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Unit information: Practical Physics 203 in 2020/21

Unit name Practical Physics 203
Unit code PHYS29030
Credit points 30
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Bell
Open unit status Not open

PHYS10005, PHYS10006, PHYS10004, or equivalent.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Physics is a discipline which has observation and experimental validation at its heart. This unit consists of laboratory work, computer workshop and laboratory conference presentation. It continues the development of key experimental skills, the use of various standard pieces of apparatus and analysis of data. The experiments allow for student input into design and measurement. Transferable skills are included by having formal write-up of experiments, an assessment viva for each experiment, a group presentation within a class conference structure. The unit also allows for computing skills to be taught and used, with a requirement to produce computational exercises for assessment.


To enable further familiarity with the techniques of experimental physics including experimental design, use of appropriate apparatus, collection and analysis of data. To give experience of report writing and presenting experimental results in a conference setting. To increase computing skills.

To receive credit for this unit, students must make a reasonable attempt at every aspect of the teaching and assessment, including any pre- and post-laboratory work, practical experiments, formal reports and presentations, computing, group-working and workshop activities. Failure to do so may result in credit being withheld, even if the overall mark is above the pass mark for the unit.

Supplementary or resit assessment of this unit is only possible through engagement in the following academic year.

Intended learning outcomes

Able to use apparatus appropriately in order to allow meaningful results to be obtained. Understand some of the principles underlying the design of experiments. Understand the significance of a laboratory notebook, and the measurement and interpretation of data. Able to present the results of an experiment in a manner appropriate to a professional physicist. Able to collaborate with others in the presentation of experimental results in a conference setting. Able to use computational methods appropriately.

Teaching details

  • supervised laboratory sessions; students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode should note that it is likely they may be required to complete practical work or alternative activities in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy any accreditation requirements
  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples on error analysis and report writing, together with
  • guided independent exercises to develop and test understanding of computing
  • independent practical activities

Assessment Details

Mark for each experiment based on laboratory notebook and viva, formal write-up of two experiments, group presentation of one experiment, computing exercise.

Reading and References

To be advised.