ISP209L Fall 2007 Ė Mystery of the Physical World Laboratory

Lab web site:


†† †††††††† Prof. Simon Billinge, 4268 BPS ††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Office Hours: by appointment, 4268 BPS

†† †††††††† Phone: 355-9200 x 2202 †††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Email:


Section 1:Monday 09:10 AM- 12:00 PM†††††††††† Instructors: J. Clifford

Section 2:Monday 12:40 PM- 03:30 PM ††††††††† Instructors: Prof Billinge, Dr. E. Bozin and Dr. P. Juhas

Section 3:Monday 04:10 PM- 07:00 PM ††††††††† Instructors: J. Clifford


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 electro-magnetics.The teaching team consists of three senior (Drs. Billinge, Bozin and Juhas) and a graduate (Jacob Clifford) instructor.We hope that your experience in the lab is going to be a pleasant one 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 a10 minute quiz. Each lab will begin with the quiz, followed by a short introductory lecture.

Working in groups of 2 or 3 you will then perform measurements and tabulate your data in using the appropriate pages from the ISP 209L Course Pack.The scheduled labs are listed on the reverse side. You will be part of a different assigned group every week.

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 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 so please begin your write-ups early enough that you can finish them before the end of class.

There will be a lab exam in the last week of class. The exam will include quiz questions, questions derived from the pre-lab lectures, and questions from the labs themselves.


Required Course Pack: ISP209L Course Pack. It was originally prepared by Prof. Stuart Tessmer. It costs ~$5 and is available exclusively at the Student Book Store (SBS) on Grand River Avenue.You must bring it for all of the labs as it will not be possible to do the labs without the Course Pack.


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



You should read through and understand the lab before coming to class.Quizzes will be conducted prior to each experiment during the first 10 minutes of the lab. The quizzes are closed book and will be based on material related to the lab scheduled for that day.†† The quizzes will be collected all together 10 minutes after the start of class and wonít be accepted after this time, so please donít be late so you have the best chance to complete the quiz.

You are expected to read through the scheduled lab procedures in advance of each class. This is needed for the lab to make sense as you work through the details. 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. Stumpís ISP209 Course Pack. The material from Prof. Stumpís class is not required.



The labs are tightly scheduled and there will be no opportunities to make up a missed lab under any circumstances. If you have to miss a lab for a legitimate reason, you should inform Prof. Billinge by email ( or phone (355-9200x2202) before the lab starts.†† If the problem is sickness, you should contact Prof. Billinge 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 documented illnesses (bring Doctors note) then come and see Prof. Billinge. 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.




The quizzes count for 3 points. The lab reports will be graded on a 0 to 7 point scale.The total number of points possible for each lab class will be 10. The first lab will be graded and returned but will not count towards your final grade.This is a learning example that helps you to understand our expectations for the write-up.In addition you can drop one of the remaining (lab+quiz) scores.Summary: there are 11 labs, the compound (lab+quiz) score from the first lab and one other (the lowest) can be dropped.The final grade will therefore be based on the 9 highest compound scores from labs 2 Ė 11.

Your grade will depend on your Class Percentage with the total quiz+lab score weighted by 0.80 and the lab exam weighted by 0.20. To give a formula, let's call QL=(quiz+lab total)/90 and LE=(lab exam percentage)/100. Your Class Percentage is then Class Percentage = 100*[QL*0.8 + LE*0.2]. The cutoffs to determine your final grade are given in the following table:

Class Percentage




















Since the labs are fairly straightforward, if you give it an honest effort doing all the quizzes and attending all the labs you will get a strong quiz+lab score. Typically it is also necessary to do well on the lab exam to get a 3.5 or a 4.0. The advice to do well on the lab exam 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 lab exam. ††









Additional Reading

Aug 27


No Lab today


Sep 4

Labor Day Holiday

No Lab today


Sep 10


Dice-probability vs average
Human reaction times

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Sep 17


Free fall measurement of g
Pendulum measurement of g

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Sep 24


Threshold of hearing

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Oct 1


Energy, Cycle power
Electrical equivalent of heat

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Oct 8


Rolling cylinders
Angular momentum, torque

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Oct 15


Simple circuits
Magnetic fields

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Oct 22


Oscilloscope-wave forms
Magnetic Induction

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Oct 29


Reflection, Refraction
Critical angle

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Nov 5


Single slit diffraction
Babinet's principle

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Nov 12


Two slit interference
Diffraction grating

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Nov 19



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Nov 26


No Lab today


Dec 3


Lab Exam