Physics 262a

Physics 262A is the laboratory part of Physics 262 and meets in room Z-3219. This course carries one credit and the grade is folded in with the Physics 262 course grade. You must pass Physics 262A in order to pass the entire course. If you do not pass this part of the course you will be required to repeat the entire course. The labs meet twice a week three hours each and you will be expected to complete eight regular labs and one culminating laboratory activities. You must complete all of the labs, including the culminating lab in order to pass the course. You are expected to attend each class and will be allowed to make up labs only under exceptional circumstances. Lab 0 (spreadsheet) is also required and must be turned in before you attempt Experiment 1.

During the three hour laboratory period, you will have a brief introduction about the lab, perform the experiment, do your analysis and write-up and turn in your report. The experiment should take less than two hours to perform (including the introduction), but in order for you to complete your work in the allotted time you must read the lab write-up before coming to class and answer the prelab questions.

The Physics 262A laboratory uses spreadsheets (Excel) to analyze data. You therefore will be expected to use the spreadsheet the same way as any other tool in the lab. You should have been exposed to the spreadsheet in your engineering courses, but Experiment 0 offers a simple tutorial on spreadsheets in general and specifically Excel.

Our aim in this lab is to enhance the understanding of the laboratory experiments you perform while at the same time minimizing the amount of time spent on analysis and write-ups. This means it is not necessary to do extensive write-ups. Overly long or padded lab reports will be penalized. Each week's lab includes a prelab assignment. The culminating lab is a special lab where you will be given questions about a number of the labs you performed during the semester. An example of possible questions is included in the lab manual and you should review the ones for each lab after you have completed that experiment. This will make the culminating lab much easier!

The course grade for Physics 262A will be determined as follows:

80% for the eight regular labs

20% for the culminating laboratories


The scoring on the regular labs will be based approximately as follows:

Prelab 20% ( 0, 10%, 20%)

Data 40%

Analysis 25%

Questions 15%


The prelab will graded in units of 10%. In order to get 20% on the prelab you must make a sincere attempt to do the prelab completely. Incomplete or poorly done prelabs will be graded at either 0 or 10%. You will work with lab partners and will share data with them. However, you will be responsible for doing your own analysis and write-up. Each person in the group will also be required to demonstrate proficiency with the spreadsheet. You will be tested on this basic skill during the lab sessions. If by the end of the second lab, you cannot demonstrate to your teaching assistant the ability to do simple tasks on the spreadsheet your grade will be progressively reduced each week until you can. The point is: You must learn to use the spreadsheet. You must buy the current lab manual available at the bookstore.


Lab Schedule for Summer 2001

Week #
Experiment 0. Introduction to Data Analysis with Spreadsheets 
Experiment 1. Introduction to Error Analysis 
Experiment 2. The Pendulum 
Experiment 3. Forced Harmonic Motion 
Experiment 4. The Vibrating String 
Experiment 5. Position Velocity and Acceleration 
Experiment 6. Centripetal Force and Acceleration 
Experiment 7. The Ideal Gas Law and Absolute Zero Temperature 
Experiment 8. Equipotentials and Fields 
Make-up and Discussion (Experiment 0-4) 
Make-up and Discussion (Experiment 5-8) 
Culminating Lab.  

NOTE: In order to pass Physics 262 you must pass Physics 262a. In order to pass

Physics 262a you must complete all labs including the culminating labs.