Twenty students from AS physics ventured north to Lancaster University for a Physics Experience Day.

Lancaster University physics department is rated second in the UK in the Guardian university league table. Students from Loreto heard about current research into the lucrative area of nanotechnology, where researchers are creating new security systems with the aid of quantum mechanics. Students participated in interactive demonstrations with liquid nitrogen, ringing a lead bell with a rubber tube and observing the effect of superconductors. Students’ understanding of materials and forces was reinforced, and the demonstrations were amazing and amusing.

Students had time to explore the campus, and enjoy the quiet of the countryside location. A whistle stop tour of the low-temperature labs and the research laboratories gave students a greater insight into the working life of a physicist. After lunch students were introduced to more PhD students who assisted them with conducting first-year undergraduate experiments. This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to apply their current understanding to some fundamental investigations. They measured the charge on an electron, calculated the speed of sound in air and studied the photoelectric effect. The day was wrapped up with a presentation on space science and present-day research into the Jovian aurora. Students departed from Lancaster with a greater appreciation of university physics, feeling inspired about their university applications and ready for the challenge of A2 physics.