PHY 252
Spring Semester 2002



Laboratories will begin on January 7, 2002 and run through May 3, 2002. There will be 13 experiments. The purpose of this course is to teach you how to make measurements of physical parameters and how to analyze and interpret them. Working in groups of two, you will make measurements, tabulate and graph your data, evaluate uncertainties on your measurements, analyze the results of your experiments, and answer the questions for each experiment which are given in the laboratory manual.

You will find it very helpful to prepare well, i.e. read and study the materials for the laboratories before you come to class. Being prepared before you come to your lab session will enable you to finish on time, enjoy the lab more and help you get a higher grade. During the first 10 minutes of every lab period (except for the first lab of the semester) a closed book quiz may be given aimed at testing your readiness to perform that day's experiment and your understanding of the previous experiment. There will be more information about quizzes from your lab instructor during the first lab.  Please arrive on time or you will miss the quiz and the credit for it. All the materials to be graded (your lab report including data sheets, graphs, answers to questions, etc.) must be completed during your lab period and handed in to the instructor before you leave the lab.

The lab report consists of a cover sheet with your name, your student number and section number. This cover sheet should also contain a short description of the purpose of this experiment and a conclusion based upon your observations and measurements. Both of these parts should be in your own words, do not just copy the manual.

Laboratory reports will be graded by your instructor on a 10 point scale and will be handed back at the beginning of the next lab. The points will be distributed roughly as follows: purpose (1 pt), data (including accuracy), graphs and calculations (4 - 5  pts), answers to questions (2 - 3 pts), and conclusion (1 - 2  pts). Explain how you identified and tried to solve problems in the experiments, if there were any. If you see that your data was incorrect or your predictions of results were incorrect, explain as well as you can, what is wrong.  Please write clearly and neatly in full sentances.  Avoid wordiness and excessive detail.

Quizzes will in generally have 4 questions and will be graded on a 4 point scale.

Your grade will be based on the total number of points for the labs and quizzes.  since the instructors for the various sections do not necessarily grade identically, the scores for a given instructor's sections will be considered as a group for grading purposes.  Each of the groups will receive approximately the same average grade in the course, so that there is no advantage to having one instructor rather than another.  Within the group, the grades will be assigned strictly in order of points achieved.  the grade will be assigned by a curve, not a "straight scale" (for which there is no uniform defination in any case).  In the past the average for the course was about 2.6. Please obtain from your instructor and save all graded lab reports and quizzes. You will need all of these if at the end of the semester you think your score wasn't correctly calculated.

Because personally participating in each laboratory is the essential part of this course, you must be present for each day’s session. Should you find yourself in a position where you must miss a session you should make every attempt to make up labs missed for these valid, document able reasons, by making arrangements with your instructor. In that case please write an explanatory note with suitable documentation.  No make-ups are allowed without an explanatory note.  If you miss a lab without reason, it will be counted as zero.  Arrangements for a possible make-up should be initiated before the missed lab if possible, but in any case no later than 24 hours after the missed lab.  Please make the arrangements for alternate attendance during the preceding week if the reason for absence is a pre-scheduled event, such as field trips or religious holidays.  Make-ups will involve approved special attendance in a lab earlier or later in the week, if an open space is available.  However,  experience has shown that grades of students who miss EVEN ONE LAB are lower than those who attend and complete all labs. You can reach your instructor by sending an e-mail message or putting a note in his/her mailbox.

Your instructor is in charge of all aspects of laboratory procedures. Please confer with your instructor first if you have a problem, since they can ordinarily solve most problems.

The laboratory coordinator for this course is Professor Weerts. His office hours are Tuesday, 10 am - noon, room 256B.  If you cannot make these office hours and would like to make an appointment send an e-mail to Please include a phone number and a copy of your academic schedule so he can get back to you and set up a mutually convenient time.

Last updated on January 4, 2002