Physics Summer School

Milky Way Galaxy over hills“The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it. They remind us that human beings have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, and that knowledge is a prerequisite to survival.”           

Carl Sagan


Physics attempts to explain the natural world, from the smallest quantum particles to the largest spiral galaxies, from the inner workings of your laptop computer to the dazzling explosion of a dying star. Physicists look at the big questions: Why are we here? How did the universe begin? How will it end? What is everything made from? Why is the past different from the future? Are we alone in the Universe? It is by asking these questions, and seeking answers, that human beings have begun to understand and appreciate the underlying fabric of reality.

The Physics Summer School is an opportunity for students to explore some of the most exciting and challenging ideas in contemporary physics. Each course consists of a structured 5-day programme covering a selection of interesting and diverse topics, ranging from black holes and time travel to the search for exo-planets and life outside our solar system. This Summer School is particularly appropriate for students who may be considering further study of physics, mathematics or engineering at undergraduate level, or who are interested in related disciplines such as chemistry or computing.

Physics Summer School – Part 1 focuses on Classical Mechanics and Astrophysics and is open to students aged 15-18. As part of this programme students will learn how to estimate the number of particles in the universe; design spaceships to Mars; search for exo-planets in distant solar systems; calculate the size of the observable universe; measure the temperature of the sun’s surface using a desk lamp; determine the composition of stars by analysing their light, and predict the fate of the universe using the Second Law of thermodynamics.

A full schedule for this course can be seen here.

Physics Summer School – Part 2 focuses on Quantum Mechanics and Relativity and requires that students have completed a minimum of one year of A-Level Mathematics (or equivalent) at the time of the course. As part of this challenging programme, students will learn how to use the Schrödinger equation to predict the energy levels of the Hydrogen atom; determine the properties of the quantum vacuum using Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle; measure the curvature of space and time using Einstein’s theory of relativity; calculate the expansion rate of the universe; explore the mysteries of dark matter; determine the Schwarzschild radius of black holes and explore the mysteries of ten-dimensional superstring theory.

A full schedule for this course can be found here.

Classes are small, typically containing twelve to fourteen students, all of whom will share a passion for physics and a curiosity to build on their existing knowledge and embrace new ideas. Classes will consist of a combination of lectures, group discussions, team games and problem sets, creating a comfortable environment for students to share ideas amongst their peers and to progress from their existing knowledge toward more challenging material. An expert Tutor will lead each session in a seminar format, but learning will be largely student-led wherever practical.

Please note that, although both courses complement each other, they may be treated as independent events and there is no requirement to have attended Part 1 in order to attend Part 2. Part 2 of the course will offer a strong mathematical component and an undergraduate approach to learning, helping students to make informed decisions about continuing in the study of physics, as well as bridging the educational gap between secondary school and university.

‘The Debate Chamber Physics course was both challenging and stimulating and one which provided a firm grounding on some cutting edge, modern physics. We were taught about both the very large and very small, from special and general relativity to quantum mechanics and the philosophical interpretations of the measurement problem. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone contemplating studying the subject at university or to anyone who just wants to learn some physics!’

‘The course was brilliant; usually complex and abstract topics in Physics were explained to you in the space of five days! The courses built upon the knowledge you had and decided to push you a little extra. They really inspired me to further research more complex topics in Physics in greater detail.’

‘Challenging, but great fun, the Physics course was a fantastic opportunity to gain a better insight into some of the fundamental principles that govern our world, giving me a better idea of what Physics at University might be like. From learning about the rather abstract world of Quantum Mechanics to discussing black holes and even teleportation, the course left me astounded by both the amount we already know, and how much we have yet to discover! I really enjoyed the five days, working with two talented tutors and meeting some other like-minded students. Overall, an incredible week.’

Practical Details

Part 1 of the course is open to all students aged 15-18, and Part 2 is open to students who have completed a minimum of AS Mathematics (or equivalent) at the time of the course.

Part 1 of the course will take place 16th – 20th July (and repeated 13th – 17th August) 2018.

Part 2 of the course will take place 23rd – 27th July (and repeated 20th – 24th August) 2018.

The venue for this course is the University of London, Bloomsbury Campus, Central London – you can see more venue and travel details here.

The cost of the Physics Summer School is £495 per student for five days, or book both Parts of the course (if eligible) for £850. Please note that accommodation is not included, and must be arranged independently if required.

Partial fees bursaries are available for students who would otherwise face financial barriers to attending the course – please see here for details.

To book a place or places at the Physics Summer School, or if you have any further questions, simply call on 0845 519 4827, email, or book online.

Book Your Place

Select your dates below – if you would like to attend more than one Part of the course then please add each Part to your basket, and the correct total price will be displayed at the checkout stage.