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  Physics Laboratory

Physics Laboratories

"The test of all knowledge is experiment..."  - Richard Feynman (Nobel Laureate 1963)

First Year - an Introduction to Experimental Physics

The 1st year Physics Lab (AS 360) is equipped with 14 computers for student use, a dedicated printer, and 14 Vernier LabPro or LabQuest Mini computer interfaces for data collection with various sensors including motion, force, sound, light, voltage, temperature and radiation.

Each lab experiment has a Pre-Lab accessable online from MasteringPhysics. All students will need a Mastering Physics access code (unique to your lab section and textbook), which is bundled into your new textbook package or can be purchased online. Details will be given at the first lab meeting.

Physics 1020/1021 - Introductory Physics I & II

Physics as an experimental science is introduced to students who have not previously taken Physics. Experiments reinforce concepts introduced in the lecture. Reports are typically short-answer with minimal error analysis and are completed within the lab period.

Physics 1050/1051 - General Physics I & II

Experimental techniques and basic error analysis for first year Physics majors, engineering and other students who will continue in the physical or analytical sciences. MS Excel is introduced as an analysis and graphing tool. Reports are completed within the lab period, but usually involve interpretation of results and error analysis.

Second Year - the Intermediate Labs

The Senior Physics Labs (AS 3034 and 3033) are equipped with 6 laptop computers, 4 Vernier LabQuest interfaces, and the higher data-rate PASCO 850 Universal Interface and sensors.

Students will expand on the basic experimental and analysis techniques learned in Physics 1050/1051, incorporating Mathematica and additional, more advanced statistical methods. Keeping an experiment notebook will be introduced, as well as formal report writing. Experiments include some of the "classic" experiments in physics.

Required Text for Second Year and Above

An Introduction to Error Analysis (2nd Edition), John R. Taylor

This text is perhaps the best reference available for undergraduate experimental analysis.  It is recommended for first year Physics majors and is required for 2nd year and above lab courses .

Error Analysis by Taylor

Physics Lab SharePoint Site

All experiment write-ups, information on How to Write a Lab Report, the Lab Notebook, LoggerPro and Excel Tutorials are available to download on the SharePoint site. Use your Grenfell network ID and password to log in.

Physics 2053 - Fluids and Thermal Physics

spectrograph labExperiments wil explore some aspects of fluid dynamics (such as surface tension and viscosity) and elementary thermodynamics (heat capacity, thermal conductivity and blackbody radiation).

Physics 2056 - Modern Physics

Activities will include some of the "classic" experiments that helped develop 20th century physics: measuring the charge-to-mass ratio of an electron, the photoelectric effect, electron diffraction, and several explorations of radioactive phenomena.

Physics 2553 - Introduction to Analog and Digital Electronics

The pre-requisites of Physics 1021 and Math 1000 make this course accessable to many non-physics science students looking for more experience with circuits and use of instrumentation, such as the oscilloscope. Reports are typically fill in the blanks with calculations, short-answers, and graphs and are completed within the lab period. While not required for the degree, this course is an excellent elective for a Physics major or minor.

3rd and 4th year - the Senior Labs

Planck experimentPhysics 3060 - Electricity & Magnetism

Students continue to develop experimental and analytical skills on longer and more complex investigations involving the interactions between the electromagnetic forces.

Physics 4880 - Senior Physics Laboratory

(May be taken in either the 3rd or 4th year of the program, but a minimum of Physics 2056 and 3061 is recommended.)  Students will work independently on more advanced, multi-period explorations of superconductivity, cosmic ray detection, microwaves, chaotic systems, and measure the universal gravitational constant. Formal reports will be required for all experiments. Depending on equipment available, experiments may be chosen to compliment the student's areas of interest.


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