School of Physics & Astronomy

First year practical work

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The aims of first year practical work in physics are Investigating standing waves

  • to illustrate the subject matter covered in the first year lectures
  • to introduce students to some of the modern equipment that is used in physics laboratories
  • to teach the principles of experimental techniques and methods of analysis underlying experimental procedures.

For each physics module there will be one afternoon period of 2 hours per week of practical work. The laboratory programme is closely linked to the lecture courses and makes extensive use of computers for data collection and processing and for simulations, e.g. in special relativity.

Exploring astronomy in the daylight labAstronomy & astrophysics

The aims of practical work are to encourage, through carrying out simple exercises, an appreciation of the physical properties of objects in the universe, e.g. planetary motions, the masses and temperature of stars, distances to stars and galaxies, and the age of the universe. Students learn also by computer simulation the location and movement of the Earth in space. Voluntary evening sessions introduce students to the night sky and help to develop an appreciation of its natural beauty.

Laboratory sessions in practical astronomy are held for 2 hours per week during afternoons. Students work individually or in pairs at their own pace on four experiments selected from a range which covers planetary motions, radiation laws, properties of the Sun and of the stars, the distribution of stars and galaxies in space, and the expansion of the Universe. In addition, voluntary observing sessions are arranged on clear Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the University Observatory, so that the night sky can be studied and experience gained in the operation of telescopes.

The Physical Universe

There is no laboratory work associated with daytime version of this module. The evening degree version does have one laboratory session as an introduction to experimental techniques.

Last updated BDS 10.8.07