham, Mrs Wakefield travelled extensively in Africa and France before becoming a partner in a successful adventure holiday company. Raised in a boys’ boarding school in Surrey, she returned to the world of teaching after over 20 years in business. In any precious spare time she loves to ski, train for triathlons, learn new languages and spend time with her family.
email:anne-marie.wakefield@stcatherines.info

Curriculum - AS/A Level

Examination Board: OCR A

AS Specification

A Level Specification

Why study Physics?

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. It forms the basis of our understanding of the Universe and provides an excellent general knowledge base for understanding the physical world. It gives you a real edge in the modern world that is increasingly dependent on scientific advances. It provides skills for life in problem solving, practical skills, synthesising information and linking ideas.

Course Content

AS Level: A mixture of taking familiar topics further and encountering some that are totally new, including Quantum Physics and photons.

  • Assessment: 2 x 1h 30min papers (Breadth in Physics and Depth in Physics)
  • Practical Work: Carried out and assessed in lessons.

A Level: You will study all of the material for the AS course as well as more advanced topics such as electric, magnetic and gravitational fields, simple harmonic motion, astrophysics, particle physics and medical physics.

  • Assessment: 
    • 2 x 2h 15min papers (Modelling Physics and Exploring Physics)
    • 1 x 1h 30min paper (Unified Physics)
  • Practical Work: Carried out and assessed in lessons. Marked on a Pass/Fail basis

Curriculum - IGCSE

Examination Board: Edexcel

IGCSE Specification

In the fifth form, students choose to study either Dual Award Science or Separate Science.

Both qualifications cover the same core material, but Separate Science Physicists will also cover extra material on Electrostatics, Magnetism, Transformers and Pressure Laws. Separate Scientists take both Papers 1 and 2 and will cover all content. Dual award scientists only take Paper 1, so do not cover the material in bold on the Syllabus Specification. 

Topics include:

  • Forces and Motion
  • Electricity
  • Electromagnetism
  • Waves
  • Energy Resources and Energy Transfer
  • Solids, Liquids and Gases
  • Radioactivity and Particles
  • Astrophysics

 

Curriculum - KS3

In Middle School, Physics lessons, students develop their practical skills, start to gain confidence with Physical formulae and units, and gain a fundamental grasp of the concepts of Physics, all of which provide a necessary foundation for the IGCSE course.

U3 topics

  • Radioactivity
  • Electricity
  • Solids, Liquids and Gases
  • Magnetism and Electromagnetism

L4 topics

  • Energy
  • Forces and Motion
  • Earth and Beyond
  • Magnetism
  • Solids, Liquids and Gases

U4 topics

  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Radioactivity
  • Solids, Liquids and gases

University

Physics at A-level is a very robust and diverse subject and, as a result, you can study a huge range of degrees at University. Common degree areas that our A level Physicists pursue include Architecture, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Biophysics, Chemical Physics, Computer Science, Cybernetics, Education, Ergonomics, Geophysics, Materials Science and Technology, Medical Physics, Meteorology, Nanotechnology, Naval Architecture, Oceanography, Optometry, Photonics, Planetary Science, Quantum Informatics, Radiography, Renewable Energy. Also many fields of engineering including, Aeronautical, Automotive, Biomedical, Civil, Communications, Electrical/Electronic, Mechanical, Telecommunications, and broad-based Engineering Science.

A Physics-related degree will make you a very attractive candidate for jobs that require analytical skills such as management consultancy and jobs in the financial sector.

Trips

New Scientist Live - 6th Form Annual trip:

 “The world’s most exciting festival of ideas for anyone and everyone with a curious mind”

CERN - 6th Form trip every two years:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research in Europe. 

Thorpe Park - U5 Annual trip:

This trip consolidates the Energy topic in IGCSE, learning about the kinetic energy to potential energy transfers.  Girls complete a worksheet through the day using the calculations from the rides they take themselves.  They also download an app to collect additional data. 

Website Links

Reading Lists

  1. Bad Science, Ben Goldacre, Covers media misrepresentations of science, with a particular focus on medicine.
  2. Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality, John Gribbin, attempts to explains the mysteries of modern quantum mechanics in a popular-scientific way.
  3. Big Bang: The Most Important Scientific Discovery of All Time and Why You Need to Know About it, Simon Singh
  4. The God delusion, Richard Dawkins.
  5. Unweaving the rainbow, Richard Dawkins
  6. The language instinct, Steven Pinker, argues that humans are born with an innate capacity for language.
  7. Surely You're Joking, Mr.Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character, Ralph Leighton, Richard P. Feynman, edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.
  8. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  9. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
    "I read this book whilst studying A-level Physics, and it really got me interested and intrigued in the subject in a big way. It introduced me to some of the mind-boggling theories of modern Physics and got me to think about completely new and exciting concepts. It also has the positive attribute of avoiding mathematical proofs, so anyone can understand very complex Physics ideas." - Miss Allcoat.
  10. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: with only a primary education, old physics text books and access to a junk yard William Kamkwamba sets about building his own wind-turbine. This book describes the struggles doing this whilst living in famine torn Malawi. Inspirational!