PH10102: Experimental physics and computing 1
[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]
Academic Year:  2020/1 
Owning Department/School:  Department of Physics 
Credits:  12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits] 
Notional Study Hours:  240 
Level:  Certificate (FHEQ level 4) 
Period: 

Assessment Summary:  PR 100% 
Assessment Detail: 

Supplementary Assessment: 

Requisites:  While taking this module you must take PH10003 
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 selfpaced laboratory demonstrations. The unit provides a preparation for work in the undergraduate physics laboratory by developing students' understanding of error analysis and statistics, as relevant to the understanding and interpretation of experimental data, Two additional aims are to introduce computer programming, 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; * set up and carry 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; * apply dimensional analysis to expressions linking measurable variables; * evaluate the standard error on a mean of experimental measurements; * apply leastsquares fitting to experimental data; * plan, design and carry out two physics projects consisting of smallscale experimental investigations; * analyse experimental and observational data, and write formal scientific project reports; * design and make a poster based on a physics project, and present this at an open poster presentation. Skills: 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. Content: Techniques of measurement: Examples include use of oscilloscope, light sources and detectors, operational amplifiers, geometrical optics, introduction to computer data acquisition. Demonstrations: Examples include velocity of light, astrophysical data analysis, elastic properties, spectrum of atomic hydrogen, ultrasonic waves in air, the Michelson interferometer, heat engines, and photoelectric determination of Planck's constant. Electronics: Resonant ac circuits and filters. Operational amplifiers. Project: Two independent projects to simulate the processes of researching, planning, performing, analysing and reporting a smallscale experimental investigation. The topics are chosen from a wide range of physics and astrophysics topics appropriate to firstyear students, including hypothesis testing, design of apparatus and investigating unfamiliar phenomena. Handling data lectures (4 hours): Dimensional analysis, and orders of magnitude (dimensional homogeneity, Rayleigh Method). Describing data distributions, and estimating uncertainty (mean, variance, standard deviation). Combining errors, Gaussian errors as a consequence of the Central Limit Theorem. Linear regression (least squares; error in the gradient and intercept). PC laboratory sessions: 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 computers for scientific purposes, including analysis of astrophysical data. Introduction to programming in Python. Scientific report writing skills: Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the constituent parts of a scientific report: abstract, introduction, method, discussion, conclusion and referencing. 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. 
Programme availability: 
PH10102 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:Department of Physics

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