Physics offers pupils fascinating courses at school, leading to stimulating careers in technology, environmental development, healthcare and medicine…. the opportunities are boundless. From the vastness of astronomy, astrophysics and the universe to the intricacies of sub-atomic particle Physics, pupils are entering an exciting area where an enormous source of knowledge still remains untapped.
The rocket is used to demonstrate Newton's Third Law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." When you walk you push on the ground and it then pushes back on you: that's what makes you move.
Skateboards and a piece of rope are used to demonstrate Newton's third Law. When one person on a skateboard pulls the rope which is held by a second person on a skateboard, both of them move towards the middle, even though only one person is actually trying to pull on the rope.
Form II Physics: After completing an integrated science course in Form I, pupils specialise in physics, studying diverse subjects such as heat, light, sound and force fields.
Intermediate II Physics: Forms III and IV now study this course instead of Standard Grade. Introducing the topics of mechanics, heat, electricity, electronics, waves, optics and radioactivity, the course also involves practical laboratory skills.
Higher Physics: Comprises 3 units in Mechanics and Properties of Matter, Electricity and Electronics, Radiation and Matter. Awareness of interaction between theory and practice develops objectivity and an investigative attitude.
Advanced Higher Physics: The course is divided into four units. These are Mechanics, Electrical Phenomena, Wave Phenomena and a Practical Investigation. Assessment of the first three is by SQA national tests. The Investigation Unit involves an in-depth practical project ; planning, carrying out and critical analysis of results. It gives pupils an ideal opportunity to explore an area of Physics in great detail and if possible foster relationships with outside agencies.
Click here to learn more about our collaboration with Strathclyde University for Advanced Higher Investigations
Other Courses: The Physics Department also offers "stand-alone" courses in Astrophysics, Medical Physics and Electrical Engineering.
Sir James Dewar
Dollar Academy's most famous former pupil is Sir James Dewar, the inventor of the vacuum flask. After graduating from Edinburgh University, Dewar worked to liquefy and then to solidify hydrogen, and by 1899 was able to cool solids to minus 260 Centigrade. He was one of the first to predict that electrical resistance would disappear at Zero Kelvins (-273.15 Centigrade).
Dewar's earliest vacuum flask was made of glass but not silvered. The vacuum was produced by gas absorption of charcoal made from coconut husk. The flask was not available commercially until 1904 when two German glass blowers formed the company Thermo GmbH. Little did Dewar realise that his scientific invention would soon be found in virtually every home.
In 1889, Dewar, along with Sir Frederick Abel, invented Cordite, an explosive that was to prove vital in the First World War. Sir James Dewar died in 1923.