Syllabus for ISP209L Spring 2009 – Mystery of the Physical World Laboratory

(Room 268 Giltner Hall)





Dr. Cemil Kayis

Office hours: Wednesday 3:00-4:30 PM or by appointment, Room B100  (BPS Bldg.)

Phone: 884-5683


Jacob Clifford (Graduate Assistant)


Chetan Goyal (Undergraduate TA)




Section 1: Monday 09:10 AM - 12:00 PM

Instructor: Cemil Kayis

Section 2: Monday 12:40 PM - 03:30 PM

Instructor: Jacob Clifford (w/Chetan Goyal)

Section 3: Monday 04:10 PM - 07:00 PM

Instructor: Jacob Clifford (w/Chetan Goyal)


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 electricity and magnetism.  The teaching team consists of Dr. Cemil Kayis, graduate assistant Jacob Clifford, and undergraduate TA Chetan Goyal. We hope that your experience in the lab is going to be a pleasant one as we work through these experiments together.


Useful Links


Professor Brad Sherril’s ISP209 class homepage from last spring. This material is not required, though you may find some of it to be interesting.


Required Materials

· Course Pack: ISP209L Course Pack. It is prepared by Prof. Stuart Tessmer and is available at the SBS for about $5.00 or can be downloaded here. You must bring it for all of the labs as it will not be possible to do the labs without the Course Pack.

· Other tools: Pencil and a calculator with trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions and scientific notation.

Lab Overview

· Labs are held in 268 Giltner Hall on Monday. Each lab will begin with a 10 minute 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 2009L Course Pack.  The scheduled labs are listed below. You must be part of a different group every week.

· After conducting the experiment and tabulating the data, each student will analyze and present the results, and answer the questions in the course pack. I encourage students to collaborate with their fellow group members since real science is almost always a collaborative effort.

· 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 pre-lab lectures, and questions from the labs themselves.

Quizzes and Readings

 A simple quiz 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. You are expected to read through the scheduled lab procedures in advance of each class. The main purpose of the quiz is to give you extra incentive to read about each lab in advance and earn some easy points in the process.

Attendance Policy

Due to scheduling constraints in Room 268, there will be no opportunities to make up a missed lab under any circumstances. Please note that I will drop your lowest lab score, such as a zero received for missing a lab, before computing your final grade.

In the event that two labs are missed with legitimate excuses, such as an extended illness, you should inform me by email ( or phone (884-5683) within 48 hours of each lab. Documentation, such as a doctor’s note, is required. In these cases, the missing lab score will be replaced at the end of the semester by an average of the other scores. In the event that you miss more than two labs during your excused absence, it will be left to the instructor’s discretion whether or not the student must perform some type of make up. Unexcused absences, however, will always be a zero in the grade book. 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 more than 30 minutes late will not be allowed to do the lab.

Grading Policy

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 highest 11 of 12 quiz+lab scores count, hence 110 points represents the highest quiz + lab score.

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 cutoffs to determine your final grade are given in the following table:

Class Percentage



















Lab Schedule



Click on the date to access the introductory lectures for that particular week. The supplementary readings are taken from the ISP209 class lectures and are not required. However, you might find them to be interesting. Remember that you must have your course pack to do the lab.





Additional Reading

Jan 12


Introductory lecture, handouts


Jan 19

MLK Holiday



Jan 26


Dice-probability vs average
Human reaction times

 Significant figures and units

Feb 2


Free fall measurement of g
Pendulum measurement of g

Lectures 3 and 4

Feb 9


Threshold of hearing


Feb 16


Energy, Cycle power
Electrical equivalent of heat

Lectures 11 and 12

Feb 23


Rolling cylinders
Angular momentum, torque

Lecture 4

Mar 2


Simple circuits
Magnetic fields

Lecture 13

Mar 9

Spring Break



Mar 16


Oscilloscope-wave forms
Magnetic Induction

Lecture 13

Mar 23


Reflection, Refraction
Critical angle


Mar 30


Single slit diffraction
Babinet's principle

Lectures 14 and 15

Apr 6


Two slit interference
Diffraction grating

Lectures 14 and 15

Apr 13



Lecture 20

Apr 20


Low temperature physics

semi- and superconductors

Lecture 13

Apr 27

Final Exam