This course will train students in basic experimental physics that include topics in mechanics and basic wave optics. The laboratory sessions are designed to provide an active learning experience where key concepts can be better appreciated. Students will also learn about data acquisition, error analysis, error distribution and fitting procedures.
Dr. YU Ting
Office: SBS B3
Ms. Wong Choun Pei
Office: SBS B3
Students are continually assessed by:
The weightage for each experiment is the same.
The score for E1: Uncertainty of measurements (exercise) will be taken as the score for one experiment.
There is no final
Students are required to perform eight experiments in this course. The first 'experiment' is a written exercise designed to familarize students with the concepts of physical measurements and error analysis. The remaining seven are practical experiments. Please check the sequence of experiments that you and your lab partner will follow.
Experiment 1: Uncertainty in Measurements (Written Exercise)
In this exercise, students will learn the uncertainties involved in measurements, as well as the analysis of random errors. The concepts learnt will be applied to several subsequent experiments.
Experiment 2: Analysis of the Random Errors in an Experiment
Students will find the position of resonance for the plunger in the air column of a resonance tube. Repetition will generate a set of data that is randomly distributed. Students will learn the origin of random errors, the Gaussian distribution of these errors and the Chi-squared test. Another objective of this experiment is to acquire Microsoft Excel skills for data handling and analysis.
Experiment 3: A Ball Rolling Down an Inclined Plane
The aim of this experiment is to find the angle of inclination of a plane for which the time taken for a steel ball to roll down the plane is the shortest. Through the experiment, students will learn about problem analysis, theoretical modeling, as well as experimental testing. Another objective is to introduce the topic of data rejection and its justification (Chauvenet’s Criterion).
Experiment 4: Air Track Collisions
Conservation laws are among the most elegant and important laws in physics. This experiment seeks to reinforce students’ understanding of the concepts of elastic and inelastic collisions, linear-momentum conservation and energy conservation. Students will also learn about the limits of experimentation, the minimization of errors, the comparison of two measured numbers and the consistency of experimental data with conservation laws.
Experiment 5: Michelson Interferometer
A Michelson interferometer is widely used for measuring unknown wavelengths of light and for measuring very small distances using known wavelengths of light. This experiment seeks to familiarize students with the working principles of the Michelson interferometer. Students will use the setup to measure the wavelength of the laser light source. They will be able to better appreciate the Michelson-Morley experiment used in the study of special relativity.
Experiment 6: Motion in a Viscous Medium
An object falling in a fluid will experience a resistive force. Students will study the viscous drag on plastic beads falling in a column of dish-washing liquid. Through this experiment, they will gain a better understanding of Stokes' law and its limitations, as well as the properties of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids.
Experiment 7: The Bounce of a Ball
Students will study the dynamics of a bouncing ball in this experiment. A motion sensor records the motion of a basketball; and a force platform measures the force that the bouncing ball delivers to it. Concepts such as the coefficient of restitution, impulse, change in momentum and energy loss will be investigated. This experiment also aims to provide some familiarity with the use of data loggers in the collection of experimental data.
Experiment 8: Microwave Optics
This is an adaptation
of the experimental competition of the 37th International Physics
Olympiad held in
|SEQUENCE OF EXPERIMENTS
IMPORTANT: Please choose a lab partner from the same lab group and email Ms. Wong Choun Pei (firstname.lastname@example.org) his or her name as soon as possible so that a sequence of experiments can be assigned to you and your partner.
Attendance is compulsory for all official lab sessions. Absence must be accompanied with valid reasons or a medical certificate. Otherwise, you will not receive any marks for that experiment. Only students who are absent with valid reasons will be granted makeup lab sessions.
You are required to download and read the lab manual before coming to lab class. Please bring along your own copy of the lab manual to the lab.
|GENERAL LAB RULES
Follow all the precautions stated in the lab manuals!
drinking are not allowed in the lab.
Avoid wearing clothes
or accessories that hinder your work. Tie up long hair, so that it does not get
caught in the apparatus. You are advised to wear proper shoes.
If you injure yourself
or are feeling unwell, inform the instructor immediately.
If you need to try out
your own procedures which are not stated in the manual, approach the instructor
Exercise care (and
some common sense) when working with the equipment.
You may use the
computers in the lab for doing your lab report or data analysis. You are
not allowed to play music or videos or games as they disturb your peers who want
to do serious work. If you do not need your files anymore, remove them from the
computer. Try not to save your files in the computer as you may find them
gone or maliciously altered the next time you use the computer. It is advisable
to carry a thumb drive with you all the time.
Printing is not
available in the lab.
Tidy up your work area
once you are done with your work.
Physics for Scientists and Engineers, R. A. Serway and J. W. Jewett, 6th Edition, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2004 - (ISBN: 0534408427) - Compulsory
Physics, D. Halliday, R.
Resnick and J. Walker, 7th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2005 - (ISBN:
0471232319) - Recommended
An Introduction to
Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical
Measurements, J. R. Taylor, 2nd
Edition, University Science Books, 1997 - (ISBN: 0935702423) - Recommended
Introduction to Measurement Theory and Experiment Design, D. C. Baird, 3rd
Edition, Prentice Hall, 1995 - (ISBN: 133032981) – Recommended
|LOCATIONS OF LABS
The experiments will be conducted in B2 N-05 and B3 N-31 in the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) building (before we shift to our new building in December 2007).
Experiments conducted in B2 N-05 (Tel: 6316-2983):
Experiment 2: Analysis of the Random Errors in an
Experiments conducted in B3 N-31 (Tel: