Syllabus - Physics 191
Spring Semester 1998

Lead Faculty:

Professor Brage Golding
Room 305 Physics & Astronomy,

For section numbers and office hours, click on your instructor's name.
Prof. S. Tessmer
R. Kruse
P. Nong
P. Nadolsky

Course Description

In this course we will perform a series of simple experiments illustrating several principles of mechanics, electricity and magnetism. You should find these exercises helpful in illuminating topics covered in the lecture courses dealing with the same topics. However, the intent of the course is not simply to supplement the lectures. Its main objectives are to allow you to learn how to:

The experiments are all described in your manual. It is essential that you read the relevant material and solve the assigned problems prior to coming to the lab class. Otherwise you may not be able to finish your work during the class period. All graphing for lab reports must be done during the class period.

The Laboratory Report and Grades

The Laboratory Notebook

All data must be recorded in ink in a bound notebook with numbered pages and, preferably, quadrille ruling to facilitate the drawing of graphs. No erasures are permitted. If a mistake is made it should be crossed out neatly with a single line and the correct entry made nearby. Generally speaking, the following information should be recorded:

Laboratory Write-ups

It is expected that reports will be organized to facilitate understanding and grading. You are encouraged to use word processors, but typewritten or neatly written reports in ink will be accepted. You may collaborate with your partner in the execution of the experiment and data analysis but you are expected to write your report independently. Good English prose should be used throughout, and neatness and readability count. Although each lab is different, lab reports should use the following outline for cl arity and uniformity.

[2] Purpose. Write a few sentences stating the objectives of the lab, the experimental approach and principles that are being examined.

[4] Data Summary. Since most of the data will be in your notebook, this should be a representative sampling only. You can use these data as a reference for later discussion of analysis.

[5] Sample calculations. Show how the data are used to find physical constants or important parameters. You should convert to standard units.

[5] Results. Describe the analysis of your data and the outcomes. Discuss the meaning of your results and the role of statistical and systematic errors. Include any graphs that illustrate curve fitting and the resulting parameters.

[4] Summary and Conclusions. What statements can you make about the significance of the experiments? Be sure to answer any specific questions posed in the lab manual. If your results differ from expectations, can you suggest why?

Report Due Dates

The lab reports are due one week after the lab is completed at the beginning of the period. If your report is late by 4 days or less, a penalty of 10% per day will be subtracted from the grade. If the report is turned in late by more than 4 days but befor e the last day of class, the penalty will be 40% of the grade. You are urged to turn in your reports in a timely manner to avoid these problems. It is expected that if a lab is missed for legitimate reasons, that it will be made up at a time agreed upon w ith your instructor.


Your grade will be based on your laboratory reports which will be worth 20 points apiece with each section weighted as shown above in brackets [ ]. The in-lab final exam will count 40 points. Efforts will be made to ensure equivalent grading in all of the sections.


John R. Taylor, An Introduction to Error Analysis, 2nd Edition, University Science, 1997.

PHY191 Home

Courses Main Page

Physics and Astronomy Home Page

Updated: Tuesday, 1998-02-24 09:21:06 EST
by Brage Golding and