PHYL 103-01

Introductory Physics Lab  

Fall 2013


Meeting:  1:30 - 4:20 PM,  Mondays

Place: Room 2, DLR

Text: Experiments in Physics  

Instructor:Dr. J. Kiefer  

Office: 120B DLR  

Office Hours:  11:30 AM - !2:20 PM TTh; 3:30 - 4:30 PM WF , or by appointment or walking in  

 WebPage: moodle 


            The exercises you will perform in this class are intended to supplement the discussions in Physics 103.  However, this PhyL 103 class is separate from the lecture class.  Some of the exercises will illustrate concepts discussed in Physics 103, while some of the exercises will explore topics beyond those covered in Physics 103.   

            The course grade will be based on the lab "reports" you hand in and on a Final Quiz.   The lab "reports" constitute 85% of the total grade, the Final Quiz 15%.  The lab “reports” will be evaluated according to completeness, legibility & neatness, and accuracy. These features are important because you will use your notebook as reference during the Final Quiz.  Normally, you will be expected to complete the “report” within the 3-hours duration of the class.  You will be issued a personal identification number (PIN) with which you can view your scores and course grade by way of the course web page.  

It is difficult to make up a missed exercise.  If you must miss an exercise, make arrangements with the instructor in advance to make it up.  In the event that an absence is unanticipated, due to sudden illness for instance, contact the instructor as soon as possible, by ‘phone, e-mail, or coming to the instructor’s office, before the next regularly scheduled class meeting following that absence.  

A lab notebook will be supplied to you at the first class meeting.  Your notebook will be collected by the instructor at the end of each class meeting, and returned at the beginning of the next meeting.  The only items you will need to bring to class are pencils/pens and a pocket calculator.  Something equivalent to a TI 30 will do—capable of evaluating trigonometric and exponential functions.  Special papers, such as graph paper, will be supplied by the Physics Department.   The Lab Manual is distributed at the first class meeting.

Letter grades will be assigned according to the following scheme:  


























Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Support Services Office, Doyle room 26, at 375-2065 as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.  






Guidelines for Introductory Physics Lab “Reports”  


The lab report that you write in your lab notebook is more properly called a lab record.  You will record the observations that you make and the conclusions you draw from those observations.  There are questions in each lab write-up whose answers comprise part of your conclusions, perhaps the major part of your conclusions.  There is no need to transcribe the Theory and Procedure sections from the lab manual.  Alterations in procedure or other supplementary information given by the instructor should be written in your lab notebook, however.    

The lab record or journal should contain the following elements:    

                1)  Title & Date.

                2)  Preface:   Paraphrase the Theory portion of the write-up. State accepted values of quantities to be measured.
                     Mention least counts of the measuring devices.

                3)  Labeled schematic sketches of the experimental setup. 

                4)  Results.  Here, the raw data are recorded in tables.  The quantities that are measured are
                     identified.  Derived quantities are computed.  Averages and deviations are calculated.  Usually, 
only one sample of each calculation is fully written out.   In this section, the results of 
measurement and calculation are reported.  This reporting should take the form of tables, graphs
                     and sentences.

                5) Discussion.  Finally, the results of the exercise are discussed, for instance, whether the measured
                    results are consistent with the theory of the exercise.  Also, some discussion of   possible sources
                    of error is included in this section.  Answer the questions posed in the Procedure and at the end
                    of the lab write-ups.  These questions are designed to guide your discussion by drawing your
                    attention to certain points.  You will be trying to convince the instructor that you understand
                    what just went on.


Weekly Procedure & additional remarks:  

              Commonly, there will be two exercises set up on the lab tables each week.  One half the class will perform one of the exercises; one half of the class will perform the other. In the following week, the halves trade places.  Lab notebooks must be handed in at the end of the class period.

                The exercises run more smoothly if you read the write-up in the lab manual before coming to class.  It may be helpful also to review the relevant portion of the Physics 103/104 text as well, especially in answering some of the questions. 

                You will work in teams of 2 to 4 persons.  Normally, the teams remain the same throughout the semester.  Make sure that all team members participate in all the measurements.  Particularly, one person ought not be delegated to be only the recorder.  While each person is to produce his or her own lab record, of course, it is permitted to consult with team members, and even with the other teams.

                Since neatness counts, it is better to record data and make notes on scratch paper as the exercise progresses.  Then transfer the information in a coherent form into the lab notebook.


General Laboratory Technique  

                1) Read the instructions beforehand.

                2) Set up the equipment; have the instructor check it; write down the least counts of the 
                    instruments to be used.

                3) Perform the measurements, noting uncertainties.  Read the instructions carefully.  It pays
                   to read through all of the Procedural steps before beginning the first.

                4) Do the calculations, if any, after all the data has been taken.

                5) Perform calculations.  Repeat any measurements that need to be redone.

                6) Write the Discussion.