Edexcel A Level Physics

Revision Notes

1.6 Applications of Science

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Applications of Science

Investigations & Evaluations

  • An application of science involves using scientific knowledge to carry out an investigation
    • For example, developing a new type of radiotherapy, which may also include further research based on prior scientific knowledge
  • Evaluating experimental methods is an important skill for a scientist and is appropriate to meet the expected outcomes of the experiment
  • A good way to evaluate an experimental design is by 
    • Repeating the experiment (using the instructions provided)
    • Determining the reproducibility of the experiment i.e. whether or not similar results can be achieved
  • This process is known as peer review
  •  All applications of science will have benefits and risks
  • For developing a new type of radiotherapy, designed to treat cancer, the benefits are clear that the treatment could potentially save lives
    • However, there are also risks with accidents occurring when using harmful radiation
  • All new technologies are therefore always tested thoroughly
    • When carrying out practical experiments in A-Level physics, the risks should be reduced as much as possible for everyone's safety
  • Some safety precautions include:
    • Wearing safety goggles when required
    • Not eating or drinking during experiments
    • Always keeping bags and chairs tucked away under desks to avoid someone tripping over in the classroom
    • Standing up for the duration of the experiment, in case a piece of apparatus falls off and to react quickly
    • No liquids kept around the apparatus, especially if they rely on electricity (e.g. circuits, oscilloscopes etc.)
    • Turning off the power supply in between readings for thin wires so they don't become too hot. This could cause a burn or, affect the results of the experiment from the change in temperature
    • A soft surface underneath anything falling (such as a ball bearing when calculating g), to protect surfaces
    • Attaching a clamp stand to the table surface to keep it rigid

Implications of Science

  • An implication of science is a consequence of the scientific knowledge
  • The implications could be:
    • Commercial - concerning money e.g. the funding for a scientific experiment
    • Legal - concerning law e.g. copyright protection for data collections
    • Ethical - concerning moral principles e.g. using animals, humans
    • Social - concerning society e.g. how the results affect all members of society (children, elderly, disabled etc.)
  • For example, when building a new power station, although this will provide an appropriate energy source, the implications could be:
    • Commercial - who pays to run and maintain the power station and how much will this cost
    • Legal - planning permissions to build the power station which requires a lot of land
    • Ethical - is it safe for the wildlife that live in the area
    • Social - how will the power station affect the people that live in the surrounding area in both health and economic prospects (e.g. providing more jobs)

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Katie M

Author: Katie M

Katie has always been passionate about the sciences, and completed a degree in Astrophysics at Sheffield University. She decided that she wanted to inspire other young people, so moved to Bristol to complete a PGCE in Secondary Science. She particularly loves creating fun and absorbing materials to help students achieve their exam potential.