ISP 209L ~ Fall 2005
Mystery of the Physical World Laboratory

Prof. Stuart Tessmer
4237 Biomedical Physical Sciences
Office Hour: By appointment
Phone: 355-9200 x2210


Click on the date in the first column to view the introductory material for that week. Additional reading material is listed in the last column from the ISP 209 lecture course taught by Prof. Sherrill. It will be posted on the web (click here). This is supplemental reading which I believe you will find very interesting.

Date Lab# Module Topic Additional Reading
Aug 29 ~ Pick up handouts Introductory lecture ~
Sept 5 Holiday ~ ~ ~
Sept 12 1 General Physics-1
General Physics-2
Dice-probability vs average
Human reaction times
See handout &
ISP209 Lecture Notes 8-30, 9-1
Sept 19 2 Mechanics-1
Free fall measurement of g
Pendulum measurement of g
ISP209 Lecture Notes 9-13
Sept 26 3 General Physics-4 Threshold of hearing ~
Oct 3 4 Energy-1
Cycle power
Electrical equivalent of heat
ISP209 Lecture Notes 10-11
Oct 10 5 Mechanics-3
Rolling cylinders
Angular momentum, torque
ISP209 Lecture Notes 10-11
Oct 17 6 Electromagnetics-1
Simple circuits
Magnetic fields
ISP209 Lecture Notes 9-27
Oct 24 7 General Physics-6
Oscilloscope-wave forms
Magnetic Induction
ISP209 Lecture Notes 9-29
Oct 31 8 Optics-1
Reflectionv Refraction
Critical angle
ISP209 Lecture Notes 10-25
Nov 7 9 Quantum-1
Single slit diffraction
Babinet's principle-wire size
ISP209 Lecture Notes 10-18
Nov 14 10 Optics-4
Two slit interference
Diffraction grating
ISP209 Lecture Notes 10-18, 10-20
Nov 21 11 Radioactivity-1 Background and sources ISP209 Lecture Notes 10-20
Nov 28 12 General Physics-5
Quantum Physics-2
Quantum Physics-3
Low temperature
Light emitting diode
ISP209 Lecture Notes 9-29
Dec 5 Final Exam ~ ~ ~


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. Prior to each lab, you are required to take a quiz on the web using LONCAPA (see below). Each lab will begin with short introductory lecture.

• 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 (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.


Quizzes will be conducted on the web prior to each lab using the LONCAPA system. See the links below. Each quiz will be opened on Wednesday morning (five days before the lab) and it will be closed Sunday night at midnight. You are required to log on to LONCAPA and take the quiz somewhere in that time frame.
Log on to LONCAPA


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. As you might have guessed, the main purpose of the quiz is to give you extra incentive to read about each lab in advance. For further assistance in preparing, additional reading material relevant for many of the labs can be found on Prof. Sherrill's ISP209 web site (as listed in the above table). For the first lab, a handout will be distributed during the introductory lecture.


Because the quizzes are on the web, unless there are extreme circumstances, I expect you to take them even if you cannot attend the lab. Please do not wait until Sunday night before starting the quiz. It is not an acceptable excuse to say, “The internet went down at 10pm on Sunday, therefore I couldn’t take the quiz.”

There will be no opportunities to make up a missed lab. If you have to miss a lab for a legitimate reason, you should inform me by email ( or phone (355-9200x2210) within 48 hrs following the lab. If only one lab is missed, no adjustments will be made as only the highest 11 of 12 quiz+lab scores count toward the final grade (see below). If more than one lab is missed with legitimate excuses, such as an extended illness, you should inform me within 48 hours of each lab. I will ask for some documentation, such as a doctor’s note. In these cases, the missing lab score will be replaced at the end of the semester by an average of the other scores. As you would expect, unexcused absences will be a zero in the gradebook. The same applies to cases in which a student misses a lab because he/she forgot to bring the relevant pages from the course pack. Students who arrive late may not be allowed to do the lab, at the instructor's discretion.


The quizzes count for 3 pnts. The lab reports will be graded 0-7 pnts. Hence the total number of points possible for each lab will be 10. There are 12 such labs (see schedule above); the highest 11 will count. Hence 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 strong scores for the quizzes and final exam. I highly recommend carefully reading and understanding the basic ideas of the labs in advance. This will make the entire course run more smoothly and you will be better prepared when reviewing the material for the final exam.


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

Nano Probe Microscopy Group

Stuart Tessmer, last modified 8-25-2005.