Sine WaveSine Wave Physics Standard Grade is taught by Mr. C. McGinlay to pupils in third and fourth year.

What's in the Course?

There are 7 taught topics in all, covering telecommunications, human health, energy, space & astronomy, electricity, electronics and motion. The material is presented with a mixture of theoretical, practical and demonstration work, along with video clips and software. .X-ray Sun: Image of the Sun taken in X-ray, by SOHO spacecraftX-ray Sun: Image of the Sun taken in X-ray, by SOHO spacecraftThese areas of study encompass much of the traditional fundamentals of physics, such as waves, forces, electricity, magnetism, and energy along with more "modern" areas of nuclear medicine, renewable power generation, domestic electricity, and some basic electronics. The Health Physics topic generates a lot of interest since most pupils have awareness of X-rays, spectacles, noise pollution, cancer therapy, ultrasound etc. The space physics topic covers some very basic astronomy as well as revising some of the work on force and energy. We generally try to cover at least part of the astronomy material during the winter months, when hopefully pupils can take advantage of dark nights at home.

S3 Term Plan

Term Plan January - March 2012

At the end of last term, we did not have time to fit in the Using Electricity test, so we will begin with that.

Our main topic for the term will be Health Physics. This is a wide ranging topic, highly relevant to pupils since it concerns how physics is used to diagnose and treat medical problems. We begin by looking at body temperature, followed by an outline of how our hearing works. This extends to ultrasound applications. There is a lot of work on vision and eye function. The electromagnetic spectrum is revisited from a medical applications view; infra-red, visible, ultra-violet light and x-rays. Finally we study ionising radiation (3 main types) and look at how radiation is used in diagnosis and treatment. There will be some opportunities for formal assessment of practical abilities as well as regular homework.


S4 Term Plan

Term January - March 2011

The prelims begin on the 9th of January and run for just over two weeks. In physics, we will use this time to tackle some of the practical ability tests. These are tackled individually, so are well suited to having a small number of pupils who happen to not be sitting an exam on a particular day.


After that, we will work on our last remaining full topic - which is Energy Matters, looking at fossil/renewable energy, power stations, electricity distribution and thermal physics. Among all this we will fit in two short practical projects, which will count towards the final exam.

Finally, if there's any time left, we'll spend a few days reviewing Space Physics topics and revising for the final exam.



College Catchup

For those pupils attending college, this page lists the work they have missed and should have completed for the following Monday.

Third Year

16th March. Activity 26. Using radiation in medicine. Watched "Radioactivity and Health" DVD.

2nd Mar. Endoscope. Total internal reflection.

17th Feb. Refraction through a rectangular prism.

20th Jan. More work on the oscilloscope:

9th Dec. Demo of creating motion from an electric current and permanent magnet.

2nd Dec. Looked at car wiring, chassis earth. No new HW set.

25th Nov. Reviewed homework. Discussed discharge tubes.

Fourth Year

16th March - Completed spec heat exercise on page 22/23 of workbook. Read PTA 180-183 for background info. Homework set.

9th March - checked over calculations on transformers (finish these). Started thermal physics work.

2nd March - tried a few more of the transformer calculations in the booklet.

22nd February - Radioactive waste. Calculations on pages 12-15.

17th February - Efficiency calculation practice (page 12/13)

10th February - EM induction and the generator. and

January - No catch up - prelims for most of the month.

16th Dec. Do this past paper:

8th Dec. Colour mixing rules for light. Workbook pages 24-30. Watched satellite communication video.

2nd Dec. Checking radio and TV block diagrams. Looking at construction of a single frame of black and white TV, along with line buildup, line flyback. No new HW set.

25th Nov. Demo of aerial and radio tuner.



Glossary of Terms

Copyright © Chris McGinlay 2006, redistribute under the GNU Free Documentation Licence if desired.

Facebook and Google+ Study Group Trials

Modern studies and physics departments are trialling the use of social networking for setting up study groups.


Physics Revision SG

Revision Classes

Running each Monday, 4-5pm. (Staff meeting finished at 4pm, pupils may wish to set up before this). This is a revision group, not for sitting doing homework, although if you are stuck on a particular question, it is fine to ask about it.


Timetable of Revision for Prelim

First, make sure that you know the main areas for revision, which are as follows:

Time Required
 Transport  3 weeks
 Using Electricity
 3 weeks
 Health Physics
 2 weeks
 Telecommunications  1 week
 Electronics  2 weeks
 Energy Matters
 1 week
 Past Papers
 3 weeks

These are my feelings as to how to distrubute your time. You may feel you need 1 week on Transport and 3 on Telecommunications.

For the Prelim, you will only have to revise the topis studied before January, so allow roughly 10 weeks. Start during the October Holidays.

For the final exam you must revise everything. However your revision for the prelims will still be reasonably fresh. Probably need to allow 12 weeks for final exam revision

The 2012 exam is on the 30th of April. To complete a proper revision programme means starting at the end of January. You would be aiming to spend around 1-2 hours on physics each week. Combine reviewing notes with trying (or retrying) selected questions. I recommend trying past papers once you have revised most of a topic.


  • Each topic has a revision / study guide issued at the start of the topic. This highlights the main learning outcomes.
  • All pupils have been offered a revision book. There may still be some left for sale.
  • SQA past papers can be obtained free of charge from the SQA website.

Physics Careers

These links should help you to see how physics can be used as part of your future career:


Older News

Recent news stories in physics and astronomy in reverse chronological order.

August 2008

Physics Web Resources

There are a vast range of resources online. Try these for a start:

General Interest




Space Physics / Astronomy


Health Physics

Energy Matters

Generally Useful Physics Links


Physics Related Video Clips

Some random physics related videos