PHYS2641 Laboratory Skills and Electronics (2011/12)
Content and Teaching Methods
Dr A. Hindmarch and others
One full week in June of the previous academic year.
Syllabus: A team-based project providing a transition from Level 1 to Level 2 laboratory work. Students will work in teams on an extended project lasting one week, which will develop their problem-solving, teamwork and presentation skills. (Suitable alternative arrangements will be made for any students who are unable, for good reason, to undertake the bridge project in June.)Each project will be in the form of a problem and the team will direct their research under the guidance of a member of staff. There is no "right way" to solve the problem and it is the team's responsibility plan and carry out an approach in order to solve it. These projects will cover a wide range of physics problems, including astronomy and applications of physics, and you will be given the opportunity to select a project that interests you. Project titles and supervisors will be made available on DUO in April and each student will be asked to sign up for a project on a first come-first served basis in the first week of the Easter Term.
Each student will work in a team of 4 to 6 people to investigate a problem through research for 35 hours (1 week). The project will be directed by your team (with guidance from a staff member) who will act as a supervisor and meet with the team for up to one hour per day. The team will have access to existing departmental teaching laboratory equipment and will be asked to create a webpage (wiki) about their investigation. Each member of the team will be will be expected to keep a good laboratory notebook with their results and experimental methods and asked to keep an online diary (blog) about their personal contribution to the project. The project will be assessed by an informal discussion using the webpage (wiki) and through monitoring the blogs and lab books.
Introduction to Programming
6 lectures and 9 workshops in Michaelmas Term
Syllabus: Computer programming and programming languages. Representations of numbers. Introduction to numerical computation. Programming in Python: variables, expressions, types, control flow, functions, arrays, input/output, objects and methods.
Students will be expected to work at their own pace through a set of exercises, followed by some short assessed work and finishing with a short assessed programming project. Tuition will be given through the lectures and through extensive printed notes intended for self-study. Each student will attend a weekly demonstrator session. Students will use the Python facilities provided on University ITS facilities. It is the responsibility of individual students to ensure that they are registered with the IT Service to access the network. The final lecture will take the form of an invigilated test.
6 three-hour sessions in Michaelmas Term
Syllabus: An introduction to experimental physics at Level 2. This course has typically 30 minutes of instruction and two and a half hours of practical work per session. Students work in teams. The course emphasises the skills necessary for experimental physics. The main topics are experimental design, data/error analysis, cryogenics and an introduction to the Labview software used to control and log data from measurement devices. Recording and reporting results are also covered with training in the writing of both short and long reports and in oral presentations.
6 lectures in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms
Syllabus: Part A: Analogue Electronics. Components: introduction to electrical circuit theory transients, networks, AC theory, passive filters, diodes, transistors. Systems: noise, measurements, amplifiers. Part B: Digital Electronics: components.
Additional: Electronics: A Systems Approach, N. Storey (Addison-Wesley, 2nd Ed.)
Additional: The Art of Electronics, P. Horowitz and W. Hill (CUP)
Additional: Microelectronic Circuits and Devices, M.N. Horenstein (Prentice Hall)
6 three-hour sessions in Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms
Syllabus: Practical classes mirroring the lecture content. The final session will take the form of an invigilated practical electronics test.
Textbooks: As for Electronics Lectures above.
Dr G.H. Cross and others
6 three-hour sessions in Epiphany Term
Syllabus: Long experiments in the physics laboratory, chosen from a list of titles. Students usually work in pairs but in some cases, individually.
Lab Locations: 205/216/218/220/226/228
Computer Classroom: 140
Lab technicians: 224
Drop point for assignments: 224
Lab opening times:
Michaelmas Term: week 2 onwards
Epiphany Term: all term
Laboratories: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, 14:00-17:00
Computer classroom: 09:00-18:00 except during other classes
Safety first! We want you to enjoy the lab classes in an environment that is safe for you and others. Please be attentive in the safety briefings at the start of each term. Please feel free to ask for safety advice from staff, demonstrators and lab technicians at any time.
Lab staff: Each lab activity is supported by a member of staff, by postgraduate demonstrators and by the lab technicians, Ian Manfren and Reece Stockport.
Requirements: A compulsory briefings takes place in week 1 in the Michaelmas Term. Attendance at the lab sessions is compulsory - you must sign the attendance sheet for each session (this is your own responsibility). All students are required to keep a lab notebook. Assessment and deadlines will be published in the departmental list.