2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Honing Experimental Physicists at UW-River Falls
Abstract: We will present the course structure for the stand-alone Advanced Lab sequence at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  The two-course sequence is required for all students majoring in Physics, Applied Physics or Physics Education.  This sequence of rigorous training in the tools of experimental physics has been an integral part of our physics program for 40 years, and is regularly cited by alumni as a key part of their education.  Advanced Lab meets for 6 hours each week (with students typically working another 12 hours per week outside of class) for two full semesters.  The experiments evolve throughout the year to encourage student independence in the laboratory.  Due to large class sizes (8 - 16) and limited budgets, the course focuses on laboratory skills and analysis, rather than specific sophisticated technologies.  In the second semester, students are encouraged to pursue an extended independent project of their own design, thereby honing their research skills prior to undertaking their senior research project or other undergraduate research projects. Evaluation procedures include detailed inspections of laboratory notebooks, multiple formal lab reports with required re-writes, and oral 'group meeting' style presentations.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session II - Syllabi Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Lowell McCann
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
410 S. Third St.
Physics Dept.
River Falls, WI 54022
Phone: 715-425-3196
and Co-Presenter(s)
Earl D. Blodgett, University of Wisconsin - River Falls, earl.d.blodgett -at- uwrf.edu