Physics 201L: General Physics Lab I

Grades: post

Class Schedule:      Sec 001: M 2:00 pm -- 3:55 pm      Sec 002: W 4:00 pm -- 5:55 pm
Professor: Steve Liebling         Office:  Geology LC-23
Office Hours: M 2:00 pm -- 4:00 pm; W 1:00 pm -- 2:00 pm
Phone: 287-8413           Classroom: Geology LC-4
Email:         WWW Home Page:

Course Objective: This course will hopefully teach you how to investigate physical phenomena scientifically.  This involves taking accurate data, analyzing that data, and inferring conclusions from your results.  These skills will be applicable to other technical fields such as biology and chemistry. You'll also get general experience using electronic lab equipment many of which can be found in other types of labs (like function generators, oscilliscopes). In addition, the experiments themselves should help you firmly grasp concepts introduced in the theory class (PHY 201).

Grading Policy:

Lab Writeups 70%
Final Exam 30%
Extra Credit: There will be no extra credit, extra credit papers, or alternatives to passing. Do the labs and take the test.

Missing Labs: There are no make-up labs. I will, however, drop your lowest lab grade.
If you are not physically present for a lab, you may not get the data from another student in the class to complete the lab. In other words, to get any credit for a lab you must be present for its execution. With that said, you get no credit for just showing up for the lab. You must turn in something to get any credit for being there.

Due Dates: Labs are due one week from the date of execution of the lab (unless otherwise stated). I will not accept any late labs. Any labs not in my box, under my door, or in my hand by midnight of the due date will not be accepted nor graded.

Use of Lab Equipment: Much of the lab equipment has been recently purchased. Because the market for lab equipment is small (as compared to general consumer electronics), the prices are high despite the fact that the equipment may not look fancy like a walkman might. Please treat the equipment carefully and put it back where you found it so as to ensure that it lasts many semesters.

Final: The final will cover significant digits, uncertainty, units, and material relevant to the various
labs that we do. Therefore, if you miss a lab, it will be to your benefit to obtain a copy of the lab description for the lab that you missed.  It will be given the last week of classes (as this is a lab class,
it is exempt from the rules that the final be given during finals week and we don't have that many labs).

Cheating:  You will work in groups of various sizes for the different labs. However, your write-ups should be written entirely by yourself. I encourage you to discuss the lab, problems that you might have had, and sources of error.

Grading Abbreviations: The following notations might appear on your graded lab write-ups:

SD error in significant digits
U missing or incorrect units
L missing or incorrect label
MB make better or bigger graph
? not clear if right or wrong; probably wrong
huh? I don't understand what you wrote
NN not necessary
NO not correct
NO! not correct and you should know better
Lab Write-ups: The lab period is 2 hours. Some labs will not require you to stay for the full period, while others will. The time required often depends on how attentive you are in all the labs concerning use of equipment and also how much time you have spent reading the lab before coming to perform the experiment. Also, many labs do not require much time to simply take the necessary experimental data. However, if you leave quickly after getting the data, you may find later that you do not know what to do with that data or that you've failed to measure something. Failure to properly process your data to extract a desired result will severely hurt your grade.

Sample Lab Reports:

·bad ·comments on bad ·better ·comments on better
Week 1 Jan. 31 Measurements & Uncertainty
Week 2 Feb. 7 Force Table
Week 3 Feb. 14 Air Track 1: Velocity and Acceleration
Week 4 Feb. 21 Simple Pendulum
Week 5 Feb. 28 Hooke's Law & SHM
Week 6 March 6 Wave Motion on a String
Week 7 March 13 Air Track 2: Collisions
Week 8 March 20 SPRING BREAK
Week 9 March 27
Week 10 April 3
Week 11 April 11
Week 12 April 17 Torque
Week  13 April 24
Week 14 May 1 Review
Week 15 May 8 EXAM

Last updated May 18, 2000.
Steve Liebling (home)