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Department of Physics, Unit Catalogue 2011/12

PH10011: Laboratory & information skills 1

Click here for further information Credits: 12
Click here for further information Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Click here for further information Period: Academic Year
Click here for further information Assessment: PR 100%
Click here for further information Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Click here for further information Requisites: While taking this unit you must take PH10003
Click here for further information Description: Aims:
The primary aims of this unit are to give the student confidence and competence in basic laboratory and information processing skills, and to introduce laboratory project work. Further aims are to encourage the application of basic principles to unfamiliar areas of physics, and to reinforce other course material through self-paced laboratory demonstrations. Two additional aims are to introduce the use of computer software to simulate electrical circuits, and to give students experience of presenting their work in the form of a poster.

Learning Outcomes:
While taking this unit the student should be able to:
* demonstrate the correct use of common laboratory equipment, such as oscilloscopes, multimeters, digital timer/counters and optical detectors;
* correctly follow written instructions for setting up and carrying out experimental demonstrations related to level 1 physics units;
* use a scientific log book for recording details of experimental procedure, experimental results and data analysis;
* use a computer software package to simulate the operation of passive electronic networks and compare the results with the measured behaviour;
* plan, design and carry out two physics projects consisting of small-scale experimental investigations;
* use computer software packages for word processing, spreadsheet and data analysis to write two formal scientific project reports;
* design and make a poster based on a physics project, and present this at an open poster presentation.

Written Communication T/F A, Spoken Communication T/F A, Numeracy T/F A, Data Acquisition, Handling, and Analysis T/F A, Information Technology T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A, Working as part of a group T/F, Practical laboratory skills T/F A, Project planning/management T/F A.

Techniques of measurement: Examples include use of oscilloscope, light sources and detectors, operational amplifiers, geometrical optics, introduction to computer data acquisition.
Demonstrations: Examples include statistics of radiation counting, elastic properties, spectrum of atomic hydrogen, ultrasonic waves in air, the Michelson interferometer, vibrations of strings, photoelectric determination of Planck's constant.
Electronics: Passive dc circuits on protoboard. Resonant ac circuits. Filters. Operational amplifiers. Combinatorial and sequential logic circuits.
Project: Two independent projects to simulate the processes of researching, planning, performing, analysing and reporting a small-scale experimental investigation. The topics are chosen from a wide range of physics appropriate to first-year students, including hypothesis testing, design of apparatus, assessing published proposals and investigating novel phenomena.
PC laboratory sessions: Introduction to PCs. Windows. The use of spreadsheets, such as EXCEL, to perform statistical operations and data analysis. The use of word processors, such as WORD, to produce technical reports. The use of information technology and services for scientific purposes, including email, internet resources, library system. Computer packages for circuit simulation: standard computer software is used to simulate the behaviour of simple, passive, electrical circuits, and the simulation is tested against measured behaviour.
Poster presentation: The students' second project is presented in the form of a poster, in a style similar to that of conference posters. This will be judged by staff and students at an open presentation.
Click here for further informationProgramme availability:

PH10011 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USPH-AFB01 : BSc (hons) Physics (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AFB05 : BSc (hons) Physics with Computing (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AKB06 : BSc (hons) Physics with Computing (with Placement) (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • USPH-AAB06 : BSc (hons) Physics with Computing with Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1
  • USPH-AKB02 : BSc (hons) Physics (with Placement) (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 1
  • USPH-AAB02 : BSc (hons) Physics with Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1
  • USPH-AFM02 : MPhys Physics (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AFM04 : MPhys Physics with Research Placement (Full-time) - Year 1
  • USPH-AAM03 : MPhys Physics with Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 1

NB. Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.