David Sands

David Sands

Senior Lecturer / School Director of Learning and Teaching

Faculty of Science and Engineering


01482 465826

David Sands lectures in physics. His main interests are in models and modelling, and developing conceptual understanding.

At the same time as his educational work, he has also been researching the foundations of thermodynamics and in particular the role that Clausius played in defining the modern view.

Prior to working on physics education, he pursued research in semiconductors and laser processing.


Research Interests

  • Conceptual understanding

  • Models and modelling

  • Cognitive processes in physics learning


Sands D, Hedgeland H, Parker M, Galloway R, Jordan S, 'Using concept inventories to measure understanding', Higher Education Pedagogies, 3.1 (2018)

Sands D, 'Are Adiabatic Work Processes in the Classical Ideal Gas Inherently Irreversible?', in Unified Field Mechanics II: Preliminary Formulations and Empirical Tests - Proceedings of the X Symposium Honouring Mathematical Physicist Jean-Pierre Vigier, Amoroso R L, Albertini G, Kauffman L H (eds), pp 282-291, World Scientific Publishing Co, ISBN 978-981-3232-03-7 (2018)

Sands D, 'Pulsed Laser Heating and Melting', in Heat Transfer – Engineering Applications, Prof Vyacheslav Vikhrenko (ed), Intech, ISBN: 978-953-307-361-3 (2011)

Sands D, Diode Lasers, 440 pages, IoP Publishing, ISBN 07503072692004 (2004)

Sands D, Studying Physics, 216 pages, Palgrave-Macmillan, ISBN 1-4039-0328-X (2003)

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Electricity and Magnetism with Computation

  • Intermediate Quantum Mechanics: from Atoms to Solids

  • Physics by Inquiry: Concepts and Relations

  • Group Problem Solving

  • Team Experimental Problem Solving and Project Planning

  • BSc Project

Research PhDs

David welcomes applications for postgraduate supervision on all aspects of physics education research.

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BTech (Hons)

  • PhD

External roles

  • Chair of the IOP Degree Accreditation Committee

  • Chair of the Physics Education Division of the European Physical Society

  • Secretary to Commission 14 (Physics Education) of IUPAP

Awards and accolades

  • Fellowship of The Institute of Physics (2016)

  • National Teaching Fellowship (2015)

  • Principal Fellowship of the HEA (2014)