2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Use of LabVIEW™ in a Senior-Level Capstone Laboratory
Abstract: Our Experimental Methods of Physics course is our capstone course, and one of its main goals is for the students to draw upon, integrate, and build on the physics that they have learned in the rest of the curriculum.  We use LabVIEW™ as the backbone of the course.  Although computers have enhanced science instruction in many ways and our students' are quite capable of using computer sources for information gathering, their practical programming skills and experience are often lacking. We will present examples of how we use LabVIEW™ at Franklin and Marshall College to provide that experience as well as enhance students' understanding of experimental design, data gathering, reduction and analysis. The exercises assist in fulfilling the course goals by exposing students to large real-time data sets, thus enabling them to obtain quantitative results in experiments to which they must apply previous course knowledge. We focus on a small number of physics "themes" for which we begin where previous courses ended and extend the students' understanding to concrete phenomena illustrated in one or two experiments per theme.  In completing the experiments and the LabVIEW™ exercises students must grapple with concepts such as data sampling rates, advanced curve fitting, and error propagation that would need to be added more artificially without computer interfacing.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session II - Syllabi Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Dr. Linda S. Fritz
Franklin & Marshall College
PO Box 3003
Lancaster, PA 17604
Phone: 717-291-3809
and Co-Presenter(s)
Dr. J.K. Krebs
Dr. N.S. Dixon