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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory

Students in the Maxwell Lecture Theatre (July 2007)To address the problem of the decline of physics student numbers the Cavendish has created a major "schools physics development programme" and "university access initiative" calledThe Senior Physics Challenge.

This development programme has two main aims:

  • Many of the most able school and college students, with aptitude in maths a passion for physics, are not opting for physics at university. The students' misconception about physics at a higher level arises from the removal of much mathematically-based problem solving from the curriculum. 
    The proposed activities and material will hopefully dispel some of these myths about physics.
  • Universities seek fluency and ability in physical and mathematical analysis that are not given prominence in the current school physics syllabus. Some students and their schools are increasingly surprised and disadvantaged by the discrepancy between their expectations of higher physics and its reality. 
    The aim is to demystify and make more accessible to a wider range of students the transition from A-level to university physics in the UK.