ODU Resources

Updated for the 2018 changes

Part 1, containing notes, tutorials and practicals



Part 2 of the notes in word format, you can adapt these if you can open them.

These are part 2 of the notes in pdf format, so you all ought to be able to open them.


Well after spending 18 months or more several years ago putting everything together students have unanimously declared they want everything separated, so your wish is my command students- here is the complete Our Dynamic Universe section notes with nothing but the essential practicals plus one!

These are part 1 of the notes in pdf format, so you all ought to be able to open them. There is a word version underneath.

These are part 1 of the notes in word format, you can adapt these if you can open them.


Teamwork by Mr Stewart (Berwickshire HS) and I. He designed and made them and I tweaked them. Thanks Mr Stewart they’re ace!

Thanks Mr R Stewart- what a team!

Thanks Mr R Stewart!

For those having trouble with Unit 1 part 1 try this little document

1. 1a Equations of motion

1. 1a Equations of motion

I’ve removed the Time Dilation detailed version and added it as a separate document as I suspect most of you wont read them; which is a pity as it makes everything seem fine! Based on Russell Stannard’s excellent book “Relativity- a very short introduction” Oxford. (2008)  ISBN 978–0–19–923622–0)

ODU worked ANSWERS_4 Currently the most up to date version of the worked answers.

ODU worked ANSWERS_4 The pdf version of the most up to date version of the worked answers.

Additional Support

Chapter 1 exam questions B for CFE higher

Chapter 1 exam Answers B for CFE higher

These are powerpoints prepared for the Revised Higher in 2000. They are still relevant now, and talk through example questions. They are great for revision.

It might be old, but sometimes the old ones are the best. Link for the ppp below!

Linked to some talking questions and answer. ppp below

For those struggling with the vectors try these to give you some practice Great Resource from Mr Crookes. Set up your 2 vectors, either use a scale diagram or components and compare to the given answer. Enjoy!

If you don’t like proving v2=u2+2as from v=u+at then use this neat little sheet from Mr Mackenzie.

A lovely little summary from G Gibb!

Equations of Motion

4.4 ODU EqoM 2012 this document has the macros enabled (actually I think you might need to contact me to get the macros, they are not allowed to be uploaded on a WordPress Website. It allows you to check your answers for the acceleration time graphs that you drew from the velocity time graph diagrams.

using displacement equation to prove the last equation

Click on the image to open a power point of Adding Vectors.

Forces, Energy and Power


africanfastfood This is an introduction to the momentum topic; think about the collision and where the energy is transferred.

Collisions- Think Safety before buying a car!


Projectiles thanks to Mr. Rossi for this one.

Battleships & AWACS Projectiles thanks to Mr. Rossi for this one too.

Special Relativity

Time dilation02

Cleonis [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

The green dots and red dots in the animation represent spaceships. The ships of the green fleet have no velocity relative to each other, so for the clocks onboard of the individual ships, the same amount of time elapses relative to each other, and they can set up a procedure to maintain a synchronized standard fleet time. The ships of the “red fleet” are moving with a velocity of 0.866 of the speed of light with respect to the green fleet.

The blue dots represent pulses of light. One cycle of light-pulses between two green ships takes two seconds of “green time”, one second for each leg.

{\displaystyle {\sqrt {3}}}

As seen from the perspective of the reds, the transit time of the light pulses they exchange among each other is one second of “red time” for each leg. As seen from the perspective of the greens, the red ships’ cycle of exchanging light pulses travels a diagonal path that is two light-seconds long. (As seen from the green perspective the reds travel 1.73 ({\displaystyle {\sqrt {3}}}) light-seconds of distance for every two seconds of green time.)The animation cycles between the green perspective and the red perspective, to emphasize the symmetry.

OnVelocities This is a document referred to in the Research Task in the ODU part 2 notes.

PHYSICS WORLD ARTICLE DECEMBER 2009 This is a document referred to in the Research Task in ODU part 2 notes

The Expanding Universe

The expanding universe powerpoints. Might not be quite the final version

This is the pdf version of the powerpoint

The above is the pdf version of the powerpoint

Are we missing something in the Expanding Universe?

AH (Doppler)– some of this is relevant to Higher.


The homework booklets are now in the HOMEWORK section.

Homework Booklet Complete pp6-8 (first question), 10-16, 18. Complete notes on Units prefixes and Sci Notation, Uncertainties, Equations of Motion. Read up on Forces.

Updated August 2019

Quantity, Symbol, Unit, Unit Symbol

Comments from the Workshop


Clicking on the link above will take you to the You Must Justify Questions that we didn’t have time for! Please look over this.


CfE Higher Revision Cards A4

Quantity, Symbol, Unit, Unit Symbol

I’ve put together, with Mrs Mac’s help, a document with quantity, symbol, unit and unit symbol so that you know the meaning of the terms in the Relationships Sheet. It is in EXCEL so that you can sort it by course, quantity or symbol.

Quantity, Symbol, Units the excel sheet

Quantity, Symbol, Units a pdf sheet sorted by course and then alphabetical by quantity.

This is the same information in readily available Tablepress form. If you click on the Higher tab at the top it should sort by terms that you need in alphabetical order, or search for a term. Let me know if I’ve missed any.

Quantity, Symbol, Unit, Unit Symbol Table for N5-AH

NHAPhysical Quantity symUnitUnit Abb.
5absorbed dose D gray Gy
5absorbed dose rate H (dot)gray per second gray per hour gray per year Gys-1 Gyh -1 Gyy-1
567acceleration a metre per second per second m s-2
567acceleration due to gravity g metre per second per second m s -2
5activity A becquerel Bq
567amplitude A metre m
567angle θ degree °
567area A square metre m 2
567average speedv (bar)metre per second m s-1
567average velocity v (bar)metre per second m s -1
567change of speed ∆v metre per second m s -1
567change of velocity ∆v metre per second m s-1
5count rate - counts per second (counts per minute) -
567current I ampere A
567displacement s metre m
567distance dmetre, light year m , ly
567distance, depth, height d or h metre m
5effective dose H sievert Sv
567electric charge Q coulomb C
567electric charge Q or q coulomb C
567electric current I ampere A
567energy E joule J
5equivalent dose H sievert Sv
5equivalent dose rate H (dot)sievert per second sievert per hour sievert per year Svs-1 Svh-1 Svy -1
567final velocity v metre per second m s-1
567force F newton N
567force, tension, upthrust, thrustF newton N
567frequency f hertz Hz
567gravitational field strength g newton per kilogram N kg-1
567gravitational potential energy Epjoule J
5half-life t1/2 second (minute, hour, day, year) s
56heat energy Eh joule J
567height, depth h metre m
567initial speed u metre per second m/s
567initial velocity u metre per second m s-1
567kinetic energy Ek joule J
567length l metre m
567mass m kilogram kg
5number of nuclei decayingN - -
567period T second s
567potential difference V volt V
567potential energy Ep joule J
567power P watt W
567pressure P or p pascal Pa
5radiation weighting factor wR- -
567radius r metre m
567resistance R ohm Ω
567specific heat capacity c joule per kilogram per degree Celsius Jkg-1°C -1
56specific latent heat l joule per kilogram Jkg-1
567speed of light in a vacuum c metre per second m s-1
567speed, final speed v metre per second ms -1
567speed, velocity, final velocity v metre per second m s-1
567supply voltage Vsvolt V
567temperature T degree Celsius °C
567temperature T kelvin K
567time t second s
567total resistance Rohm Ω
567voltage V volt V
567voltage, potential difference V volt V
567volume V cubic metre m3
567weight W newton N
567work done W or E Wjoule J
7angle θ radian rad
7angular acceleration aradian per second per second rad s-2
7angular displacement θ radian rad
7angular frequency ω radian per second rad s-1
7angular momentum L kilogram metre squared per second kg m2s -1
7angular velocity,
final angular velocity
ω radian per second rad s-1
7apparent brightnessbWatts per square metreWm-2
7back emfevolt V
67capacitance C farad F
7capacitive reactance Xcohm W
6critical angle θc degree °
density ρ kilogram per cubic metre kg m-3
7displacement s or x or y metre m
efficiency η - -
67electric field strength E newton per coulomb
volts per metre
N C-1
7electrical potential V volt V
67electromotive force (e.m.f) E or ε volt V
6energy level E1 , E2 , etcjoule J
feedback resistance Rfohm Ω
focal length of a lens f metre m
6frequency of source fs hertz Hz
67fringe separation ∆x metre m
67grating to screen distance D metre m
7gravitational potential U or V joule per kilogram J kg-1
half-value thickness T1/2 metre m
67impulse (∆p) newton second
kilogram metre per second
7induced e.m.f. E or ε volt V
7inductor reactanceXLohm W
7initial angular velocity ω oradian per second rad s-1
input energy E ijoule J
input power Piwatt W
input voltage V1 or V2 volt V
input voltage V ivolt V
6internal resistance r ohm Ω
67irradiance I watt per square metre W m-1
7magnetic induction B tesla T
7moment of inertia I kilogram metre squared kg m2
67momentum p kilogram metre per second kg m s-1
6number of photons per second per cross sectional area N - -
number of turns on primary coil np- -
number of turns on secondary coil ns- -
6observed wavelengthλobservedmetrem
output energy Eo joule J
output power Powatt W
output voltage Vo volt V
6peak current Ipeak ampere A
6peak voltage V peak volt V
7phase angle Φ radian rad
67Planck’s constant h joule second Js
7polarising angle
(Brewster’s angle)
ipdegree ̊
power (of a lens) P dioptre D
power gain Pgain - -
7Power per unit areaWatts per square metreWm-2
primary current Ip ampere A
primary voltage Vpvolt V
7radial acceleration ar metre per second per second m s-2
67refractive index n - -
6relativistic lengthl'metrem
6relativistic timet'seconds
rest mass mo kilogram kg
6rest wavelengthλrestmetrem
6root mean square current I rmsampere A
6root mean square voltage Vrmsvolt V
7rotational kinetic energy Erotjoule J
7schwarzchild radiusrSchwarzchildmetrem
secondary current Is ampere A
secondary voltage Vsvolt V
7self-inductance L henry H
67slit separation d metre m
7tangential acceleration atmetre per second per second m s-2
6threshold frequency fohertz Hz
7time constanttseconds
7torque Τ newton metre Nm
7uncertainty in Energy∆E jouleJ
7uncertainty in momentum∆px kilogram metre per second kgms-1
7uncertainty in position∆x metre m
7uncertainty in time∆t seconds
6velocity of observer vometre per second m s-1
6velocity of source vsmetre per second m s-1
voltage gain - - -
voltage gain Ao or V gain - -
6work functionWjouleJ


Revision Plan

28/02/18. If you’re stuck inside- DON’T go on your X-boxes, PS4 or whatever the latest number try doing some timed papers.

To the student’s sister who needs the Quantity, Units, Symbols etc .I’ve uploaded the old pre-CfE version and you can just add the additional few. Check out Int1-AH many are relevant. Missing would be t’, l’ etc.

quantity symbol sheet 

If there is a snow day tomorrow, use the time to look at the EMF material and the test will be as soon as we get back.


This is a ten week revision plan, put together by Mr A Riddell from “up North”. It will give you some ideas on how to break up the daunting task of revision. You don’t have to complete this in the same order, but it does give an indication of how much you need to cover in one week.

Study Plan Higher Physics word

Study Plan Higher Physics pdf



Electricity Unit Plan

Wednesday21st February 2018Intro to ElectricityVdG and Measuring frequency
Thurs22nd February 2018Chapter 3a.c and d.c and peak voltage
Friday23rd February 2018PracticalComparing a.c and d.c traces
Monday26th February 2018Chapter 4I,V, P and R
Wednesday28th February 2018Chapter 5EMF
Thurs1st March 2018ASSESSMENTUASP
Friday2nd March 2018EMFEMF practical- can be used as a O1
Monday5th March 2018Go through UASP
Wednesday7th March 2018EMF
Thurs8th March 2018Chapter 6Capacitance boards, C=Q/V Charging and Discharging
Friday9th March 2018Capacitance Capacitance boards, C=Q/V Charging and Discharging
Monday12th March 2018Charging and discharging, uses
Wednesday14th March 2018Tutorials
Thurs15th March 2018
Friday16th March 2018Chapter 7Semiconductors
Monday19th March 2018Band theory (urgh sorry!)
Wednesday21st March 2018
Thurs22nd March 2018
Friday23rd March 2018Chapter 8pn junctions
Monday26th March 2018
Wednesday28th March 2018ASSESSMENTUASP
Thurs29th March 2018

Here is the lesson by lesson end to the course. Nearly there! Stick with it guys and get revising!

What is the Biggest Ever Redshift?

A discussion on the Physics Teachers’ Network requested advice on “What is the biggest ever redshift detected?”

Research shows it was a redshift, z = 11.09 for galaxy GN-z11; and the measurements were  taken in the near infra red using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera. 

This is a big question because effectively we are seeing the furthest galaxy back in time.  It is 32.2 billion years away and came into existence 400 million years after big bang.  So if the Universe is only 13.8 billion years old then how come we can see something so far away?

During this time the Universe was opaque and full of neutral atoms.

Professor Martin Hendry supplied an interesting reply.

In some cases we can determine the redshift of a galaxy by measuring the wavelength of a particular spectral line that corresponds to a particular transition of an electron in a hydrogen atom.  For example the Lyman alpha emission line is the result of an electron dropping down from the n=2 energy level to the n=1 energy level, and the presence of this spectral line is often seen as an indicator of a recent burst of new stars forming as one might expect to see in a very young, recently formed galaxy.  (This line was proposed as a tell-tale sign of a very young galaxy by Bruce Partridge and Jim Peebles – awarded the Nobel Prize for physics this week: see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman-alpha_emitter).  This line has a wavelength of 121.567 nm in the rest frame of the hydrogen atom.  If a galaxy is a strong Lyman alpha emitter, and the line is observed at wavelength lambda, then by comparing the observed wavelength with the 121nm at which it was emitted we can measure the redshift of the galaxy.

(Of course if this spectral line is redshifted then how do you know it’s a Lyman alpha line?  Likewise for any other spectral line.  Often it’s the combination of several spectral lines and their relative spacing that gives the game away – a bit like a bar code in the supermarket.  You could imagine enlarging the image of a bar code in a photocopied and, generally, it’d still be recognisable as the overall pattern would still be the giveaway).

In fact for this record-holding galaxy, the redshift was determined a slightly different way, from the Lyman series but not the Lyman alpha line and not from an emission line but an *absorption* line: specifically it was determined from the “Lyman break” – i.e. the limiting wavelength that corresponds to the amount of photon energy you need to absorb to allow an electron in the n=1 energy level to escape from its hydrogen atom altogether.   That is a higher energy (and so a higher frequency, and a shorter wavelength) than the Lyman alpha line, and in fact corresponds to about 91 nm in the rest frame of the hydrogen atom.   Any photons that have even higher energies (and thus even shorter wavelengths) than this get absorbed by the (lots of) neutral hydrogen that is around in the Universe at that time; these photons thus *ionise* that neutral hydrogen.  This is sometimes referred to as “re-ionisation” in the sense that the universe was fully ionised when it was much younger, because it was much hotter, then it cools enough for neutral hydrogen to form – i.e. when the CMBR was emitted – and now it’s being ionised again.  Where are the high-energy photons coming from to do this ionising (being absorbed in the process)?  They are believed to come from hot young stars – i.e. the newly formed stars in these young galaxies.  (Remember, the more massive the star the hotter their surface temperature, so massive blue stars emit lots more of these energetic photons than cooler red stars do).

So, in summary, the spectrum of light from a galaxy as a whole drops off at the Lyman break, like a “cliff edge” because at shorter wavelengths than the Lyman break these photons get absorbed, ionising the hydrogen gas in their environments.

You can then play the same game as with an emission line: look for where this “cliff edge” appears in the observed spectrum and then use that observed wavelength (which will be much longer than 91nm) to estimate the redshift.

The research paper on GN-z11 is at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1603.00461.pdf, and is actually pretty readable I think…

Other references:



Another clear explanation from Prof. Hendry, who never makes us teachers feel silly for asking questions. Thanks to Mr Thomson and his student for the original question.

homework for Thurs 2

Continuing on from previous homework

Week 1 – 14th December

  1. Complete the Tutorials for the Charged Particles in Fields Chapter.
  2. Research the background for your Physics Assignment. Make some notes on this that you can take in to the assessment phase
  3. Read through the General Marking Information for your Assignment

Week 2 – 21st December

  1. You ought to have done at least 2 hours revision this week and for some of you, very much more! your prelim will be on all of Our Dynamic Universe, and Book 1 of Particles and Waves. Don’t forget to revise your Uncertainties materials as that can be tested too!
  2. Ensure your O1 is written up, and passed including your uncertainties.

Week 3 – 4th January

By now you ought to have done many hours of revision. I know it’s Christmas, but you’ll get your present as a belated present in August after you’ve done well on the 8th May. Bring a list of questions and points that you need to go over.

Week 4 – 11 th January

  1. By now you ought to have done many more hours of revision.  Bring a list of questions and points that you need to go over.
  2. Prepare to write up your assignment next week so have everything ready, including finishing your experiment, you’ll need to come up after school if it has not been completed yet. Arrange through your teacher!

Week 5 -18th January

  1. Complete your Assignment Write up, if you’ve not time in class, you maust be supervised by your teacher. Check out for times on the notice board.
  2. Do the Particles and Waves section questions from the homework folder Homeworks 9a, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, MARK THESE from the mark scheme in the Revision Section





Here I will post a few tips and hints to remember when answering SQA Higher Papers, hopefully they’ll be quick, snappy and memorable. You’ve got the whole of the Scottish Physics Teachers’ Community Wisdom Below!

  1. How to remember Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (spell the whole lot not CMBR, as this isn’t a name) However, the way to remember CuMBRia.
  3. Obviously you know- no secs in Physics, just stick to unit symbols and save all the problems of spelling.
  4. Fundamental Particles: Key point: it is not that they can be used to make bigger ‘things’, but rather that they are not made from smaller things.
  5. Strong force (associated with the gluon) acts over a very short distance.
  6. The gravitational force extends over very large/infinite distances.
  7. Neutrons don’t carry/have (net) charge so cannot be accelerated/guided/ deflected by magnetic fields.
  8. Remember: SIG FIG, your final answer should be rounded up to the same number of significant figures as the LEAST significant measurement.
  9. Don’t forget to revise your uncertainties.
  10. Make sure you see the words “end of question paper”. Don’t assume you’ve got to the end and there are no questions on the very last page!
  11. “Show” questions – means show correct formula, working and numerical answer stated as given in the question.
  12. Don’t leave anything blank! If you really don’t know, give it a go – you never know.
  13. The questions in the exam sections (MC and then extended answers) are in approximately the same order as the equation sheet.
  14. LIST: given numbers with the correct symbols before doing a calculation. Or as we say IESSUU (information, Equation, Substitution, Solution, Units and Underline)
  15. Substitute then rearrange.
  16. Read all of the question, especially that bit you skipped over at the start.
  17. Don’t forget units! It’s now worth at least 33% of a calculation!
  18. This will do for now more to come as they arise……Check out the past paper marking instructions for do’s and  don’ts- its full of them in that second column!

Here are some top tips for Revision from Mr Dawson from Wallace Hall Academy- thanks

H Revision Pupil Questions pdf version

H Revision Pupil Questions word version

img src=”https://s.gravatar.com/avatar/e1515b0c027eaeaaa7232dae92981146?s=80″ /> Signature

October Test

October / November assessment covering

UPSN, Uncerts, Scalars & Vectors, Equations of Motion, Projectiles, Forces including down a slope, Energy and Power, Gravitation and possibly some Special Relativity.

(Basically the Introduction booklet, ODU Book 1 and part of ODU book 2)