Physics 174: Physics Lab Introduction

Fall 2007, Prof. Abazajian

What the course is about:

Physics 174 is an introductory Physics Lab that meets for two hours each week in Room 3115 of the Physics Building. In this course you will be expected to master a few basic ideas and tools which you will need for later labs, including: understanding experimental errors, using computer spreadsheets for analyzing, plotting and fitting data, and working with simple electrical circuits and electrical measuring equipment.

Web Site: To get the latest information on Physics 174, check our web site at:    then go to Academics, Courses, Phys 174, Fall 2007

Or, you can get there by logging onto the elms course page:  You will need to use your U Maryland Directory ID and password to reach the class pages.

Lab sections: I teach one lab section on Tuesday, 14:00-15:50.

In addition, Professor Arpita Upadhyaya has three sections on Wednesday (phone x5-4877 email and Prof. Elizabeth Beise (phone: 405-6109, email: teaches three sections on Thursday.  If you miss a class, you might be able to make it up during one of their sections. You should contact the appropriate instructor for permission.




Teaching Assistant




Hao Li




Hao Li




Brandon Anderson

0103 Thursday 14:00-15:50 Brandon Anderson
0104 Thursday 09:00-10:50 Hao Li
0106 Thursday 12:00-13:50 Justin Wilson

Prerequisites: The only prerequisite or co-requisite for the course is Math 140. This course is intended for, but not limited to, students who are interested in majoring in Physics.

Texts: Physics 174 Lab Manual - December 2005 edition. Also you'll need a book on data analysis:  "A Practical Guide to Data Analysis for Physical Science Students" by Louis Lyons. 


Arriving late to class:

Classes at Maryland begin right on the hour. It is important that you arrive on time to Physics 174 so that you can get instructions for the lab and have time to finish. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, you may not be allowed into the lab and will likely have to make it up during another section.  This is hard, because the sections are full, so, don't be late!

My contact Information:

Office: Physics Bldg, Rm 4101               
Phone: 405-6009                                         
Office Hours: Monday 3-5pm or by appointment.


  Teaching Assistants:



Justin Wilson

Physics Dept Office:





Office hours

By appt

Lab Makeup Time: If you miss your regular lab section, then you should make that lab up by going to another section that same week. If you have questions about the lab, the equipment, or the homework, you can also stop by during this time. If you cannot attend another section, contact your instructor ASAP and a time for a makeup lab will be arranged. In general, this should be done the same week as the lab is scheduled.


    50%     Lab Spreadsheets
    20%     Homework:    Do the homework!!!
    15%    Test on spreadsheet, errors and measurements
    15%    Test on the oscilloscope and electrical circuits

Missing one Lab (and not making it up before the next lab) will cost one letter grade in your final grade. Missing one homework set will cost one-half of a letter grade in your final grade. No credit will be given for late homework unless you are seriously ill and provide a written note from your physician.

Homework is assigned at the end of each Lab. You will turn your homework electronically (we'll tell you how to do this at the first meeting) and you can turn it in anytime during the week, but by no later than 11:55 PM on the Monday before your next lab. Graded homework should be available about week after you turn it in.

General Comments on Homework: Finishing all the labs and homework sets is very important. Missing even one homework set will definitely hurt your grade. Just do it! Also, if you can't completely finish a homework set, turn in what you do have. When you are working on the homework sets, feel free to discuss among yourselves to try to figure out what is going on. However, do not use these discussions as an excuse to copy someone else's solution to the homework, or let someone else copy your solution. That is cheating and is strictly forbidden. It is also very self-defeating since another part of your grade will come from tests. The right way to discuss the homework is to first work through a problem on your own and arrive at a definite answer. With this preparation you can then discuss intelligently with your colleagues and see if you have missed something essential. Of course, you can always ask one of your instructors - that's what we get paid for. One final thing, if you get something fundamental wrong on a homework set or the practical tests, you will probably be assigned extra problems to solve until you master the concept.

Schedule for PHYS174, Fall 2007

Note the two exams on Oct 9/10/11 and Dec 4/5/6!

Aug 28/29/30 :  NO CLASS

Sep 04/05/06: Exercise 1

Sep 11/12/13: Exercise 2

Sep 18/19/20: Exercise 4

Sep 25/26/27: Exercise 5*

Oct 02/03/04: Exercise 6 (Review)

Oct 09/10/11: EXAM (called Exercise 7)

Oct 16/17/18: Exercise 8

Oct  23/24/25: Exercise 9

Oct 30/31, Nov 01: Exercise 10

Nov 06/07/08: Exercise 11

Nov 13/14/15: Exercise 12

Nov 20/21/22: Thanksgiving week. no lab

Nov 27/28/29: Exercise 13 (Review)

Dec 04/05/06: EXAM (called Exercise 14)