**SYLLABUS**

Room 010, Blodgett Hall, MW 4:30-5:50 p.m. & W 6:00-8:30 p.m.

**TEXTS:**

- P.R. Bevington & D.K. Robinson,
*Data Reduction and Error Analysis for the Physical Sciences, Second Edition*, McGraw Hill, NY, 1992. - A.C. Melissinos,
*Experiments in Modern Physics*, Academic Press, NY, 1966.

**GOALS:**

The goals of the course are:

- To teach students advanced methods and procedures of experimental physics as they repeat some famous experiments in atomic and nuclear physics.
- To familiarize students with research equipment and make them aware of some basic research techniques.
- To provide students the opportunity to learn how to interpret experimental results.
- To convince students that theory can be tested experimentally and provide them with the satisfaction of being able to do so.
- To teach students theoretical principles and practical computational methods of error analysis, while they experience the reality of experimental error.

**METHODS AND TOPICS:**

After lecture discussions on the principles and concepts involved, students will
perform experiments using equipment in the physics laboratory, analyze the data they
obtain and write up reports of their results. Some possible experiments include:

- Millikan Oil Drop experiment
- Frank-Hertz experiment
- Photoelectric effect
- The prism spectrograph
- Spectrum of various atoms: Hydrogen, Sodium, Mercury
- Thermionic Emission of electrons from metals
- Radioactivity, the Geiger Counter, and Sheilding
- Cloud Chamber
- Zeeman Effect

Some experiments will be able to be completed within one week, but most will require two or three weeks.

**STUDENTS SHOULD EQUIP THEMSELVES WITH A BOUND, FINE-MESH,
GRAPH-PAPER RULED BOOK IN WHICH TO KEEP THEIR LABORATORY NOTES
AND EXPERIMENTAL DATA IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. **(Loose-leaf notebooks are
not acceptable for the laboratory portion of this course.)

Data analysis topics will include:

- Uncertainties in Measurement
- Probability distributions
- Error analysis and propagation of errors
- Estimates of the mean and errors
- Least-squares fitting of data to various functions
- The method of maximum-likelihood.

**COURSE REQUIREMENTS:**

Students will be expected to write a laboratory report on each experiment that
they complete. Reports are due one week after each experiment has been completed.

A high-quality laboratory report will contain the following parts, appropriately modified to apply to the experiment performed:

- Cover page (name of experiment, experimenter's names, date(s) experiment performed, date submitted, name of submitter, experiment number, school name and course number)
- Abstract
- Theory and Experimental Method (your summary of the key ideas behind the experiment)
- Equations, Sample Calculations (and where appropriate, explanation of units)
- Discussion of Experiment, Data Obtained, and Results
- Error Calculation(s)
- Probable Error Calculation(s)
- Comments
- Summary
- Answers to any questions posed by the text, the instructor, or yourself
- Bibliography

Note that some of these sections can be written before the experiment has been started. Other parts may be written while the experiment is underway, but some sections can not be scribed until you have completed the experiment.

**GRADING:**

There will be two exams (a midterm and a final) that will cover both the
theoretical background of the experiments performed and the data analysis topics discussed
in class. A student's average for the course will be the average of their laboratory
report grades and their two exam grades with each item weighted equally. Letter grades
will be assigned to an average based on the following conversion table:

- A+ = 96 or better; A = 92 to 95; A- = 90,91;
- B+ = 88,89; B = 82-87; B- = 80,81;
- C+ = 78,79; C = 72-77; C- = 70,71;
- D+ = 68,69; D = 62-67; D- = 60,61;
- F<60.

On-time and Late laboratory reports will be scored as follows:

- On-time report: Maximum possible score = 105.
- One day late: Maximum possible score =90.
- For each additional calendar day late, deduct 2 points from 90 to obtain your maximum possible score.

Students are expected to complete at least five experiments during the semester.

Attendance policy: Since so much of the course involves actually working with the equipment in the laboratory, students who are absent are responsible to contact the instructor and make arrangements to get into the laboratory to complete their experiments in a timely manner. Every effort will be made to accomodate the efforts of legitimately absent students to catch up with their laboratory work.

**OFFICE AND HOURS:**

- Adelphi University, Department of Physics and Engineering Studies, Blodgett 8C, Garden City, NY 11530.
- (516) 877-4879
- ahner@adelphi.edu (I check this every three or four days)

I expect to be in the office or the laboratory:

- MW 2:30-4:30 p.m.
- T 1:00-3:00 p.m.

A link to a copy of the most recent version of this syllabus can be found at http://www.adelphi.edu/~ah17530.

Last updated 1/15/2001.