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PH20093: Experimental physics and computing 2b

[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: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
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:
PH20093B - OT reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to develop further student confidence and competence in experimental laboratory skills, data processing, written and oral presentation skills and the use of scientific computer packages. A further aim is to reinforce elements of second level Physics units by providing experimental examples in these areas. The unit also aims to introduce and develop structured programming skills in a high-level language as a tool for the numerical solution of physical problems.

Learning Outcomes:
While taking this unit the student should be able to:
* successfully conduct short experiments, following written guidelines, on various topics relating to physics and analogue electronics;
* plan, design and carry out a group project consisting of an experimental investigation;
* write detailed scientific reports describing experimental work, displaying an appropriate standard of presentation, style, structure, attention to detail and analysis;
* prepare and deliver an oral presentation based on the group physics project;
* carry out the structured design of a computer program using flowcharts or pseudocode;
* give examples of the introduction of rounding errors due to numerical techniques and methods for minimising such problems;
* write computer programs in a high level structured language including arithmetic expressions, loops, branching instructions and arrays;
* describe and apply methods for testing and debugging programs;
* use numerical techniques to solve physics problems.

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.

Students will be introduced to devices, instrumentation and measurement systems as found in a modern research environment. A combination of short benchmark experiments and longer open ended projects will be employed. Students will routinely work in pairs but larger groups of four or five will be the norm in longer projects. Experiments will be drawn from topics encompassing optical physics, x-rays, electromagnetism, analogue electronics, instrumentation and ultrasonics. These activities will be underpinned by lectures and workshops on computer programming and scientific computer packages.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH20093 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.
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