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Unformatted text preview: Lab reports for 2"d year experimental physics.
What is expected in a laboratory report for PHYSZ211, 2212, 2213 You may be taking the 3rd year course in experimental physics next year. In that course formal
laboratory reports will be required and your mark will be heavily based on them. This 2tld year course will provide some practice toward that. You will be expected to submit something in the form of a lab report rather than the answers to a
list of exercises. While these reports have been described as “formal lab reports” perhaps a better
description is that your labs should be of that format but abbreviated. The report should include
the answers to the exercises in each experiment as well as relevant, data tables, graphs, ﬁgures
and qualitative comments. Each experiment closes with a “your lab report should include”
comment to this effect. To allow the markers to conﬁrm that you did answer all the exercises you
should include the exercise numbers where they are addressed in the report. We include below a description of a formal report in hopes that you work toward this format. For
this course I would expect at least a few sentences for sections 1 and 2. For section 3, a brief summary of the experimental procedures performed is expected in abdut 1 paragraph.
Approximately 90% of the eﬁ‘ort should be dedicated to sections 4 and 5. In this course a
bibliography (section 6 below) is not expected (of course you are welcome to include one if
outside sources were used). Section 7 could include your actual notes in their rough form (or a photocopy). By preparing the reports as described the marker should'berable-to judge if you understood the
experiment, physics, data, analysis, uncertainties and conclusions. Further; you will be able to
look back at these and remember what the report is about and review the basics of the physics. 1 . Abstract. State brieﬂy your method and the main results, with comparison to published
values. (Typically paragraph, ~10 sentences). Example:
The results of a measurement of the gravitational constant using the Cavendish method are presented. Experiments were carried out and data. taken over a period of . . . Results ﬁ‘om the
2 data sets (result 1, result 2) were consistent within uncertainties with a combined result for
this fundamental constant, G , of (6.4 a 0.8) x 10‘ll N m2 kg'z. .. The dominant uncertainty
came from . .. The measured value is in agreement with the accepted value of (6.67259+/-
0.0000???) x 10'11 N in2 kg'2(provide a reference) which was determined using the technique of.... Note that the quotation of the estimated uncertainty of the experiment and the accepted value
are listed in the abstract using the appropriate signiﬁcant ﬁgures. This permits the reader to
make a general assessment of your experiments relevance after reading only the abstract. In
refereed journals this is like the “Hook” in which you convince the reader that the experiment
is reliable and they should read the following article. This brieﬂy describes the technique
used so the reader can be reminded of other reports on similar experiments. This is where the
reader/marker will get a ﬁrst impression of your experiment and if it is worth the read. 2. Introduction. A concise review of the physics relevant to this experiment ﬁts well here.
Equations are labeled throughout so you can refer to them later. Long derivations should be
placed into an appendix with a suitable reference in order to facilitate reading. Figures (even
if photocopied from the lab manual) are labeled and referred to in the text. ' 3. Method. This is not a step-by-step set of instructions! You describe how you carried out the
experiment. A thorough description of the apparatus used with diagrams (with labels and
captions) to which you refer in the text. Describe what you think were important details when
carrying out the experiment. Don’t get bogged down in trivia. Remember to refer to your lab
note book for speciﬁc details. 4. Results (INCLUDING ERROR ANNALYASIS). Experimental data are summarized in
tables (with label and caption). If the tables are very long, they can also be placed in an
appendix. In this situation you would still provide an exemplary result in the text, say 10
measurements ﬁom the table, and place the bulk into an appendix. Provide explanations about where your numbers (particularly uncertainties) are coming ﬁ'om.
Carry out an error propagation analysis with an explicitly calculated example. (An‘ error
analysis includes an examination of the relative contributions of each error toward the ﬁnal
result (including statistical and systematic) so that one can pinpoint the dominant uncertainty. 5. Discussion (Conclusion). Summarize your experiment and compare your results to the
accepted value(s). Is the deviation within the estimated error bounds? Provide comments
discussing the agreement or disagreement. Answer questions that were asked in the lab
manual (if this hasn't been covered before in the report). Conclude with remarks concerning
how you think the experiment could be improved if you were to retake the course. 6. References. Bibliography. Compiled using the resources introduced in the Thursday library
classes. ~ 7. Appendices. Appendices contain details that would otherwise inhibit reading your report.
How much material should be deferred to appendices is a judgment call. Label them properly. ...
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- Spring '10