Kelley Sullivan

Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy


This course serves to continue to develop the experimental skills introduced in Introductory Applied Physics Lab (PHYS 120), expanding these skills and using them to explore a variety of different physical phenomena.

The course goals are:

  • To give you experience with a variety of experiments covering various physical phenomena, including "canonical" experiments.

  • To train you to work independently with modern experimental equipment.

  • To train you in data collection, analysis, and presentation (graphing) via Matlab.

  • To teach you computerized data acquisition via Matlab and LabVIEW, where you can modify pre-written programs, as necessary.

  • To further your knowledge and abilities in error analysis, including: error propagation, mean and standard deviation, least squares fitting, weighted averages, normal distribution, and chi-squared goodness of fit.

  • To teach you how to summarize experiments in an extensive report format, including a basic explanation of the theoretical framework of the experiment and a discussion of results with error analysis.

  • To help you develop a foundation of skills to produce professionally-styled reports including typesetting in LaTeX, creating graphs in Matlab, and drawing diagrams in Inkscape.

  • To teach you the importance of a lab notebook and how to use one properly.

This course relies heavily on various computing resources.  Look to the menu at left to see which programs are required for the course.  Links to download sites and basic instructions on setting up the software is included. 

We will complete a number of tutorials to learn how to use the recommended software and to clarify expectations for report-writing. Resources associated with these tutorials can be found at the link at left and on Sakai.

For more information on the course, visit our site on Sakai.