The ability of a sunscreen to protect the user from UV radiation is defined as the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Some good EEIs have been done on looking at the effectiveness of sunscreens in blocking different wavelengths. It may be hard (and dangerous) to get a laboratory source of UV so you could do it with just the Sun. I've seen some done with light-sensitive paper to measure the sunlight getting through a thin film. Yr 12 Physics student at St Patrick's College, Mackay, Queensland, used different SFP sunscreens smeared on Gladwrap.
Some people say that warm water freezes before cool water but that seems to violate common sense and physics principles. This is known as the Mpemba effect, named after Tanzanian student Erasto Mpemba, who made this assertion in a paper published in 1969. Although there is anecdotal support for the effect, there is no agreement on exactly what the effect is and under what circumstances it occurs. At first sight, the behaviour seems contrary to thermodynamics. Many standard physical theory effects contribute to the phenomenon, although no single explanation is conclusive.
Yet there remains the question of what variables influence the frequency of the singing wine glass, and testing the frequency heard is just one aspect, and a little bit simple for a thorough going physicist. Is it the thickness of the glass? The volume of water, the height of water? The percentage of water from the top/bottom of the glass? Is it a coupling of the water to the glass? Is there a temperature effect? Is it predictable. Indeed, the holy grail of singing wine glasses is to arrive at a formula that predicts the frequency that might be heard, for well justified reasons. Your object ought to be to arrive at an answer. This might be discoverable using your fancy calculator, but that is maths (barely) not physics. In the end you should be able to provide reasons for its behaviour, based on your personal observations, and verifiable by prediction based on equations or by trend." If you think that the pitch is lowered when you add water to the glass you are right (diagram 1 below); but if you say this is because the added liquid is forced to participate in the vibration of the glass wall, then wouldn't you get a similar result for diagram 2 below? Well you don't - and therein lies the beauty of this for an EEI. There is a good little article in the
Hey! I need to inform you that the only Physics Higher past paper available to me is the 1992 Paper II, the rest just lead me to a “can’t find this page”. Please get back to me if you know of anywhere else to get the older past papers.
The angle measurement varies on these instruments, I have one with a vernier scale to measure minutes and another where the vernier scale measures in steps of 0.1 degrees. I have no information on the calibration uncertainty, you may wish to contact the people at Heriot-Watt as they could still have the paperwork that came with the spectrometer. For scale reading, the analogue scale you describe would produce +/- half the smallest division. This means you need to know the steps marked on the “smallest minutes scale”. These scales are difficult to read but the task is easier in good lighting (don’t keep the light off when reading the scale) and I sometimes set up a 12V bulb for extra light to check the Vernier scale.
I recommend you try working through this from the University of Toronto. The Java applet at the bottom of the page will give you some prctice at reading the a Vernier scale. NOt for a spectrometer but it’sthe same principle.
An interesting paper by physicists Yunis and Rahman from the University of Agriculture, Malaysia published in (V27 (16), 1988 has some good practical ideas ( to download). I also read on one site "I think it's worth bearing in mind that the refractive index is mostly a matter of dielectric constant so it typically has a lot to do with the electric charges in the material". That suggests a comparison of ionic (sodium chloride) vs molecular (sugar) solutes; or even monoprotic (Na+) vs diprotic (Mg2+) ionic solutes. Read about laser safety in the EEI above.
How to make this an EEI? You could consider making a series of measurements at different water depths and plotting them to see if RI is constant over the range of depths. The accuracy of the smaller depths can be commented upon. You could always perform this on a hotplate as in the above experiment and look at RI vs temperature, or you could think of something more imaginative. My thanks to Prof. Shyam Singh, Department of Physics, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia for this suggestion (, March 2002, p152). Read about safety in suggestion above.
I bought a Zero Toys "Vapor-Ring" gun on-line for $23. It produces vapour "smoke" rings about 5 -10 cm in diameter that shoot out a few metres. They are not really smoke but are condensed water vapour clouds produced by a mist of cold alcohol vapour in the gun. It even has a blue LED light and ray-gun sound effect. This suggests a possible EEI. I don't think you'd have much of an EEI if you just had fun with them and tried to make the biggest or fastest ring you could. You need a hypothesis about some variables that you can justify with reference to physics principles, and a means of manipulating these variables.
Great site has really helped me this year so far with my higher. I am trying to find the 2004 and 2005 past papers on your website. I have tried clicking on previous links you have posted but can only get from 1999 backwords. I have found the answers but unfortunatly there not much use without the questions haha! Any help you can give me would be appreiciated, thanks! 😀
The discovery that the motion of a magnet past a coil of wire produces an electric current was made by Michael Faraday 160 years ago. Since then this relationship has been investigated by countless scientists, engineers and students. You would think that there is nothing left to discover but some interesting things are always thrown up by investigators. Electromagnetic induction makes a good EEI, partly because it can be done simply and partly because interesting data gives you lots to talk about. Physics teacher at Urangan State High School, Queensland, Australia, Alan Whyborn describes an experiment that could be the basis of an EEI.
Not to argue with Mr Donn’s marking instructions (it has been pointed out to me that the laws of physics do in fact change depending on what he writes as his answer), but SQA advanced higher physics answers (and many other subject answers) go as far back as 2003 on their website, even thought the past papers don’t:
This table contains links to SQA past papers for the Higher Physics exam. These papers and solutions are reproduced to support SQA qualifications on a non-commercial basis according to SQA .