The aim of this course is understanding what physics means by performing instructive physical experiments that reveal fundamental physical principles, and also to attain a level of dexterity with experimental devices. Physics is an empirical science and not a mere collection of mathematical laws. In this sense this practical is an appropriate counterpart for the more theoretic and mathematical Physics courses. Moreover, the aim of this training is to train your ability to report and summarize your experimental work in a few pages. The course lasts six weeks, and consists of one full day of experimentation per week. The required attendance for this practicum is a full 100%. The practicum consists of a collection of 12 different experiments. Students cooperate in couples (of 2 students) and each week perform a different experiment. Each experiment consists of a theoretical and methodological preparation: i. Reading about the theory behind the experiment; ii. Determining what should be done and in what order; iii. Writing a plan containing the required steps for carrying out the measurements. Topics: MECHANICS: Newton's Laws Experiment, Conservation of momentum and impulse, Projectile Motion, Mechanical waves. THERMODYNAMICS: Thermal Energy, Equilibrium Temperature, Specific Heat, Ideal Gas Law LIGHT and OPTICS: Reflection and Refraction, Snell’s Law, index of refraction, Michelson’s interferometer.
• To acquaint the student with the basis of experimental physics. • To acquire understanding of practical methods in experimental physics. • Being able to solve technical problems in a physical experiment. • To be able to relate the experiment to the relevant physical theory. • To be able to process empirical data in relation to the theoretical physical predictions using the adequate statistical and graphical tools. • To be able to properly describe the experimental methods and results in technical reports.
There is no book directly associated to this course. Information on the individual experiments is provided in this syllabus and in separate detailed experiment descriptions. Moreover, this course relates to the introductory course Physics: Elements in Physics. The textbook for this course is: University Physics with Modern Physics, H.D. Young & R. A. Freedman, Pearson Education (US), 13th International edition, May 2011. For the underlying physical principles of the experiments we refer to this textbook.