Laboratory for Physics II


Laboratory course that provides experimental activities relevant to the Physics II course (Phys 3172). The experiments are designed to be exploratory activities where the students learn from doing and observing, as opposed to following a recipe. Computers are employed for data collection, analysis, and report preparation.


Through this laboratory course, the students will: operate and handle laboratory equipment properly apply safety precautions and procedures applicable to experiments use computers in the collection and analysis of experimental data identify the variables and constants in a problem situation make reasonable predictions or formulate hypotheses regarding the probable outcome of an experiment. Use various techniques of graphical analysis to investigate the relationship between experimental variables plan and work in an organized and systematic fashion recognize the best way of collecting, recording, representing data and analyzing results. Employ and discuss the concepts of experimental error, uncertainty, accuracy, discrepancy, random error, systematic error, reliability, percent error. Draw proper conclusions based on direct experimental evidence; to assess the range of validity of results and to show the correlation of experiment to theory. Carry out experiments with minimal instruction write a clear, informative, and logical scientific reports. Develop a laboratory experience and write a suitable manual for it give a practical/oral presentation of an independent lab project

Course Content

Week 1: Safety rules and introduction the lab equipment and computers
Week 2: Calorimetry
Week 3: Heat Engine
Week 4: Thermal conductivity and expansion
Week 5: The fuel cell
Week 6: Electric field and voltage
Week 7: Ohm´s law, resistors in parallel and series
Week 8: Kirchhoff´s law
Week 9: Magnetic field
Week 10: RC and RLC circuits
Week 11: Geometrical optics
Week 12: Diffraction and refraction
Week 13-14: Development of an independent project
Week 15: Presentation of projects

Instructional Strategies

The experiments are designed to be exploratory activities where the students learn from doing and observing, as opposed to following a recipe. Laboratory reports are handed in at the end of each laboratory experience. Computers are employed as much as possible for data collection, analysis, and report preparation. At the end of the semester, pairs of students develop a laboratory experience of their own during two lab periods and present their project for the rest of the class in the last lab meeting. The presentation consists of a practical/oral explanation of the experiment and the corresponding written laboratory manual with diagrams and sample results.

Minimum Required Facilities

Laboratory room, computers, printer, interfaces, sensors, and laboratory equipment.

Student Evaluation

Ten laboratory reports count 5% each, for a 50%. The other 50% is given for the independent project: 25% for the practical/oral presentation and 25% for the laboratory manual.

Grading System

The overall score is determined by calculating the percentage of points obtained by the student, based on 80% lab reports and 20% exam grades. Grades are then assigned according to the standard curve: 100-90% = A, 89-80% = B, 79-70% = C, 69-60% = D, 59-0% = F.