KD4015 - Experiments and Discovery

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What will I learn on this module?

Experimental work is an important component of physics and this module provides the student with the opportunity to learn and develop core skills in observing physical phenomena and in the analysis of the results of measurements.

Students will perform experiments in a series of laboratory sessions across a broad range of physics topics, gaining experience in the use of standard laboratory equipment used in physics and also on the importance of systematic observation of physical phenomena capturing results and analyzing data to derive appropriate conclusions. The module also introduces the student to the concept of data acquisition, analysis using a computer and computer control of experiments.

Learnings and skills developed in this module:
Experiments spanning mechanics, optics, electromagnetism, electricity, thermodynamics, atomic physics and quantum physics.
Experimental techniques including recording data, plotting results, linear and logarithmic axes, and line of best fit.
Data analysis: statistical treatment of data; systematic and random errors; and combination and propagation of errors.
Computational work including: data acquisition and instrument control using National Instruments LabVIEW; and data analysis using Microsoft Excel.
Writing scientific reports: planning, structure, diagrams, tables, graphs and writing style.

How will I learn on this module?

The learning strategy of this module is based on a combination of lectures and laboratories. Lectures give a formal introduction to physical and mathematical aspects to be applied in laboratories. Laboratories provide hands-on training in experimental Physics, but will often address topics with links beyond the discipline, thus strengthening the students’ transferable skills and employability.

Students will work in pairs in the physics laboratory, supported by tutors, developing hands-on experimental training through execution of laboratory scripts. Data will be treated using statistical error analysis and data fitting techniques to compare with theoretical models underpinned by fundamental physics. Technology is inherently involved in supporting students’ learning for example through introduction to optimisation using spread sheet software and control of experiments via National Instruments LabVIEW.

Summative assessment is via the completion of the prescribed laboratory experiments (assessed as pass or fail) as evident from student’s lab-book. This will enable the student to experience a broad base of experimental physics. Additionally students will submit a formal laboratory report (100%) detailing one experiment. This enables students to develop important scientific reporting skills such as the presentation and analysis of data.
Verbal feedback on experimental technique and on upkeep of lab-book will be provided during the laboratory sessions. Students will also receive written feedback in relation to the formal laboratory report.

Independent study is supported by further technology-enhanced resources provided via the e-learning portal, including lecture notes, e-hand outs, sample problems and past-paper questions

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Laboratories will be the main point of academic contact, offering the student with a formal teaching environment for core learning. Laboratories will provide students with opportunities for critical enquiry and exchanges.

Outside formal scheduled teaching, students will be able to contact the module team (module tutor, year tutor, programme leader) either via email or the open door policy operated throughout the programme.

Further academic support will be provided through technology-enhanced resources via the e-learning portal. Students will have the opportunity to give their feedback formally through periodic staff-student committees and directly to the module tutor at the end of the semester.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Conduct experiments across a broad Physics base using standard laboratory equipment.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Capture and analyse experimental data.
• Identify sources of experimental uncertainty.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Perform critical comparisons of experimental data with theory and derive suitable conclusions
• Analyse and present experimental data in a professional manner using appropriate software.

How will I be assessed?

SUMMATIVE
1. Assignement (100%) – KU1, IPSA1, IPSA2, PVA1, PVA2

FORMATIVE
1. Lab-book KU1, IPSA1, IPSA2, PVA1, PVA2


Feedback will take several forms including: individual verbal / written comments on lab work delivered in class or via blackboard; verbal feedback on the seminar work; written feedback on the report based on the experimental laboratories and on the assignment.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

In experiment and discovery you will learn and develop core skills in observing physical phenomena and in the analysis of the results of measurements. You will perform experiments in a series of laboratory sessions across a broad range of physics topics, gaining experience in the use of standard laboratory equipment used in physics and also on the importance of systematic observation of physical phenomena capturing results and analyzing data to derive appropriate conclusions. The module will also introduce you to techniques in data acquisition, analysis using a computer and computer control of experiments. Summative assessment is via the completion of the prescribed laboratory experiments as evident from your lab-book. Additionally you will submit a formal laboratory report (10 pages) detailing the findings of one experiment. This will help you develop important scientific reporting skills such as the presentation and analysis of data.

Course info

UCAS Code F2W4

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years full-time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

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Your Learning Experience find out about our distinctive approach at 
www.northumbria.ac.uk/exp

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