Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Laboratory Physics
Academic Year
Available semesters 1 and 2
Mutually Exclusive
Registration on degree scheme: Joint Physics (major Physics), Space Science & Robotics.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical 3 hour practical per week x 11 weeks


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Spreadsheet data analysis exercise  15%
Semester Assessment 2 lab reports - 30% each  60%
Semester Assessment Lab diary  25%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Practical exam  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Keep a laboratory diary

Write laboratory reports using a word processing package

Determine the causes and minimize the effect of experimental uncertainty

Present a value of a physical measurement together with its associated error

Use and appreciate the limitations of simple laboratory instruments

Use a spreadsheet to perform basic computational exercises in physics

The above skills to the performance of basic experiments in physics

Brief description

Experimentation is a fundamental part of the physical sciences process. It allows us to understand the world around us, to develop theories and to test those theories. In this module you will learn the basic techniques of performing experiments, taking measurements, accounting for uncertainty in your measurements, analysing results and comparing them with theory.
In recent years, computational physics has added a new dimension to experimentation because the power of modern computers and software has made the collection of vast amounts of data and realistic simulations of complex phenomena possible. This has widened the areas that are accessible to physicists as well as introducing a new discipline, computational physics, into the curriculum. The widespread use of computer modelling in industrial, financial and managerial areas has meant that students with these skills are in very demand.
Experimentation forms a fundamental part of a Physics degree in Aberystwyth, with the experimental physics modules being arranged so that students progress over the three or four years as a result of following a set of detailed instructions, from performing simple experiments in the first year, to researching a topic and devising their own experiments and investigations in their final year projects.
This module will introduce physics undergraduates to the key area of experimental physics which can be used to understand the world around us, and learn how to use the power of computational physics to enhance the design and interpretation of experimental results.
Undergraduates will be expected to keep a laboratory diary as they are conducting the experiments. In addition to the notes kept in the diary, students will be expected to write up 2 of the experiments as formal reports, including background research into the topics.


• Introduction to PC packages available in the teaching laboratories.
• Introduction to computational physics using SciLaba spreadsheet.
• Basic error analysis.
• Keeping laboratory diaries and writing reports.
• Simple electrical experiments; use of multi-meter and oscilloscope.
• Mechanics Experiments; balancing forces in a static system.
• Optics Experiments; diffraction and the wave nature of light.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number In essence, physics is based on the use of mathematics and experimental physics on the manipulation of number. Application of number is a central part of this module.
Communication Students will keep laboratory diaries and write reports on experiments.
Information Technology Modern data analysis is dependent on the use of computers. In the experimental physics, students use a spreadsheet to analyse data and will be expected to word process their lab reports.
Problem solving Students will apply problem solving techniques in the course of experimentation and in the handling of data arising from experiments.
Research skills Students will be expected to research the background to experiments.
Subject Specific Skills Design and performance of experiments. Analysis of experimental uncertainty.
Team work Students will generally do experiments in groups of two and we would encourage co-operation in the solution of modelling problems.

Reading List

General Text
Nelkon, Michael. (1987.) Advanced level physics /Michael Nelkon, Philip Parker. 6th ed. Heinemann Educational Primo search

Tipler, Paul Allen (2004.) Physics for scientists and engineers /[Paul A. Tipler, Gene Mosca] 5th edition. W.H. Freeman Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4