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Department of Physics

Level 1

Introduction

These pages contain information about all of the level 1 lab work you will undertake for the module Discovery Skills in Physics. Additional information will also be available on DUO, including lab allocation lists, slides from lectures and lab scripts. Measurements and their Uncertainties by Hughes and Hase (Oxford University Press, 2010) is an invaluable guide to understanding and using errors in your foray into experiments. As such, it is the recommended textbook for this course and is available from the department.

Course Structure

As well as having several lectures and information sessions throughout the year to support your studies in computing and data analysis, you will be required to partake in experiments in the labs. These are outlined below:

Michaelmas term

You will undertake Discovery Experiments and Skills Experiments. These introduce you to the fundamental ideas and practices of experimental physics. After completing these experiments there will be a number of skills that you will have developed.

In Teaching week 6 you will then meet with your demonstrator for one-to-one feedback on your Lab notebook. Lectures introducing you to the art of report writing will take place later in the term.

Epiphany term

You will implement the skills, ideas and techniques you have learnt in Michaelmas term and experimentally investigate aspects of the Foundations on Physics 1 course in Full Sessions. For two of these, you will write up a full report. One will be formative to give you practice for the following summative report. The last few weeks of term will see you conducting further extension experiments on the topic of your summative lab report, and culminate in a presentation to the rest of your lab group. These are unscripted sessions and can influence the content of your report.

In teaching week 14, you will complete a summatively assessed Lab session, where your Lab techniques and skills will be tested.

The computing assessment this term take the form of four equally weighted summative projects.

Easter term
As part of the Level 2 Laboratory Skills and Electronics module, you will complete a bridge project after your exams.

Report Writing

Report writing can be a difficult process, which is why you will get a lot of practice at doing it before graduating! You will write two extended reports in the Epiphany term of your first year, and in the second and third-year modules you will also write reports about projects that took weeks, in contrast to a single three hour session, to complete. At Level 4, your report will be based on six months of work!

Writing in the style expected for a scientific report does not come naturally to everyone, and some may find it harder than doing the maths or completing the experiments. To help, there are templates and guidelines that can be found on the report writing page. In addition, do not hesitate to contact the English Language Centre at the email address in.sessional@durham.ac.uk for a one-to-one individual consultation on academic writing.