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Physics

I am become death the destroyer of worlds.- J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1967) American theoretical physicist

Physics is the subject that attempts to understand the rules that make our universe work the way it does – the so-called ‘Laws of Physics’. We are not so much interested in ‘what’ happens but ‘why’ it happens. There is no end to the questions we have and no limit to just how awe-inspiring this subject can be. On a more practical level, understanding the rules of the universe has led to some of the world’s greatest technological inventions: electric lightbulbs, computers, MRI scanners and space rockets.

The Oakham Physics Department is a stimulating environment in which to work and study. It has superb resources and its teachers are experienced physicists with a range of specialisms and research backgrounds, who are all committed to inspiring in our pupils a love of Physics.

In the Lower School, pupils follow Oakham's own Science programme, which includes all three pure Sciences weaved into one coherent course.

In Forms 4 and 5, laboratory and investigative skills are developed via IGCSE Science with Single, Double and Triple Awards possible.

In the Upper School, students can study Physics at A-level or the International Baccalaureate, both of which require a deep level of understanding and a willingness from students to undertake their own research and analysis. Further Physics sessions are offered to all whose ambitions are set higher than the standard A-level diet.

All Form 6 and 7 Physics students are members of the Physics Society, which hosts regular lectures. In addition, we run a large number of extra-curricular opportunities through the year and such work has made the Department’s Oxbridge success second to none.

Each year, students are offered the opportunity to enter the British Physics Olympiad and the Senior Physics Challenge. Beyond these theoretical exams, we also make use of our extensive industrial links to open up engineering initiatives such as CREST and EES.

John Chilton

John Chilton

Head of Physics

I have been teaching for almost 33 years and IB for approximately 13 years. In addition I work with teachers and students across the world - teachers as an approved workshop leader (Physics) and students providing on-line teaching support. I also write two blogs – one for physics teachers and one for physics students. I simply love Physics - how could Physics not be one of the most captivating things I could do with my life - I am studying the rules that make our universe work the way it does, and I do this because it is fun - hard, but fun. And like all good physicists, I do this because it is hard - Physics is best when you can't do it - when it is so hard, that you have to struggle through, trying to do something that you can't initially do - because struggling to do things that we initially can't do, is often when we are at our best.Other professional aspects of my life include blogging, teachers training for three companies, IB Examiner, Extended Essay marker, IB Principal Examiner (Astronomy) and A-Level (Principal) Examiner. I have also been a university lecturer for over 20 years of my life.Finally, I have three degrees in Physics, one a PhD from Imperial College. I am a Chartered Physicist, having worked as a research physicist for approximately 13 years (mostly for the UK Ministry of Defence) and I have a wife, son, daughter and a Jack Russell!