Undergraduate Course: Practical Physics (PHYS08048)
|School||School of Physics and Astronomy
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course is designed for pre-honours physics students. It provides an introduction to computer programming, data analysis and experimental laboratory techniques. It serves both as a preparation for further practical work in physics-based degree programmes, and as a stand-alone course for students of other disciplines, including mathematics, chemistry, geosciences, computer science and engineering. The course consists of laboratory sessions and workshops to develop understanding, familiarity and fluency.
- Introduction to python programming, basics of Linux, executing programmes
- Data types, variables and operators
- Command line and file input and output
- Conditional statements, loops and lists
- Importing and using python modules, mathematical functions, simple graphs
- Introduction to functions
- Reusable code, finding and fixing bugs
- Uncertainty, accuracy and precision
- Mean value; standard deviation; error on the mean
- Using a spreadsheet for data analysis
- Combining uncertainties
- Graphs and graph plotting
- Least squares methods
- Application to a real-world problem
- Introductory lecture on research methods, keeping a lab book, and writing reports.
- Two 3-week experiments chosen from Compound and Kater Pendula, Radioactive Decay, Atomic Spectroscopy, Michelson Interferometer and Geometric Optics.
- One 3-week experiment on digital and analogue electronic circuits
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 33,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||30% Programming/Computer skills
20% Data analysis
50% Experimental laboratory
To pass the course it is required to obatin a weighted average of 40% across all the assessments AND 40% in the Experimental laboratory component.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Appreciate the relationship between experiment, theory and computation as scientific techniques, and assess whether an experimental result (in conjunction with an estimated error) or output from a computer program is physically reasonable
- Explain the importance of reproducibility of scientific work, and the role that laboratory notebooks and quantitative statements of confidence in results play in achieving this
- Apply standard practical techniques (e.g., routine handling of common laboratory equipment, linear least-squares fitting and writing short, procedural computer programs) as directed in a lab script to achieve a stated goal
- Present a record of an experiment or computation in an appropriate, clear and logical written form (e.g., lab notebook, lab report, fully documented computer code), augmented with figures and graphs where appropriate.
- Take responsibility for learning by attending laboratory sessions and workshops, and completing coursework
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Prof Malcolm McMahon
Tel: (0131 6)50 5956
|Course secretary||Miss Danielle Jeffery
Tel: (0131 6)50 7218