Physics Beyond Science Club
PhysicsBeyond is a co-curricular activity developed for year 12 & 13 students with an interest in Physics and Maths who would like to explore the subject beyond the school syllabus. Students develop Physics from a researcher's point of view, learn how to use the programming language Python and are encouraged to pursue individual research projects. They can also participate in a journal club run in collaboration with the University of Warwick as well as in separate interactive seminars exploring high-level topics in Physics and Maths of their interest. In addition to the above they are given access to an extensive collection of carefully selected online resources, physics and mathematical challenges as well as guides on how to pursue physics in the 21st century to help them direct and develop their interest in the subject.
The aim of PhysicsBeyond is to help develop 21st century leaders in STEM by:
· Aiding students to develop excellent analytical thinking and problem-solving skills whilst learning how to think as a researcher.
· Teaching students how science is developed and encouraging them to become enlightened and exploratory thinkers while they engage with research papers in the journal club.
· Developing the students’ computer programming skills whilst learning to write computer simulations in Python and exploring how simulations of theoretical models can be used to analyse and understand real life problems in physics and engineering.
PhysicsBeyond is run by one of our Physics and Maths teachers at St Albans School who is still active in research and has many links to academics working at universities and in industry. Being aware of the challenges STEM is facing in the 21st century he has designed and refined PhysicsBeyond over the last four years to help students to prepare for those challenges ahead and support them in developing their interests and skills effectively.
Students can participate remotely by joining the Microsoft Team which provides them with access to all the necessary resources and the online lessons and meetings. Sessions are recorded for those students who are unable to attend the timetabled slot (a weekly after-school session per activity). They will then receive an invitation to Microsoft Teams where the remote learning sessions are run and via which they can access all the resources. Following this they may then select which activities they wish to complete. All activities are free of charge.
Students and parents are asked for feedback twice per academic year. The activities on offer continue being developed based on the feedback received.
100% of the participating students have stated that PhysicsBeyond has changed their view of Physics and Maths positively and 93% have confirmed that it has strengthened their resolve to study a STEM based subject at university.
Students have been “inspired to start learning to code”, “learning to think more independently” and appreciate “how it is different from school physics” as well as “How challenging the course is. It doesn't look at what we are currently doing in sixth form but how to actually think a researcher and gives us the freedom to look at a bunch of aspects of physics to investigate and research about.”
These are some of the comments from last year:
"Thank you for everything in PhysicsBeyond this year, you have really ignited my interest in extending my knowledge of physics and I have truly enjoyed your lessons."
"Thank you for a year of exceptional teaching. You pushed me above and beyond anything I thought I would be able to do at A-level, and opened up countless new scientific avenues for exploration. I will take this analytical and thorough way of working through to my degree, where I'm sure it will stand me in good stead, so thank you again."
Year 12 and 13 Pupils studying Physics and/or Maths A' Levels
There are currently 4 activities in PhysicsBeyond, each has one session per week:
Physics from a Researcher’s Point of View year 12
Physics from a Researcher’s Point of View year 13
Journal Club (year 12+13)
Steeplechase Seminars (year 12+13)
This is an ongoing weekly after-school activity during term-time.