Syllabus - Physics 191
Fall Semester 1999

Lead Faculty:

Professor William Lynch
Room N100 Cyclotron Laboratory

For section numbers and office hours, click on your instructor's name.
Prof. W. Lynch
J. Seitz
T. Nagy
B. Perry

Course Description

In this course we will perform a series of simple experiments illustrating several principles of
classical mechanics. 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 described on the PHY191 web pages. There is no course pack, but we are willing to make hard copies of these web pages at a cost of $3.50.  If you would like one, sign the order form at the time of your first class meeting.  We will have copies made for those who have requested them and distribute them during the next lab period two weeks later.  . The first laboratory session during the week of August 30 will consistof 3 hours of computing and graphing exercises. Each student will submit an individual lab report by the beginning of the next class session. All subsequent labs will consist of two 3 hour sessions with groups of 2 students. Each student will be responsible for handing in a lab report at the begining of the next lab session.  For example, the report for Exp. 1 will be due at the begining of your lab during the week of Sept. 27th.

The Laboratory Report and Grades

The Laboratory Notebook

All data must be recorded in ink in a lab book which has carbon paper and duplicate sheets.  You will record your original measurements in the lab book on numbered pages.   No erasures are
permitted. If a mistake is made it should be crossed out 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 must use a
word processor. Good English prose should be used throughout; spelling, clarity and readability will
influence your grade. Although each lab is different, lab reports should use the following outline for

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

[2] 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.

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

[2] 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.

[2] 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 first lab report is due at the beginning of your lab session in the week of September 13th. Both your lab report and a copy of the relevant pages in your lab book must be submitted to your instructor.  It should be possible to complete the lab reports for the subsequent labs by the end of the second lab period for each lab.  If you do not submit the report at that time, you must submit it to your instructor at the begining of the following class period for your lab section.   A late report will not be accepted.


Your grade will be based on the laboratory reports and lab books [1] which will be worth a total of 10 points per lab apiece. The weighting of each section is given above in brackets [].  A short quiz will be given at the beginning of each lab session. Homework plus quizzes will count 10 points. The in-class practical exam will count 20 points. The maximum numeric score is 100.


Absences must be arranged in advance with your instructor. The only possibility for making up a session will be to attend another lab session during the same week. Accommodating your request will be at the discretion of the instructors.


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

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{ Updated: Sept. 1, 1999  4:51:13 EDT }