Physics 261 - General Physics: Vibrations, Waves, Heat, Electricity and Magnetism (Laboratory)

Spring 2009

Course description: General Physics: Vibrations, Waves, Heat, Electricity and Magnetism (Laboratory) Lab includes experiments on mechanics, vibrations, waves, heat, electricity and magnetism. PHYS260 and PHYS261 (lab) must be taken in the same semester and the grade for the courses will be combined into a single grade for both. To pass, students must complete passing work in both PHYS260 and PHYS261.
Pre-requisite none
Co-requisite: PHYS260
Textbook: PHYS261 lab manual
CORE status This course is designated a CORE Physical Science Lab (PL) Course when taken in conjunction with PHYS260
Instructor Prof. Arthur La Porta
Dept. of Physics
Institute of Physical Science and Technology
1111 IPST (building #085)
(301) 405 3291 (on campus x53291)
alaporta 'at' umd 'dot' edu
Section Information
SectionTeaching AssistantcontactRoomTime
101H. H. Chenhsinghenchen 'at' yahoo 'dot' comPHYS 3219W 17:00-19:50
102H. H. Chenhsinghenchen 'at' yahoo 'dot' comPHYS 3219M 12:00-14:50
103H. H. Chenhsinghenchen 'at' yahoo 'dot' comPHYS 3219M 15:00-17:50
104S. Solomovichssolomov 'at' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219Tu 14:00-16:50
105S. Solomovichssolomov 'at' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219Tu 9:00-11:50
106S. Solomovichssolomov 'at' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219Tu 17:00-19:50
107J. Elleelle1270 'at' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219W 11:00-13:50
108B. Suribalasuri 'at' mail 'dot' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219W 14:00-16:50
109B. Suribalasuri 'at' mail 'dot' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219Th 9:00-11:50
110J. Elleelle1270 'at' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219Th 15:00-17:50
111B. Suribalasuri 'at' mail 'dot' umd 'dot' eduPHYS 3219Th 18:00-20:50

A map of section times and staff for PHYS261 (and PHYS271) is linked here

Faculty Office Hours Monday, 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Tuesday 2:30pm to 3:30pm
Course Outline The class meets once per week, and consists of eight experiments which are described in detail in the lab manual. In addition to these eight meetings, there are two meetings for Culminating labs and two meetings for making up missed labs. The first substantial lab is performed on the second week of classes. In the first week, there is a manditory, introductory lab meeting in which lab procedures will be explained and students can become familiar with Excel and other software to be used on the laboratory computers.

Each lab session lasts three hours, and will begin with a 10-15 minute discussion of the lab by the TA. The class will be based on the ELMS/Blackboard system. Each week the solutions to a set of pre-lab questions (found in the lab manual) must be uploaded before the lab can be performed. The lab report itself consists of an Excel spreadsheet which will contain all data taken, as well as analysis and discussion. In an effort to reduce workload, the report is expected to be a succinct summary of data, analysis and conclusions without redundant or superfluous discussion. The spreadsheet itself must be turned in at the end of the lab session (either uploaded into ELMS or transmitted in another form, to be agreed upon with the TA).

The Culminating Labs are essentially closed book practical exams, in which the students will answer a set of questions, which may require data to be acquired using apparatuses used in the four prior lab sessions.

In order to pass the class all labs and culminating labs must be completed, without exception. Students are permitted to perform labs in make-up sessions only if they have a legitimate reason for failing to attend a lab session. In the event that you miss a lab session, e-mail the instructor, who may be able to make arrangements for you to attend another section during the same week. The lab make-up sessions are reserved for instances when this is not possible.

Preparation The in-class writeup chosen for this lab is meant to revolve the common complaint that writing up lab reports can be extremely time consuming. In this class we require a succinct presentation of data, analysis and interpretation in the form of an Excel file. The labs generally require less than two hours to perform, leaving ample time for analysis and interpretation. However, to perform the experiment in this time frame you will have to be prepared. It is therefore essential that you come to lab having completed the pre-lab questions and having read and understood the instructions.
Grading Policy
eight regular labs60%
two culminating labs40%

The scoring of each individual lab report will break down as follows

prelab questions20%
postlab questions15%

Lab Schedule

Week Dates Experiment # Experiment Title
1 January 26-30 Experiment 0 Introduction to the class and Excel training
2 February 2-5 Experiment 1 Introduction to Error Analysis
3 February 9-12 Experiment 2 The Pendulum
4 February 16-19 Experiment 3 Forced Harmonic Motion
5 February 23-26 Experiment 4 The Vibrating String
6 March 2-5 Experiments 1-4 Discussion and Make-up
7 March 9-12 Experiments 1-4 Culminating Lab 1
8 March 16-19 - Spring Break
9 March 23-26 Experiment 5 Position Velocity and Acceleration
10 March 30-April 2 Experiment 6 Centripetal Force and Acceleration
11 April 6-9 Experiment 7 The Ideal Gas Law and Absolute Zero Temperature
12 April 13-16 Experiment 8 Equipotentials and Fields
13 April 20-23 Experiments 5-8 Make-up and Discussion Week
14 April 27-30 Experiments 5-8 Culminating Lab 2