19. The “New” Model of Energy

Thomas and Robin feel the pain of Physics teachers all over the UK and attempt to get to grips with the new model of energy as promoted by the IoP. No more energy types, just energy stores that increase and decrease in magnitude and transfer processes that are allowed by the energy differences.


  • Philae lander found @ 00:30
  • Shooting nuclear waste in to the Sun @ 2:00
  • What is energy? @ 3:25
  • Energy Stores and the IoP’s different model @ 5:34
  • Tom Norris talking explaining the “new” model of energy @ 7:59
  • Robin helps Thomas talk about energy @ 17:27
  • Thomas and Robin grapple with a roller-coaster example @ 24:31
  • Precision of language @ 29:53
  • Common language with Brian Lane @ 30:32
  • A new T-shirt @ 34:33
  • The elephant in the room @ 36:00
  • Vacuum Cannon back in stock soon @ 36:56


After discussing the recent spotting of the lost Philae Lander and the folly of firing nuclear waste in to outer Space Robin and Thomas finally (and after much procrastination) bite the bullet and talk about Energy. The IoP has been pushing a “new” model of electricity in an effort to standardise the way it is talked about. Thomas’ understanding of this at the start of the episode is, to say the least, hazy. Robin talks him through it with the help of Tom Norris (from Episode 10: Ways to teach… Electricity). Moving away from “types of energy” to energy as the currency of force interactions that lets things happen does seem more sensible, but it is quite a change in thinking. W. Brian Lane, a professor from the USA mulls over his response to a student from the UK explaining energy with the new model before Thomas announces that there is a new t-shirt design and the vacuum cannon will soon be back in stock.

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