2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Upper-level lab sequence at Wittenberg University: paths to student independence
Abstract: The intermediate and advanced lab experience at Wittenberg consists of labs associated with the Modern Physics course and the Wave Phenomena course, and a junior-level Electronics lab.  Modern Physics and Wave Phenomena are designated as writing intensive, so keeping a lab notebook and writing technical papers are emphasized. The Electronics course emphasizes debugging and project design. The amount of student independence is deliberately increased throughout, leading up to a required senior capstone project evaluated via oral presentations.

The Modern Physics laboratory includes several classic experiments (photoelectric effect, electron charge/mass, electron diffraction, H/D isotope shift, superconductivity); a series of microwave analogs of light and matter wave experiments (Michelson interferometer, Bragg scattering, evanescent waves/tunneling); and nuclear physics experiments including gamma-ray spectroscopy, half-life of Ba-137m and K-40, and neutron activation analysis using our 300 kV accelerator.

The Electronics course consists of a half semester of analog electronics followed by a half semester of digital electronics, concluding with student-designed projects using the BASIC Stamp microcontroller.

The Wave Phenomena laboratory includes several experiments that involve waves in a variety of contexts (measuring the dispersion relations in stings, coaxial cable and glass) and optics (behavior of thin and thick lenses, simulations of lenses).  While most of the experiments are directly connected to the course material (waves and optics), some are not as strongly connected to the course material (propagation of pulses in cables, measuring the speed of light from the resonance frequency of an RLC circuit).  The course concludes with a lab that the students design.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session II - Syllabi Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Elizabeth A. George
Wittenberg University
Physics Department
PO Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501
Phone: 937-327-7854
and Co-Presenter(s)
Paul A. Voytas (Wittenberg University, pvoytas -at- wittenberg.edu)

Jeremiah D. Williams (Wittenberg University, jwilliams -at- wittenberg.edu)