Physics 276 - Experimental Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism
Prof. Belloni - Fall 2014

Course information:

Oscillations and AC circuits using complex variables, Fourier series and integrals, waves on strings, sound; electromagnetic waves from Maxwell's equations in differential form; physical optics.



Prof. Alberto Belloni, PSC 3208F, Phone: 5-6058, e-mail: abelloni [at]

Office Hours:

by appointment; feel free to contact me to schedule a meeting. You are also welcome to come to my office without an appointment, however I may not be available.


Prof. Hoffman and I will occasionally substitute for one another.

Optional Texts:

In addition, you should have purchased a general introductory physics textbook for your PHYS272 class. For example:

You will need to refer to this or a similar textbook occasionally.

Other material:

You will be provided with a radio on the first day of the semester. We do not have extras of very many of the components, so please be careful not to break or loose it. You will be provided with a yellow storage bin for your components, or works in progress. Later in the semester we will have versions of the radio that will work with your low impedance iPod earbuds. You may elect to bring earbuds to class.


Course description:

Physics 276 is a 2-credit laboratory course for the physics major sequence dealing with electricity and magnetism and primarily electric circuits. It is the second course in the three semester introductory sequence. The prerequisites are Physics 272, 275 and the associated mathematics courses.

Course policies:

Students are required to do all of the assigned experiments and complete a lab report for each. If you are not able to attend a scheduled lab section, make an arrangement in advance by writing to the teaching assistant (TA) and the instructor to get permission to attend another lab session in the same week. Only those with a valid written excuse for missing a lab will be considered. Students are responsible for notifying the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester about projected absences due to religious observances during the semester. If a missed lab cannot be made up in the same week, it must be made up during the make-up week at the end of the semester. Late arrival or making phone calls during the lab are not allowed.

Course requirements:

Experiments: Students are required to do all experiments. Failure to do this will result in a failed grade for the course. Students are required to submit a spreadsheet record of all that was done in the lab, including the raw data, questions, solutions, mysteries, discoveries, etc. One spreadsheet is required at the end of each experiment. The in-class spreadsheets will be graded out of 40 points as follows:

Laboratory Report: You are required to submit a written report of your results for two of the experiments. Lab reports should be submitted as an MS Word or PDF file. The reports should be submitted electronically using the ELMS system (, and will be due at the start of lab the following week. The lab report will automatically lose 5% of its maximum points per day for each day it is late. A missing lab report will cost one letter grade for the course. Missing a lab entirely and not making it up will result in failure of the course. An outline of the requirements for the report is available on the class web site.

Pre-lab Homework: Each week, you will be given a homework assignment designed to prepare you for the next lab. The homework will consist of a quiz or problems related to the upcoming lab and/or a short writing assignment regarding the lab. This is to be submitted online and is due at least 1/2 hour prior to class

Presentation: Each student will give a short (about 10 minutes) oral presentation on one of the Experiments. You may be asked to present your experiment proposal based on your understanding of the manual at the beginning of the class. You may also be asked to present the experiment including results at the end of the lab.

Final exam: The final exam will be based on material covered during the semester. Students are expected to take data following appropriate experimental procedures and explain the underlying physics. No makeup will be allowed for missing the final exam.

Discussion: Part of a class meeting will be devoted to discussions of the physics and data analysis for the experiments. Participation in these sessions is just as important as the experiments themselves. Attendance is mandatory. However, this is not a lecture course, and the main way that you will learn experimental physics is to by doing and discussing, rather than just discussing.

Presentations: Each student will give a 15 minute oral presentation relevant to AM radio and telecommunications. The list of suggested topics includes:

The presentation should be accompanied by electronic slides written in Power Point format (or equivalent) that is prepared in advance. Your slides should be uploaded on elms no later than 24 hours in advance. Topics are chosen first come, first serve, so pick a topic early for the best selection. Presentation dates are also first come, first serve, so sign up early!


Laboratory Managers:


Bad weather:

Winter in the Washington Metro area can bring large snowstorms that make travel dangerous. Should this happen and the University is closed as a result during a scheduled lab, class will be cancelled, and we will most likely reschedule the lab for the following week. Closing is announced over local radio/TV and the University's homepage:

Additional tips:

Science research involves writing a proposal, carrying out experiments, and publishing research papers. In a research proposal you propose an experiment to meet the science goal you want to achieve. You need to justify how the experiment will help understanding of the science you set for your research objective. While conducting experiments, scientists keep record of what they do, analogous to what you will practice with your lab notebook in the form of an excel spreadsheet. Specifically, the excel spreadsheet is to keep a record of what you did in the lab and to remind yourself of your findings. To communicate research findings, the results are published in science journals. No matter how great your discoveries, if they are not published no one else would know of your discoveries and the world will not be able to utilize them. You will practice this by writing lab reports. You should write down your findings in an effective and convincing manner to your peers. Tabulating the data and plotting graphs are the most effective way of presenting data. In addition to writing down your experimental settings, you must perform error analysis to convince people of the reproducibility and validity of the data. As writing a lab report is like writing a journal paper for a publication, doing pre-lab homework is like writing a proposal. Using the same format as the lab report, you will write what you plan to do in the lab. Your pre-lab text can be used for your lab report.

Academic Integrity:

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit


Students with documented disability should contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to discuss accommodations.


The instructor reserves the right to make minor changes to this syllabus to meet the specific needs of the class during the semester.