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Unit information: Practical Physics 212 in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Practical Physics 212
Unit code PHYS29031
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Chris Bell
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of Level C/4 of Chemical Physics or Theoretical Physics degree programme.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Physics is a discipline which has observation and experimental validation at its heart. This unit 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. A number of transferable skills are addressed in the unit. These include, written and oral presentation, group work and computational skills. These are acquired through an assessment viva for each experiment, formal write-ups of some experiments and a group presentation at a laboratory conference, and a taught computing skills element that involves self directed study.


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, computing, presentations, 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

Students should be able to:

  • Use apparatus appropriately in order to allow meaningful results to be obtained.
  • Interpret data and describe the limitations of their analysis.
  • Be able to describe the principles underlying the design of experiments.
  • Maintain a useful laboratory notebook.
  • Produce a written report describing the results of an experiment in a manner appropriate to a professional scientist.
  • Work within a group to produce a scientific presentation based on one of the laboratory experiments
  • 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

Formative assessment is provided through laboratory interviews and through interim exercises in the computing workshop.

Summative assessment is provided through:

  • Marking of Laboratory notebooks and interview (30%)
  • Formal Report (15%)
  • Group Presentation at Laboratory Conference (15%) including peer assessment
  • Computing exercises (40%)

Reading and References

In the laboratory students will be directed to relevant books and papers which will depend on the experiments undertaken.