Basic Physics Laboratory
Full course description
The aim of this skill is for participants to understand 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 improve your ability to report and summarize your experimental work in a few pages. The skill consists of a collection of 7 different experiments. Students cooperate in pairs and each week performs a different experiment. Each week requires the participants to learn the theory, design and plan an appropriate experiment, collect and analyse their data to understand the physical principles contained within. These experiments are supplemented with a full day of training at the beginning regarding various “tools” used in practical physics, which can be applied during this skill.
- Mechanics: Newton's Laws Experiment, Conservation of momentum and impulse, Projectile Motion, Mechanical waves, Harmonic Motion.
- Thermodynamics: Thermal Energy, Equilibrium Temperature, Specific Heat, Ideal Gas Law
- Optics: Michelson’s interferometer.
- 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. 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.