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PHYS 118 A: General Physics Laboratory

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
* *
wahish portrait
Amal al-Wahish

Syllabus Description:

Welcome to PHYS 118. My name is Amal al-Wahish, and I am in charge of PHYS 118 this quarter.

In this class everyone is welcome, regardless of other identities you hold in addition to that of physics student. I expect everyone in this class to treat each other with respect.

Here is a list of resources to help you through this course or other aspects of your time at UW.  Contact me if you need help finding the resources you need.

Through the online lab assignments, we will emphasize:

    • Hypothesis testing by experiment
    • Visualization of results and comparison with textbook expectation
    • Design of experiments


You can see all the assignments required in a given week by clicking "Modules" in the menu on the left. The Modules will be set in the coming few days.

We will use Pivot to perform video experiments.   You don't need to purchase the code, we will provide the  pivot code  for you. Your TA will announce how to get access to Pivot during the first week of the quarter. 

  • Before Monday at 12 pm (noon) (starting July 6th you need to collect and analyze data from video experiments on Pivot.
  • After you start any of the assignments, you can save your work and go back to it as many times as you want before its deadline, allowing you to talk to peers or a TA, and then go back and finish.

See the lab Schedule

  • Tentative Lab Phys 118 Schedule

Due date:

M 12 pm (noon)

Lab #:   Experiment 
1 6-Jul L0     UW Introductory Activity: Hill Runner (Jessie Diggins) 
2 6-Jul L01

    Part 1-Gas Laws: Pressure Vs Temperature                  

    Part 2- Gas Laws: Pressure Vs Volume

3 13-Jul L02     Specific Heat of Water Experiments (graphical version)
4 20-Jul L03

    Part 1 - Buoyancy Problem                                                 

     Part 2-  Density of Precious Metals by Immersion 

5 27-Jul L04      Exploring Electric Repulsion
6 3-Aug  L05

     Part 1 Forces and Electric Charge I: Force vs Distance

     Part 2  Forces and Electric Charge II: Force vs Charge

7 10-Aug L06      Current and Voltage in Conductors
8 17-Aug L07

     Part 1 : Optimizing Power Generation from Photovoltaic Cells

     Part 2:  Vector Directions for a Current-Carrying Wire in a Magnetic Field                               


  • Your TA will assign pass/fail grades for each lab based on the effort that is apparent from your submission and possibly a more detailed reading of one of the answers.
  • You will need to pass all of the assignments to get credit for PHYS 118.
  • In general, we will not accept assignments completed after the deadline.  However, if you could not complete a lab due to a valid reason (family and medical emergency etc), please contact me, and we can discuss accommodations.
  • There will be no final exam in this course.

Getting Help and Working Collaboratively

When you send me an email please use your UW email  and let me know your class and section. It will help to address your questions easily and smoothly. Thank you.

If at all possible, please do arrange with fellow students to work through assignments together.  While we cannot all be in the same physical room, please recognize the importance of peer instruction.  You can learn by listening to your peers, but you can also learn by expressing your own ideas and helping to teach your peers.  This is an important part of the in-person labs, and we strongly encourage you to maintain that practice for the online labs.

You will be assigned a single TA who can help you with the course material.  During the week the TA's will hold office hours on Zoom to help you learn from the activities in which you will be engaged.  This is where you can get your questions answered so that you are able to get as much learning as possible from the course activities.  If you cannot attend your TA's office hours, you can attend any TAs' office hours (click "Office hours" in the menu on the left for the schedule).

Use the Discussion Board (click "Discussions" on the menu on the left) for physics questions or syllabus related questions. Students are encouraged to answer each others' questions. Students are encouraged to answer each others' questions, but I will also monitor this frequently and will respond if needed.

For questions not related to physics or syllabus send an email with your course (Phys 118) and name as it appears on Canvas to:

  • Me (Amal al-Wahish) at for personal correspondence related to grades, health issues, etc...
  • Susan Miller at for administrator questions related to registering, overloading, etc...

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for the accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (

Safe campus

I am committed to ensuring a safe environment on campus. I suggest you check out the resources available here. These include services if you have a lab or tutorial that is late at night and need someone to walk with you.

Academic integrity and student conduct

The University takes academic integrity and student conduct very seriously. Behaving with integrity and respect is part of our responsibility to our shared learning community. 

Screenshots or recordings of instructors, other students, and course materials during active video (Zoom) participation sessions are strictly forbidden. Streaming or posting inappropriate materials on any course platform is also not allowed. 

The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at

If you’re uncertain about if something is academic and behavioral misconduct, ask me. I am willing to discuss questions you might have.

Catalog Description: 
Heat and electromagnetism laboratory. Credit is not given for both PHYS 118 and the PHYS 122 laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 115 which may be taken concurrently. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
June 17, 2020 - 9:41pm