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Durham University

Department of Physics

PHYS3601 Laboratory Project (2013/14)

Details of the module's prerequisites, learning outcomes, assessment and contact hours are given in the official module description in the Faculty Handbook - follow the link above.  A detailed description of the module's content is given below, together with book lists and a link to the current library catalogue entries.  For an explanation of the library's categorisation system see



Dr M.R.C. Hunt and others

24 three-hour practicals in Michaelmas or Epiphany Term

General information: The laboratory is divided into four sections as follows:

Astrophysics - Optical and Atomic Physics - Nuclear Physics - Condensed Matter Physics

Each course consists of a single project and includes preparation, experimental work, data reduction and the production of a written report. Assessment is based on the technical performance in the laboratory and on the content and presentation of the final report.

Single Honours Degree students attend the laboratory course (72 contact hours) in either the Michaelmas or Epiphany Term, but, provided there is space in the laboratory, students may spread the course over two terms if there are difficulties with the timetable.
Students, regardless of the degree subject, are allowed to choose whichever laboratory section they wish and are normally allocated to their choice unless there is over-subscription in a particular section. If the Astrophysics section is over-subscribed, preference will be given to students registered for Physics and Astronomy with the remaining places being allocated randomly.
The laboratory is open during term time normally on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. You will be notified of any variations of these times. Each of the four laboratory sections is normally open for three afternoons per week.
Students in the Astrophysics section are required to attend evening sessions for observing when the weather is clear. This amounts typically to about three hours per week and is included in the laboratory contact hours. As the Durham weather is generally poor, students taking the Astrophysics section must be fully committed to observing when the weather is clear. This includes observing on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Students are expected to sign the attendance register when they arrive for each of the laboratory sessions as this allows us to monitor attendance as required by the University. There is a safety talk at the beginning of each term and all students taking the Lab in that term MUST attend.
Formal notices regarding the laboratory course are posted on DUO and are sometimes also made available on the ground and second floor notice-boards and students should consult these notices.