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Light and Sound

Subjects / Additional Science / OCR 21st Century Additional Science A

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Price: £2.95 Duration: 37mins Full topic price: £69.95

In light and sound, we have our two most prominent senses - two of our most vital tools for communicating with the outside world. They are so fundamental to us that the very concepts invade our everyday language. For example, 'listen', 'look', 'see' all have many more meanings in common use than just their scientific ones, which isn't the case with some of the other terms we'll meet. For example, the word 'transparent' is fairly clear in meaning. So, in this title, you'll learn about the science behind sound and the theory of vision.

Author: Joe Rowing Publisher: GCSEPod®
Narrator: Pauline Addis ISBN: 978-1-84906-293-0
Video ISBN: 978-1-84906-793-5


  1. Seeing Light
  2. Hearing Sound
  3. Loudness and Pitch
  4. Types of Wave and Transferring Energy
  5. Sound and Light in Different Substances
  6. Ultrasound and its Uses
  7. Reflection
  8. Refraction
  9. Diffraction
  10. Total Internal Reflection

Exam Board Relevance

  • Edxcel
  • AQA
  • CEA
  • IGCSE (EdExcel)
  • OCR
  • SQA
  • WJEC
  • IGCSE (CiE)

Includes original GCSEPod image art. Additional pictorial images created by Damon Smith

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Curriculum and Exam Board Information

Key Issues



  • describe damaging effects of loud sounds on the ear and understand the need to control noise levels in the environment
  • describe experiments to demonstrate that sound can travel through different materials at different speeds but cannot travel through a vacuum
  • describe how light is dispersed by prisms and understand that a spectrum can be produced because different colours of light are refracted by different amounts
  • describe some application of echoes and carry out simple calculations on the echo principle
  • describe some applications of ultrasound in industry and medicine
  • Digital signals can carry information
  • Electronic systems can be used to produce ultrasound waves which have a frequency higher than the upper limit of hearing for humans
  • Energy associated with an electromagnetic wave
  • explain with the help of ray diagrams the formation of shadows by point and extended sources of light
  • Frequency of Ultrasound
  • Hearing Sound
  • Longitudinal and transverse waves - frequency, wavelength and amplitude
  • Longitudinal and transverse waves 30.5 30.5
  • Loudness
  • Pitch
  • Quality of a Note
  • recall that frequencies greater than 20 kHz are called ultrasound
  • recall that luminous objects are seen by the light they emit and that all other objects are seen by the light they reflect
  • recall that sound is reflected so that the angle of incidence = the angle of reflection
  • recall that the range of human hearing is 20 Hz to 20 kHz and that the upper limit decreases with age
  • recall that when light slows it is bent towards the normal and the converse. A knowledge of Snell's law or total internal reflection is not expected
  • Reflection and Refraction of Sound
  • Reflection of Ultrasound
  • Refraction of light
  • relate pitch and loudness of sound to its waveform displayed on a CRO
  • Sound as a longitudinal wave
  • Sound cannot travel through a vacuum
  • Sound is caused by mechanical vibrations and travels as a wave
  • Sound waves can be reflected and refracted
  • Sounds are longitudinal waves which can be reflected, refracted and diffracted
  • Sounds in a Vacuum
  • Sounds in the range 20-20 000 Hz can be detected by the human ear
  • The electromagnetic spectrum - radiowaves, microwaves, infra-red, visible, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays
  • The loudness of a note increases as the amplitude of the wave increases
  • The nature of ultrasound and its uses
  • The pitch of a note increases as the frequency increases.
  • The quality of a note depends upon the waveform
  • Ultrasound and its uses
  • Ultrasound waves are partially reflected when they meet a boundary between two different media. The time taken for the reflections to reach a detector is a measure of how far away such a boundary is
  • Ultrasound waves can be used in industry for cleaning and quality control
  • Ultrasound waves can be used in medicine for pre-natal scanning
  • understand that a change of speed causes light to be refracted at air/glass, glass/air, air/water, and water/air boundaries
  • understand that light is reflected from plane surfaces so that the angle of incidence = the angle of reflection and apply in practical situations
  • use a wave model to explain refraction of light at a plane surface using simple plane wavefront diagrams
  • Use of hertz, kilohertz, metre/second
  • Use of Ultrasound in Industry
  • Use of Ultrasound in Medicine


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