ISP 209L ~ Spring 2003

Mystery of the Physical World Laboratory

Prof. Stuart Tessmer

4237 Biomedical Physical Sciences

Office Hour: By appointment

Phone: 355-9200 x2210

This two-credit laboratory provides hands-on experience to discover and reinforce basic physical phenomena. The heart of the course consists of a series of experiments in the areas of optics, mechanical systems, and electromagnetics. The teaching team consists of two graduate instructors and me (Prof. Tessmer). I am looking forward to a fun semester as we work through these experiments together.



• Labs are held in 302 North Kedzie on Monday. Each lab will begin with a short introductory lecture followed by a brief closed-book quiz.

• Working in groups of 2 or 3 you will then perform measurements and tabulate the your data in one or more short experiment modules from the Course Pack. The scheduled lab modules are listed on the reverse side. (Note: groups of 4 will only be permitted if all of the other groups in the class have at least 3 people in them.)

• After conducting the experiment and tabulating the data, each student will independently analyze and present the results, and answer the questions. You are encouraged to seek help from the instructor and/or from other students. However, the work you turn in should be your own.

• All material used to determine grades (quiz, data sheets, graphs, questions, etc) will be prepared by each student during the lab period and submitted for grading before leaving the lab. Because the lab must be immediately reset for the following section, students must turn in their work promptly at the end of their period. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

• There will be a final exam in the last week of class. The exam will include quiz questions, questions derived from the lecture material and questions from the labs themselves.


• Required Course Pack: ISP209L Course Pack, Author: A. Brown et al. (available only at the SBS). You must bring the relevant lab modules from the course pack every week, as indicated on the reverse side. It will not be possible to do the labs without them.

• Required Tools: Calculator with trigonometric functions, logarithmic functions and scientific notation.


I expect you to read through the scheduled lab modules in advance of each class. This is needed for the lab to make sense as you work through the details. If you have read and understood the key ideas, you will likely find the quiz to be easy. A few sample quiz questions are given below to show their basic level. For further assistance in preparing, additional reading material for most of the labs can be found in Cutnell and Johnson (C&J), Physics 3rd Edition, a non-calculus based physics textbook. This book is on reserve in the Biomedical and Physical Science (BPS) Library. For the first lab, a handout will be distributed during the introductory lecture.


If a lab is missed with a documented excuse, such as a doctor’s note, you should inform me by email or phone within 48 hrs following the lab. In these cases, the missing quiz score will be replaced by an average of the remaining quiz scores. The missing lab can be conducted during the make-up session near the end of the semester. Students who miss a lab without a documented excuse, will receive a zero for the quiz score and will likely not have an opportunity to make up the lab. Unfortunately, the same applies to students who miss a lab because they forget to bring the relevant pages from the course pack. No make-up quizzes are given. So, students arriving a few minutes late to the lab will miss their chance to take the quiz. Students who arrive late may also not be allowed to do the lab, at the instructor's discretion.


The quizes will be graded on a scale of 0-3 pnts. The lab reports will be graded 0-7 pnts. Hence the total number of points possible for each lab class will be 10. Since there are 11 such labs (see schedule below), 110 points represents the highest quiz + lab score.

A perfect score of 7 on the lab reports will be based on the following: (1) Legibility

(2) All experimental numbers correctly entered and the units given if required.

(3) All of the data manipulations done properly (additions, averages, etc).

(4) All of the graphs completed properly with axes and points labeled.

(5) Complete answers to each of the questions (this will be given a large weight in the grading).

(6) Individual work when require.

The final exam will be 20% of the total grade. The final grades will have an average of approximately 3.0, graded on a curve, regardless of the percentage totals.


Because the labs are fairly straightforward, if you attend all the labs and if you give it an honest effort you will get a very high lab score. As this is true for everyone, to get a 3.5 or a 4.0 you also will need relatively high scores for the quizzes and final exam. Hence it is crucial to read and understand the basic ideas of the labs in advance. Of course, I encourage you to consult Cutnell and Johnson as needed. This will lead to solid quiz scores and will make the entire course run more smoothly – and you will be well on your way to earning an “A”.


Section 1: Monday 9:10 AM-12:00 PM

Section 2: Monday 12:40-3:30 PM

Section 3: Monday 4:10-7:00 PM

SCORES ~ sorted by last digits of student number

Click here to see the current table of Lab and Quiz scores

Nano Probe Microscopy Group

Stuart Tessmer, last modified 3-12-2003.