Shrewsbury School

Physics & Astronomy

More detail about all of our academic faculties can be found in our Third Form Curriculum document, our Fourth Form Curriculum document (leading up to GCSE) and The Sixth Form and Beyond.

Head of Physics Faculty: Mrs A.E. Smiter   

Head of Astronomy Faculty: Dr M.S. Elliot

Physics is the science that attempts to describe how nature works using the language of mathematics.  Physics suits someone who is fascinated by how things work, by fundamental questions about the way the world is, and by the exactness of science which alone can try to uncover truths about the world.

At Shrewsbury students study Physics under the expert guidance of specialist teachers.  The Faculty is extremely well equipped and is housed in a modern building that includes access to extensive IT suites, a large science lecture theatre and an astronomical observatory.

There have been a number of trips and visits in recent years including:  Physics in Action workshops at Warwick University and IOP lectures at Birmingham University.  Project work and independent research play an important role at all levels and whilst preparation for external examinations is obviously a central aim, we have also achieved significant success in more demanding national and international competitions.   

In 2003 a team of five Sixth Formers was selected to represent the UK in the Finals of the International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT) in Sweden.  We shared third place - an outstanding achievement.  Since then teams from Shrewsbury School represented the UK in Switzerland in 2005, Slovakia in 2006, Korea in 2007, China in 2009, Germany in 2012, and Taiwan in July 2013. We were honoured to host the 27th IYPT on behalf of the United Kingdom at Shrewsbury School, 3rd - 10th July 2014. Please see the IYPT news item on this website for more information and visit the IYPT website:  In 2015 we represented the UK for the ninth time in 13 years at the IYPT in Thailand, where the team won a bronze medal.

Our engineers have also been successful in the RAF Aerospace Challenge and our astronomers have participated successfully in several national competitions. Students have also won silver and gold medals in the Physics Olympiad and Physics Challenge competitions.

Every year a significant number of physicists are successful in applications to Oxbridge.  However, not all pupils find Physics easy and there is plenty of support for those who find some of the concepts challenging - either directly from a pupil's teacher or by signing up for a 'clinic'.

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