Syllabus - Physics 191
Spring Semester 1999

Lead Faculty:

Professor Brage Golding
Room 305 Physics & Astronomy

For section numbers and office hours, click on your instructor's name.
Prof. B. Golding
M. Behravan
P. Nadolsky
P. Nong

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. The first laboratory session during the week of January 11 will consist of 3 hours of computing and graphing exercises. Each student will submit an individual lab report by January 20. All subsequent labs will consist of two 3 hour sessions with groups of 3 or 4 students. At the end of period B, each group will submit a report that is prepared in class .

The Laboratory Report and Grades

The Laboratory Notebook

All data must be recorded in ink in a bound notebook with 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 uniformity.

[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.

[3] 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 by January 20, 1999. Place it in your instructor's mailbox. A late report will not be accepted. Subsequent group lab reports must be completed in class and submitted at the end of the period.


Your grade will be based on the laboratory reports which will be worth 10 points apiece with each section weighted as shown above in brackets []. Homework will count 10 points. The in-class final exam will count 20 points. The maximum numeric score is 100.


Absences must be arranged in advance with your instructor. Since the course involves group-based projects, the only possibility for making up a session will be to join another group 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: Monday, 1999-01-18 16:00:56 EST