2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Advanced Physics Labs at the University of Oregon
Abstract: Advanced physics teaching labs at the University of Oregon include Intermediate Physics Lab (IPL) for second-year students, and Analog & Digital Electronics and Modern Optics Lab for upper-division physics and other majors.   These labs collectively focus on student learning goals such as: simple scientific programming; interfacing probes and sensors with computers for experiment control, data acquisition, and analysis; and gaining technical skills in electronics design and optics instrumentation and phenomenology.

Currently, the IPL is being revised away from a 1 credit per term, 3 quarter lab sequence supporting conceptual physics knowledge (as found in the introductory lab sequence) and towards improving student understanding of measurement uncertainty, data analysis skills and FFT knowledge, all developed within the Matlab programming environment.  Topics also include statistical inference, Monte Carlo techniques, linear regression, binomial and Poisson distributions.  The lab comprises 4 credit hours, on par with a one term lecture course.

Participation in teaching labs also serves to prepare physics majors for substantive, undergraduate research projects, with about 50-60% participation rates among then entire population.  Availability of projects is limited by inadequate student preparation but, also, by available space and resources in faculty research labs.  Consequently, we are looking at a "physics projects" model, where students undertake self-directed or a la carte projects within a two term-course sequence.  Students with adequate levels of preparation will be able to complete projects associated with particular research labs, and under research faculty supervision for course credit.  All participants will prepare posters and research talks.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session II - Syllabi Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Dean Livelybrooks
University of Oregon
Department of Physics
1274 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
Phone: 541.346.5855
and Co-Presenter(s)
Eric Torrence