Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

# Module PHYS1101: DISCOVERY SKILLS IN PHYSICS

## Department: Physics

### PHYS1101: DISCOVERY SKILLS IN PHYSICS

Type | Open | Level | 1 | Credits | 20 | Availability | Available in 2012/13 | Module Cap | None. | Location | Durham |
---|

#### Prerequisites

- A-Level Physics and A-Level Mathematics.

#### Corequisites

- Foundations of Physics 1 (PHYS1122) AND ((Single Mathematics A (MATH1561) and Single Mathematics B (MATH1571)) or (Linear Algebra 1 (MATH1??1) and Calculus and Probability 1 (MATH1??1))).

#### Excluded Combination of Modules

- None.

#### Aims

- This module is designed primarily for students studying Department of Physics or Natural Science degree programmes.
- It provides basic experimental and key skills required by physicists, and should be taken by all students intending to study practical physics beyond Level 1.
- Using experiments in physics as the vehicle, the module provides a structured introduction to laboratory skills development, with particular emphasis on measurement uncertainty and written communication skills.
- The module provides students with practice in the application of mathematics to practical problems.
- To teach a scientific computing language.

#### Content

- The syllabus contains:
- Errors in laboratory work: systematic and random errors, combination of errors, common sense in errors.
- Electronic document preparation.
- Use of spreadsheets in data analysis
- Developing a scientific style of writing.
- Good practice in maintaining laboratory notebooks.
- Problems in mathematical modelling.
- Information literacy, including introduction to sources of reference material.
- Experimental laboratory: safety in the laboratory, skills through practice, introduction to instrumentation.
- Introductory experiments in physics.
- Extended experiments in physics.
- Introduction to programming in a scientific computer language and application to simple computational tasks.

#### Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

- Students will have gained a working knowledge of the treatment of errors in laboratory work.

Subject-specific Skills:

- Students will know, and be able to apply, the constituents of a scientific style of writing.
- They will be aware of a variety of reference sources and know how to use them effectively.
- They will have acquired practical competence and accuracy in carrying out experimental procedures including measurement, use of apparatus and recording of results.
- They will be able to write a clear scientific report including theoretical background, experimental description, presentation and analysis of results, and interpretation and evaluation.
- They will have a working knowledge of a scientific computing language.

Key Skills:

- They will be able to use computer software to write reports and to analyse data.

#### Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

- Teaching will be by lectures, laboratory sessions, exercises, problem solving classes, presentations, workshops, computing exercises and an information literacy session.
- The lectures will provide the means to give a concise, focused presentation of the theoretical material on error analysis.
- The lectures will also provide essential information on good practice in laboratory notebook keeping, report writing and the use of spreadsheets.
- The computing lectures give an introduction to the basic principles of scientific computing and the computing workshops and exercises give practice in applying these principles.
- When appropriate the lectures will also be supported by the distribution of written material, or by information and relevant links on DUO.
- Students will be able to obtain further help in their studies by approaching their lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times (the Department has a policy of encouraging such enquires).
- The problem solving classes and presentations will develop students' skills in the application of mathematics to practical problems.
- The information literacy session will introduce students to a variety of reference sources and how to use them effectively.
- The laboratory sessions will consist of small group experimental projects.
- These sessions will provide the means for students to acquire practical competence and accuracy in carrying out experimental procedures including measurement, use of apparatus and the recording of results.
- During the sessions students will be able to obtain help and guidance from the laboratory scripts and through group discussions with laboratory demonstrators.
- Student performance in the laboratories will be summatively assessed through written reports.
- The written reports will provide the means for students to demonstrate their achievement of the stated learning outcomes.
- Group work in the early stages of the experimental laboratories will be formatively assessed. This will enable students to gauge their progress and will inform their subsequent written reports.
- Students' knowledge of the treatment of errors will be assessed by coursework problem exercises in error analysis.
- Student performance in computing is summatively assessed through computing exercises.

#### Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity | Number | Frequency | Duration | Total/Hours | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

Lectures | 12 | 1 per week | 1 hour | 12 | |

Practicals | 17 | 1 per week | 3 hours | 51 | ■ |

Workshops | 6 | 1 per fortnight | 1 hour | 6 | ■ |

Computing workshops | 9 | 1 per week | 1 hour | 9 | ■ |

Oral Presentation | 1 | 1 in term 2 | 1 hour | 1 | ■ |

Other (Information Literacy Session) | 1 | 1 in term 1 | 1 hour | 1 | ■ |

Preparation and Reading | 120 | ||||

Total | 200 |

#### Summative Assessment

Component: Written Report | Component Weighting: 20% | ||
---|---|---|---|

Element | Length / duration | Element Weighting | Resit Opportunity |

Written Report | 100% | Resubmitted written report 100% | |

Component: Extended Written Reports | Component Weighting: 60% | ||

Element | Length / duration | Element Weighting | Resit Opportunity |

Extended written report 1 | 50% | Resubmitted extended written report 1, 50%, and/or resubmitted written report 2, 50% | |

Extended written report 2 | 50% | Resubmitted extended written report 1, 50%, and/or resubmitted written report 2, 50% | |

Component: Computing Exercises | Component Weighting: 15% | ||

Element | Length / duration | Element Weighting | Resit Opportunity |

Computing Exercises | 100% | Resubmitted computing exercises | |

Component: Problem Exercises | Component Weighting: 5% | ||

Element | Length / duration | Element Weighting | Resit Opportunity |

Problem Exercises | 100% | Extended set of problem exercises 100% |

#### Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment of laboratory record by laboratory staff. Problem solving classes and one group oral presentation.

■ Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University