Physics Laboratory - PHYS5000

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Most practicing physicists at some point will be required to perform experiments and take measurements. This module, through a series of experiments, seeks to allow students to become familiar with some more complex apparatus and give them the opportunity to learn the art of accurate recording and analysis of data. This data has to be put in the context of the theoretical background and an estimate of the accuracy made. Keeping of an accurate, intelligible laboratory notebook is most important. Each term 3 three week experiments are performed. The additional period is allocated to some further activities to develop experimental and communications skills including communication to a non-specialist audience.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 57
Private study hours: 243
Total study hours: 300


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Assessment 1: (Laboratory book and 3000 word report, 12.50 %)
Assessment 2: (Laboratory book and 3000 word report, 12.50 % )
Assessment 3: (Laboratory book and 3000 word report, 12.50 % )
Written Communication: (2 pages + reference list, 6.25%)
Oral Communication: 6.25%
Assessment 4: (Laboratory book and 3000 word report, 16.60%)
Assessment 5: (Laboratory book and 3000 word report, 16.70%)
Assessment 6: (Laboratory book and 3000 word report, 16.70%)

Indicative reading

Core Text:
Kirkup L., Experimental Methods (John Wiley and Sons, 1994, ISBN 0471335797, paperback)

Taylor J.R., An Introduction to Error Analysis (1997)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
An ability to execute and analyse critically the results of an experiment or investigation and draw valid conclusions. To evaluate the level of uncertainty in these results and compare them with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data; thereby to evaluate the significance of their results in this context.
An ability to use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour.
Competent use of appropriate C&IT packages/systems for the analysis of data and the retrieval of appropriate information.
An ability to present and interpret information graphically.
An ability to communicate scientific information, in particular to produce clear and accurate scientific reports.
A familiarity with laboratory apparatus and techniques, including relevant aspects of Health & Safety.
The systematic and reliable recording of experimental data.
An ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Have a knowledge and understanding of:
Problem-solving skills, in the context of both problems with well-defined solutions and open-ended problems; an ability to formulate problems in precise terms and to identify key issues, and the confidence to try different approaches in order to make progress on challenging problems. Numeracy is subsumed within this area.
Investigative skills in the context of independent investigation including the use of textbooks and other available literature, databases, and the interaction with colleagues to extract important information.
Communication skills in the area of dealing with surprising ideas and difficult concepts, including listening carefully, reading demanding texts and presenting complex information in a clear and concise manner. C&IT skills are an important element to this.
Analytical skills – associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.
Personal skills – the ability to work independently, to use initiative, to organise oneself to meet deadlines and to interact constructively with other people.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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