Undergraduate Physics Labs

Spring 2017

Lab Start Dates

PHYS 150: January 19th

PHYS 151: January 19th

PHYS 050: January 23th

PHYS 051: January 25th

PHYS 101: January 26th

PHYS 102: January 26th


Check the Lab Schedule for more details.

Lab Procedure

Students will work in small groups of about 3 students and complete an experiment during each lab meeting. There will be 10 labs total. Procedures for each lab can be accessed via your Lab Schedule or in the Experiments section. Please obey the following guidelines for each lab:

  1. Leave the lab exactly how you found it! Other sections use the same rooms and equipment. Be considerate to students and lab staff by taking care of the equipment.
  2. Report all problems/breakages immediately! Don't try to fix something yourself. You may not repair it correctly, which may result in taking data using broken or uncalibrated equipment.
  3. Come to the lab prepared! Read the Lab Procedure ahead of time and complete the pre-lab exercises. Bring a scientific calculator and a notebook to each lab.
  4. A lab writeup for each group is due at the end of the lab session. It should be submitted electronically to your TA.

Pre-Lab Assignment

A pre-lab assignment is given in the lab procedure for each lab. Students will submit the pre-lab online through Canvas by midnight of two days before the lab (e.g. a Thursday lab would have pre-labs due Tuesday night). The TA will then grade the pre-lab during that intervening day and provide feedback to the students. Failure to complete a pre-lab will cause an automatic “Needs Improvement” for the lab.

Grading Policy

Labs are taken pass-fail. Students must complete each lab in order to pass the course. Absence from a lab without permission could lead to an F or incomplete in the course. The following grading scheme will be used for each lab:

Excellent (E), Passing (P), Needs Improvement (NI), Fail (F)

If two NI grades are received, the third NI will turn into F. Successful completion of the lab includes handing in a pre-lab exercise for every lab. The above grades will be based on the following aspects each lab writeup.

  • Presentation
    The report should be clear, organized and readable. Consult the Graphing Guide for guidelines on making graphs.
  • Questions
    Correct answers to the questions listed in the lab procedure will receive full credit.
  • Results and Conclusions
    Must include a summary of the data, graphs (clearly labelled) and conclusions. Should also include a comparison of actual results with expected results and a discussion of sources of error with numerical estimates

Note: Points will NOT be deducted because of "bad data" (i.e. results that deviate from an expected data due to experimental error) as long as you provided a thorough examination of your error in the "Discussion, Sources of Error and Conclusions" section.

9-10 points = Excellent

7-8 points = Passing

6 = Needs Improvement

5 or lower= Failing