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PH10115: Experimental physics and computing 1b

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Physics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: PR 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Practical (PR 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
PH10115A - Reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
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 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;
* plan, design and carry out a physics project consisting of a small-scale experimental investigation;
* analyse experimental and observational data, and write a formal scientific project report;
* 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 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: An independent project 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 and investigating unfamiliar phenomena. PC laboratory sessions: Introduction to programming in Python. Poster presentation: The students' 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
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH10115 is only available subject to the approval of the Physics Director of Studies/Director of Teaching.


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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