Teacher CPD session at Lancaster University Physics Department
In October 2019, teachers of physics gathered at the physics department of Lancaster University for an event entitled Star Trek Physics. Dr Chris Arridge, vice chair of the European Space Agency and a planetary physicist at the university discussed how the proposed space probe to Uranus will power itself. The group tested out and improved worksheets for accessibility to A-level physics students, including activities such as choosing the radioactive isotope which could be used for the RTG (Radioactive Thermoelectric Generator) and how big a solar panel would have to be if it were to capture its energy needs from the Sun.
The group discussed sling shot trajectories and how momentum can be gained from a fly past planet or star with IOP Coach Dave Cotton
Dr Ian Bailey, an accelerator physicist, used his knowledge of general relativity to lead a discussion on the Warp Drive and the possibility for superluminal (faster than the speed of light) travel.
Other worksheets included some calculations on the feasibility of a space elevator and artificial gravity including circular motion.
Good speaker. Engaged audience and answered questions at the right level
Real research and ideas for links to curriculum .. great!
Links nicely with special relativity and makes teaching the topic more interesting
More teacher CPD
Phil's next teacher CPD event is on February 17th 2020. This session will concentrate on developing resources for the Thermal Physics section of the A-level syllabus. The theme, Low Temperature Physics, will include the story told by Prof George Pickett of his quest to design an experiment which will take bulk matter down to the world record of the lowest temperature of the longest time.