Quantum Lab Fall 2015 PHYS-340

PHYSICS 340 Laboratory- Fall 2015 Tuesday noon – 3:00 PM

Instructor: Pete Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics, Pete’s Webpage: pschwart@calpoly.edu, 756-1220, 180-608
Office hours: M(1:10), T(3:10), W(12:10), Th(9:10), F(10:10)
Text: Taylor, Introduction to Error Analysis
Melissinos, Experiments in Modern Physics

Grading: 60% of your 340 class grade is the grade you receive in laboratory. This will be determined as follows:

There are 8 experiments that you will do with your lab partner. You will be graded on the following with equal weights:
1) 6 written Analysis on your own, due at 4 PM Monday after the experiment, at my office.
2) 2 full laboratory write-ups submitted alone, due at 4 PM Monday after the experiment, at my office. Submit them with the signed checklist. You don’t have to do a separate analysis if you do a report, because the report should include an analysis.
3) 2 PowerPoint presentations presented together at the beginning of each class,
due at the beginning of class on the week indicated below.

This is a course in experimental physics. Upon completion of the course you will have been exposed to several of the instruments and techniques of experimental physics and have practiced writing reports on the work you did in the labs. A component of the course is learning how to deal mathematically with measurement uncertainty.

Schedule: Kevin and Randy are Partners. Christopher and Devin are partners.

Week Experiment Presenters Full Written Report
1 Introduction, Safety, and intro to Matlab see https://xkcd.com/radiation/
2 Electron e/m
3 Millikan Kevin (e/m) Randy (e/m)
4 Atomic Spectra Christopher (Millikan) Devin (Millikan)
5 Discrete and continuous spectra
Updated lab description
Randy (Atomic Spectra) Kevin (Atomic Spectra)
6 Geiger Counting Devin (Discrete + Continous) Christopher (Discrete + Continous)
7 Scintillation Counting Kevin (Geiger) Randy (Geiger)
8 Absorption of gamma rays Christopher (Scintillation) Devin (Scintillation)
9 Radioactive decay Randy (Gamma Absorption) Kevin (Gamma Absorption)
10 No lab Devin (Radioactive Decay) Christopher (Radioactive Decay)
11 Lab Final

Lab Notebooks: You will keep a lab notebook. This is a hard-bound, quad-ruled notebook into which you will enter your data and observations. It is extremely useful to get into the habit of recording what you do as you go along.

Pre-lab quizzes: These will be short (5-10 minute) quizzes on the upcoming experiment and are given at the start of the lab. They are designed to ensure you read the lab manual before the lab.

Lab final: This will take place during lab in the last week of the quarter (see schedule). It will involve a series of questions drawn from the experiments you did and the material that was covered in lecture. You will also be asked to do some experimental work related to the experiments you did during the quarter. You will be allowed to bring in your lab notebook, your lab reports that have been returned, and your copy of the book by Taylor.

Assessment: This will be done using your pre-lab quizzes, your handed-in lab reports, completion of homework assignments, and a lab final which will be held during the final week of the quarter. Grades will be assigned using the following approximate weights:
Pre-lab quizzes 10%
Lab Reports: 60%
Homework: 15%
Final: 15%

Analysis: For each experiment you are required to conduct a written analysis, including all calculations and answering all associated questions in the lab manual. 4 of the analysis will be handed in and graded alone. The other 4 will be graded as part of your 2 write-ups, and your 2 PPT presentations.

Written reports are meant to simulate a paper presented to a journal. It will include a title, authors, abstract, introduction (with theory and background), procedure (or “experimental”), results and analysis, optional discussion, and conclusion. Written reports are due 4:00 PM Monday after the experiment and will be returned as soon as possible. Because you are only writing two lab reports, the expectation is that the quality is very high. It is possible that you will (be required to, and allowed to) make corrections and resubmit the reports complete with the original graded lab report. Each lab will be turned in with a check-list, which must be completed in order to show that all the parts have been completed and the criteria have been met. Because you may well have to rewrite the report after I read it the first time, please have the entire report on a computer, complete with inlaid graphs and equations.

Late – Analysis and written reports will lose 10% per day late on the final grade.

My requirements are the same as those in your class syllabus and in the beginning of the laboratory manual with the following exceptions:
1) All Raw Data must be included in your lab book – stapled in, taped in, or written in.
2) Rather than a goal, your written lab will begin with an abstract which will very briefly state what you did, and what your findings were.
3) Your procedure will be an account of what was done. It can be written in the first person plural, or passive voice, or in statement of fact such as, “exposing the electrodes to greater than 5000V resulted in electrical breakdown.”
4) In your discussion and conclusion, when you compare your measurements with your theory (what you thought the measurements would yield), an important qualification is whether your measurements are “within the expected experimental uncertainties” of the theoretical value. If it was not, then we should talk because either you made a mistake, or you discovered something we should publish.

Presentations: In lieu of 2 written reports, each person will present 2 of the experiments to present as if at a conference. Your partner can join you as support, and you can agree to share the work, but only one of you will get credit for the presentation. Presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes (you’ll be surprised at how fast this goes by) and must be practiced beforehand. The remaining time will be for discussion.

In Class: A perennial complaint about Quantum Lab is the amount of time spent analyzing data and writing the lab reports. To help alleviate this, you are expected to remain in the laboratory room the full 3 hours. When you finish taking data, start working immediately on the analysis. Doing as much as possible in lab will allow you to check with me and your lab partner that you’re doing it right. You’ll also be there with the equipment if you realize there’s something you need to check. After you leave lab, please come by my office or email me with questions you have about the analysis. There’s no reason for the analysis of any of these experiments to take vast amounts of time.

Additional Details

1 It’s your responsibility to read about the physics necessary to analyze the experiment and to write the Background section of your report before the beginning of the experiment (this will be checked by me each week). There’s information in the lab manual, but usually not enough. You’ll need to consult your Modern Physics book. You may need to consult some of the references cited in the lab manual. There are a variety of reference books on the shelf in Lab. Please do not remove the reference books from lab!
2 Most experiments will not be set up and ready to run. It will be your job to figure out how to put them together. The relevant information is in the lab description. Read the lab description before you come to lab or it will be difficult to finish in the allotted time. I’ll provide information if asked, but I generally won’t come around to tell you what to do. When you enter the lab, go to your experiment for the week and get started.
3 Feel free to have me or the technicians let you into the lab if you need to use the computers or to check on an experiment.
4 If something comes up (life-threatening injury!) and you (will) miss a lab please email or call me as soon as possible, we might be able to make some other arrangements.

Cheating Any form of falsely claiming work to be your own when it is not, falsifying lab data, or plagiarizing another person’s work is considered cheating. Campus policy requires that a student who violates academic integrity shall receive an “F” in the course and risks suspension from the university. Because the penalty for cheating is severe, and because cheating suggests academic or psychological desperation – if you are considering cheating, seek help from myself, or from the counseling center (746-2511) BEFORE you risk irreparable damage to your career, your reputation, and your self-respect.

On a softer note, in science, we learn from, and use information from others. For instance, images can be downloaded from the web to be included in presentations, but the source must be acknowledged. In general, if there is a question about what is allowed, please ask. Ethics is a big deal in science now, but it is not always clear what is reasonable. Hence, learning about these things is important and worth some time and energy.

First Assignment: You are responsible for meeting me before the first presentation. Please come to my office at 25-201. Visit any time I’m not teaching – regardless of whether it is an office hour.

Lab Notebook –
1) Must be a “comp” book with a sewn binding and graph paper (horizontal and vertical lines). They are sold in the bookstore and have a marble cover. Besides buying this lab book, you must also purchase a lab MANUAL that describes the labs that we will be doing.
2) Get names and numbers of your lab partner.
3) Date each entry.
4) Collect data and do calculations in your notebook so that everything is together. All graphs and data go into your book. You can tape or staple computer printouts into the lab book. Graph your data as you collect it (whenever possible) so you can see how the results are coming out.
5) Outline your conclusions and any discussion of your results in your notebook.