PHYS208 Fundamentals of Physics II

  The principles of science, the definition, almost, is the following: the test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific truth.  
  Richard Feynman, 1963  


Laboratory work is an essential part of the introductory physics course. It will likely play an important role in your career as scientist or engineer as well. Time spent in the laboratory, developing skill and experience in making good measurements, is a critical part of your training. Our laboratory schedule presents ten laboratory exercises that have been selected to develop further your ability to: Finally, this laboratory experience should provide you with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of some of the concepts of introductory electricity and magnetism.


Bjoern Rosner
Phone: (302) 831-6403
Office: Sharp Lab 027
Office Hour: Wednesday 5:00-6:00pm


Laboratory Manual for General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism (Revised Printing), George Watson, Kendall-Hunt Pub. Co., 1997; ISBN 0-7872-3407-9


All laboratory sections meet in Sharp Lab 101B.

Tuesday   Wednesday   Thursday
Sec. 32   Sec. 33   Sec. 34
3:30 - 5:30   1:25 - 3:25   1:00 - 3:00


Satisfactory laboratory work is required to receive a passing grade for this course. Attendance is mandatory; attendance at a section different from your normally scheduled one may be arranged beforehand with permission of the lab instructor. All lab reports must be submitted to the lab instructor within 48 hours. The grading schedule for late reports and the makeup policy for missed labs will be announced by the lab instructor. The lowest lab grade will be dropped; this can be used to accommodate one missing lab assignment.

The lab manual should be studied before coming to the lab meeting. A short discussion will be given at the beginning of each lab to orient each student to the equipment and instructor's expectations. Generally the lab exercises will be performed by teams for two students. Lab reports should be submitted in the recommended spiral notebook containing graph paper, available in the university bookstore.

  The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double logarithmic diagram.  
  Source unknown  


Laboratory sections begin meeting regularly during the second week of classes.

Lab# Week of Topic
1. Feb. 16 Error Analysis Review
2. Feb. 23 Introduction to Electrical Measurements
3. Mar. 2 Introduction to the Oscilloscope
4. Mar. 9 Sinusoidal Waveforms, Phase Shifts, and Lissajous Figures
  Mar. 16 no lab
5. Mar. 23 Ohm's Law and Resistivity
6. Mar. 30 Multiloop Circuits
  Apr. 6 Spring Break
7. Apr. 13 RC Circuits
8. Apr. 20 Magnetic Force on Electrons
9. Apr. 27 Magnetic Fields of Short Solenoid and Helmholtz Coils
  May 4 (continuation; this lab counts as 2 labs)
10. May 11 Transmission Lines

A Closing Thought on Grading of Laboratory Notebooks:

Quality . . . you know what it is, yet you don't know what it is. But that's self-contradictory. But some things are better than others, that is, they have more quality. But when you try to say what the quality is, apart from the things that have it, it all goes poof! There's nothing to talk about. But if you can't say what Quality is, how do you know what it is, or how do you know that it even exists? If no one knows what it is, then for all practical purposes it doesn't exist at all. But for all practical purposes it really does exist. What else are the grades based on? Why else would people pay fortunes for some things and throw others in the trash pile? Obviously some things are better than others . . . but what's the "betterness"? . . . So round and round you go, spinning mental wheels and nowhere finding anyplace to get traction. What the hell is Quality? What is it?
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig

Online References:

Uncertainty of Measurement Results from the NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty

Last updated March 31, 1998.
Copyright George Watson, Univ. of Delaware, 1997.