ISP 209L ~ Fall 2006
Mystery of the Physical World Laboratory

Prof. Stuart Tessmer
4237 Biomedical Physical Sciences
Office Hour: Fridays 3:15pm in 302 North Kedzie, or 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. Stump. This is not required reading, but you will likely find it to be interesting.

Date Lab# & Title Topic Additional Reading
Aug 28 ~ Introductory lecture ~
Sept 4 Holiday ~ ~
Sept 11 1 Measurements Dice-probability vs measurement
Human reaction times
Sept 18 2 Measurement of g Free fall measurement of g
Pendulum measurement of g
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 1
Sept 25 3 Threshold of Hearing Sound waves
Decibel scale
Oct 2 4 Cycle Power Conservation of energy
Electrical equivalent of heat
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Weeks 4 & 6
Oct 9 5 Rolling Cylinders and
Angular Momentum
Rotational motion
Rotational energy and momentum
Oct 16 6 Electronic Circuits
and Magnetic Fields
Simple circuits
Bar magnets and solenoids
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 7
Oct 23 7 The Oscilloscope Oscilloscope-wave forms
Magnetic Induction
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 9
Oct 30 8 Basic Optics Optics, Reflection & Refraction
Critical angle
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 11
Nov 6 9 Optical Interference Single-slit diffraction
Babinet's principle-wire size
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 11
Nov 13 10 Multiple-Slit
Two-slit interference
Diffraction grating
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 11
Nov 20 11 Radioactivity Radioactive Background
and sources
ISP 209 Course Pack:
Week 14
Nov 27 12 Low-Temperature
Light emitting diode
Dec 4 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 the tables and graphs provided in Course Pack. (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 at the end of the 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. You are required to bring the relevent pages from the Course Pack to each lab.

• 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 11:59pm (one minute before 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 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 in Prof. Stump's ISP209 Course Pack, as listed in the above table.


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.

Your grade will depend on your Class Percentage with the total quiz+lab score weighted by 0.80 and the final exam weighted by 0.20. To give a formula, let's call QL=(quiz+lab total)/110 and FE=(final exam percentage)/100. Your Class Percentage is then

Class Percentage = 100*[QL*0.8 + FE*0.2].

The cuttoffs to determine your final grade are given in the following table:
Class Percentage Grade
90.00-100 4.0
85.00-89.99 3.5
80.00-84.99 3.0
75.00-79.99 2.5
70.00-74.99 2.0
65.00-69.99 1.5
50.00-64.99 1.0
00.00-49.99 0.0


Because the labs are fairly straightforward, if you give it an honest effort doing all the quizes and attending all the labs you will get a strong quiz+lab score. Typically it is also necessary to do well on the final exam to get a 3.5 or a 4.0. My advice to do well on the final is to spend time carefully reading and understanding the basic ideas of each lab in advance. In addition to making the lab run more smoothly, it will be more likely that the key ideas are clear. You will then 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 1-6-2006.