Equations in Physics

Just so you know that our education system is safe in the hands of Michael Gove I thought I would pass on a couple of examples from the latest official guidance on subject content for GCSE Combined Science. These are both from Appendix 1, entitled Equations in Physics.

Example one:

kinetic energy = 0.5 x mass x (acceleration)2

Example two:

(final velocity)– (initial velocity)= 2 x acceleration x time

Neither of these is even dimensionally correct!

Such sloppiness from the Department of Education is really unforgivable. Has anyone else spotted any similar howlers elsewhere in the document?  If so please let me know via the comments box…

UPDATE: Monday 14th April. Apparently these errors in the document have now been corrected, but still…



12 Responses to “Equations in Physics”

  1. I thought “gravity force = mass x gravity constant (g)” sounded weird.

  2. Department of what?

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Who wrote this crap?

  4. Scary stuff, just because it proves that scientific illiteracy is widespread an acceptable….

  5. Mark McCaughrean Says:

    Good grief.

    What also concerns me greatly is that my emotional response to this appalling state of affairs is more one of resignation than anger. It seems to imply that I’ve accepted that there is no chance whatsoever of being able to get anyone with responsibility for this shocking nonsense to care one jot.

  6. James Gallagher Says:

    I doubt this is Gove’s fault – the person writing the document had perhaps been selected for reasons other than scientific competence in the past – probably under a previous administration.

    You should rather rail at the drop in international standards of school science (and everthing else) in the UK over many years.

    One thing about Gove – he wants more rigour in education, so your evidence here is really supporting him, things need to improve.

    • telescoper Says:

      I agree that Gove himself won’t have written this but he is the Minister so is, by definition, responsible for its production.

      • James Gallagher Says:

        That’s being a bit unfair, he’s not in control of minutiae. I don’t like this government, and I will never vote for any of them after the fee imposition (now supported by Labour btw), but when Gove talks about introducing higher standards, he has a point. Just a shame that the whole ideology and practical implications surrounding his statements make one despair.

      • telescoper Says:

        The Minister is responsible for what happens in his Department. At the very least he should find out who made these awful blunders and take appropriate disciplinary action.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I agree with both of you!

  7. Kevin Stagg Says:

    ke = 1/2 m.v**2
    f = m.a
    v = u + a.t
    s = u.t + 1/2 a.t**2
    v**2= u**2 + 2 .a.s
    Written from memory at midnight. I think I should get a life.

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