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PHYS 119 A: General Physics Laboratory

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
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Nikolai Tolich

Syllabus Description:


After this course students will be able to:

  • judge whether an experimental result is consistent with a model within the estimated uncertainties.
  • pose questions and design experiments to test them.
  • modify a simulation to make simple changes to the underlying model.
  • characterize behavior in models developed by students.
  • write a coherent scientific report about their experiments
  • write and give a clear and coherent presentation.


  • You will work with the same group of 3 to 4 students throughout the quarter.
  • We will create groups based on your time availability so that you can meet with your group via Zoom for the same two-hour time slot each week, and a TA will be available at that time to help answer questions.
  • You are expected to attend during your assigned time each week, but may attend a different time with prior approval from the TA.
  • In order to schedule your labs group meeting times please complete this survey,, by Tuesday, June 22nd at 11:59PM.

Contact information and office hours

For questions send an email with your course (Phys 119), your UW net ID (the part before in your email address), and name as it appears on Canvas to:

  • the program coordinator at for administrator questions related to registering, overloading, etc...
  • me (Nikolai Tolich) at for questions about your TA or questions that your TA may not be able to answer.
  • your TA (contact information and office hours here) for other questions.


  • In week 1 there will be a workshop to introduce skills that you will need for lab this quarter.  You can attend one of the following workshops:
    • Wednesday 10:30 AM
    • Wednesday 3:30 PM
    • Thursday 10:30 AM
    • Thursday 3:30 PM
    • Friday 10:30 AM
  • In weeks 2 and 6 you will work as a group to develop a simulations.
  • In weeks 3 and 7 you will work as a group to verify your simulation against measurements with an actual setup. One member of your group, if someone volunteers to come in, or a TA, will need to be present in a lab room (one person per room), to perform the measurements, and the other members of the group will join via Zoom.
  • In weeks 4 and 8 you will explore a new model with your simulation.
  • In week 5 you will make a presentation as a group about the new model you explored.


  • You will get a credit if you receive 26 or more out of the 39 points possible, and you do not get less than 3 for any report or presentation .
  • Each week other than the presentation week your group will be graded out of 2 points based on your groups lab notebook and your group discussions.
  • At the end of weeks 3 and 7 your group will be graded out of 8 points based on your groups lab report.
  • In presentation week your group will be graded out of 1 point based on your group presentation delivery, and 8 points on the contents of the group presentation including notes.
  • At the end of weeks 4 and 8 you will be graded out of 1 point for completing a group self assessment.

Resources to Succeed

This website contains a list of resources you may find helpful for a variety of issues students may encounter during your time at UW.  Contact us if you need help finding the resources you need.

Access and accommodation

Your experience in this class is important to us, so if you have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but are not limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical), please contact DRS to arrange accommodations.

Safe campus

We are committed to ensuring a safe environment on campus.  We encourage you to check out the resources available here.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for 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 (

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.  Acts of academic misconduct may include, but are not limited to, cheating by working with others or sharing answers on exams.

Please note that 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. 

All the course materials including exam and quiz questions, lecture notes, lecture videos are intellectual properties of the instructor and the University of Washington. Distributing them in any form without permission is forbidden.  

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 or behavioral misconduct, ask us.  we are willing to discuss questions you might have.

Research Study Information

This course is part of a research project  examining student reasoning ability and attitudes about physics with the goal of  improving physics teaching.  By enrolling in this course you are automatically included in the study. Early in the quarter, students will have an opportunity to learn about the study and to remove themselves from the study if they wish. Your instructor will not know whether or not you participate. Later in the quarter,  this link  will become active and allow you to review the details of the study, contact a member of the research team, or remove yourself from the study.

Catalog Description: 
Sound, light, and modern physics laboratory. Credit is not given for both PHYS 119 and the PHYS 123 laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 116, which may be taken concurrently. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Natural Sciences (NSc)
Section Type: 
Last updated: 
April 16, 2021 - 9:51pm