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PX110 - Physics Laboratory

  • Module code: PX110
  • Module name: Physics Laboratory
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 24

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The first year Physics Laboratory should provide a strong basic grounding in practical laboratory work and prepared for the more sophisticated practical work of the later years of the degree programme

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of the module you should: have learnt how to keep a laboratory notebook as an accurate record of the experiment that you have undertaken; be confident in the use of the commonly-encountered laboratory equipment e.g., the cathode ray oscilloscope and the travelling microscope; know the meaning of random and systematic errors in experimental measurements; be able to estimate sensibly the uncertainty in individual measurements and to combine these to estimate the error in your final result; be able to analyse your results critically and draw the relevant graphs with error bars showing the uncertainty in the measurements where appropriate; have learnt how to plan your time effectively in performing an experiment and to use it efficiently; be able to assess critically the effectiveness of an experimental procedure and suggest possible improvements; have learnt how to write a scientific report.

Timetabled teaching activities

up to 15 sessions

Departmental link

Other essential notes

The Physics Laboratory introduces experimental science. There are experiments in six areas: i) The measurement of fundamental constants including h, c and e/m for an electron; ii) Wave phenomena; iii) Electricity and Magnetism, iv) Matter, v) Geometrical Optics and vi) Astronomy. The experiments can help give a different and more 'tangible' perspective on material treated theoretically in lectures. They illustrate the importance of correct handling of data and the estimation of errors, and provide experience in using a range of equipment. The module also teaches the 'art' of writing scientific reports.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
24 CATS (Module code: PX110-24)
A (Assessed work only) First year physics laboratory 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics (MPhys) (F303) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 1
  • Undergraduate Physics and Business Studies (F3N1) - Year 1
Optional Core