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education manager at the Institute of Physics

I really enjoyed physics at school. There was a point, towards the end of what was then O-levels, when I felt that I understood physics. I guess I have my physics teacher to thank for this, although I think that some of my mathematics teachers should also take responsibility. This feeling diminished as I continued to study physics, and was only partially resurrected when I began teaching physics.

My memory of our physics lessons was that we worked very much at our own pace, doing lots of practical work. This practical work was carefully designed to build up our understanding of physics, by taking us from experiments to ideas. When we came to take examinations, it seemed that we did not need to revise, because we understood the physics.

This was a very pleasant contrast to other subjects. Unfortunately, it has since been eroded by a greater focus on learning the names of laws and formulae, rather than being able to use laws and formulae.

Another real bonus remember was not doing homework for physics. So perhaps I chose to do physics less because of inspiration, and more in order to avoid the perspiration of hard work.