Level 1 labs are about building the skills required to be a competent experimental physicist – a “working scientist”. By doing small, self-contained experiments that last a single session, you will learn basic lab skills such as:
The first sessions are designed to familiarise you with the basics of experimental physics and good general practices.
These sessions are less prescibed, so you'll have to start thinking for yourself (like an experimental physicist).
This section of the course aims to develop your basic, working knowledge of the programming language Python.
As well as having several lectures and information sessions throughout the year to support your studies in computing, data and error analysis, scientific writing, and professional development, you will be required to partake in laboratory experiments.
In Michaelmas term, you will undertake a set of skills sessions to become familiar with good laboratory practice and common equipment, as well as receiving feedback on your record-keeping.
In Epiphany term, you will undertake Discovery Sessions to experimentally investigate topics within foundational physics. You will also receive training in basic Python, learn how to write scientific reports, and give a short presentation targeted towards a general audience.
In Easter term, you will complete a Bridge Project after exams as part of the Level 2 Laboratory Skill and Electronics module. This is a scripted activity in a group, using the skills you have learnt during the year to undertake an open-ended investigation.
The required reading for this module is Measurements and their Uncertainties by Hughes and Hase (Oxford University Press, 2010). It is an invaluable guide to understanding and using errors in your experiments. It’s recommended that you have your own copy and bring it to each lab session.
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