- Winter 2023
This Canvas page explains everything about the course you need to know, so it is long. Here are some quick links that will help you come back and navigate, after you've read through this page once.
- Overview Calendar (link to lab handouts)
- Instructor/TA Office Hours
- Lab Meeting Times/TA email
- Course Grade Structure
- Lecture Notes
Welcome to PHYS 231A! My name is Henry Lubatti <email@example.com> (pronouns he/him), and I will be your instructor.
This class has laboratory and lecture components.
In the lecture component, we will learn about the concepts of measurement and the other quantities associated with thinking about and reporting measured quantities. The homework each week will help you master concepts discussed in the lecture.
In the laboratory component, you get to design four experiments and put what you have learned in the lecture into practice by writing experimental reports capable of convincing a colleague about the validity of your conclusions, which is a key part of the scientific method.
In this class everyone is welcome, regardless of other identities you hold in addition to that of a physics student. The norm in this class is to strive for treating each other respectfully. Please read and abide by the Code of Conduct.
Mode of operation:
- This class is planned to be conducted in person unless the University announces otherwise. You are expected to participate in class to fully benefit from course activities and meet the course’s learning objectives. You should register for this class only if you are able to participate in person.
- To protect your fellow students, faculty, and staff, if you feel ill or exhibit possible COVID symptoms, you should not come to class. For more COVID-related information, please visit https://www.washington.edu/coronavirus/.
- When absent, it is your responsibility to inform me, your TA, and your group members in advance (or as close to the class period as possible in the case of an unexpected absence), and to request appropriate make-up work as per policies established in the syllabus.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Design both a hypothesis testing and a hypothesis-generating experiment.
- Conceptually understand the statistical underpinnings of uncertainty.
- Quantify uncertainty in measurement and modeling.
- Write a scientific report with valid conclusions and a discussion of results.
- Prepare and deliver a scientific presentation.
- Function effectively on a professional team to produce deliverables.
All lab handouts, grading rubrics, and other resources can be found here.
|Reading (complete before lecture)||Lecture||
|Lab||Lab Activity||Due during lab|
|1 (1/4)||Welcome & Introduction||
|2 (1/11)||Chap. 1 and 2||Scientific inquiry, and errors in the physical sciences; Random errors in measurements||
Complete 2 surveys:
Electrons in magnetic field
|Lab 1A: Complete teamwork agreement, conduct E/M experiment||Teamwork Agreement, Intro/Methods section, lab notebook|
|3 (1/18)||Online HW #1||Chap. 2 and 5.1||Data visualization and reduction||Individual E/M data analysis||Lab 1B: Peer review and revise individual E/M analyses; begin writing group report|
|4 (1/25)||Online HW #2||Chap. 5.1-5.3||Data visualization and reduction||Electrons in Magnetic Field group report||Cs Nuclear Decay||Lab 2A: Conduct Nuclear Decay testing expt and write the report||Lab notebook|
|5 (2/1)||Online HW #3||Chap. 3||Uncertainties as probabilities: Poisson distribution||Nuclear Decay testing report||Lab 2B: Peer review Nuclear Decay testing report||Peer review Nuclear Decay testing report|
|6 (2/8)||Online HW #4||Chap. 5||Best-fit linear model||Final Nuclear Decay testing report||
VR: Charged and Minty Particles
|Lab 3: Intro to VR; conduct electric charge and qualitative minty particle experiments, form qualitative model, conduct quantitative minty|
|7 (2/15)||Online HW #5||Chap. 4||Error propagation||Chg/Minty group report||
VR: Manifold Lab
|Lab 4A: Peer review of Chg/Minty reports; Conduct Pocket Exploration hypothesis-generating experiment||Peer review of Chg/Minty reports, lab notebook|
|8 (2/22)||Online HW #6||Chap. 4||Error propagation||
Pocket Exploration group report; final draft of Chg/Minty group report
|Lab 4B: Peer review of Pocket Exploration reports; Select new Pocket for analysis, write & submit hypothesis-testing proposal with budget||Peer review of Pocket Exploration reports|
Due Monday 2/27:
|Review||Address feedback on Pocket Analysis Grant Proposal; final draft of Pocket Exploration report||Lab 4C: Conduct Pocket Analysis hypothesis-testing experiment||
|10 (3/8)||Final Exam||
Final presentations: Pocket Analysis group report (oral)
|Final presentations||Final presentation slides and summary of proposal modifications|
- Reading assignments are from Measurements and their uncertainties: A practical guide to modern error analysis by Ifan Hughes. The UW has a license for the ebook.
- Lectures are from 12:30 PM to 1:50 PM on Wednesdays in PAB 205.
- Lecture homework (covering the prior week's topics) is due every Tuesday at midnight Pacific. The lectures will be recorded and posted for students who cannot make it to the lecture.
- Passively watching a long lecture is exhausting. In this course, lectures will involve collaborative activities designed for efficient learning. In order to benefit from the in-class activities, and not let your group down, it is essential that students do the assigned reading before the lecture.
- An important learning objective of this course is that you have both a computational and conceptual facility with core statistical methods and ideas for interpreting data. To reinforce the analysis methods discussed in the lecture and the reading, there will be an assignment due each Tuesday. These can be found under "Assignments" on the left menu. In order to pass this course, you will be expected to achieve a score of 95% or above on the homework, and you will be allowed to resubmit your work (with generous hints along the way) until you achieve this score.
The laboratory activities will be completed in person in B042.
To catalyze effective teamwork, the first assignment for this course is:
- Complete a Lab Logistics survey that will help us match you with peers to form Lab Groups.
- Complete survey of Scientific Attitudes Towards Experimentation.
Your responses will help your TA place you in a group before the first lab.
Lab meeting time
- There is one lab section per week:
- Section AA, Tuesday 2:30 PM-5:20 PM (TA: Jared Canright)
- Section AA, Tuesday 2:30 PM-5:20 PM (TA: Jared Canright)
Labs and lab reports
- The first lab will provide an opportunity for everyone to establish norms within your lab groups. You will work with these groups throughout the quarter.
- Over the remainder of the quarter, your group will complete four additional experiments. Working in subgroups of three or four students, you will submit a single lab report for the subgroup.
- With my permission, you will be excused if you cannot attend a single lab due to sickness or other valid excuses. However, if you must miss the entirety of an experiment, you will need to make special arrangements to make it up with my approval.
- After the deadline for submitting the reports has passed, you will be assigned a random report from another group. You will leave constructive feedback and grade it using the same rubric the TA will use. The grades you give will not be used towards the grade for the report, but the group will be able to see how you graded it and they will be able to see your comments, although they will not see who graded it and left the comments.
- Your group will give an oral presentation on one of the experiments at the end of the quarter. More information will be provided on the presentation assignment page.
Data Collection and Analysis
- Your group should also set up a virtual space like a Google Doc or OneNote to share data, pictures, etc. for all group members to access as you prepare your reports. It is important that you do enough analysis during the lab time to determine if you have the necessary data to complete your lab report before the lab session ends - often you'll want to adjust something and retake data once you've done a quick analysis.
- We will have a final exam during class time on Wednesday, March 8.
- Note that there are no make-up exams.
- Students with outside professional, service or career commitments (i.e. military service, ROTC, professional conference presentation, NCAA sports, etc.) conflicting with the exam date must contact me early in the quarter to establish alternate examination procedures.
- Students who are sick, or are in quarantine, must contact me before the exam.
- Exam scores for students who miss the exam without making prior arrangements will be zero.
- The course grade will be based on the following:
- Lab participation, 10%
- Lab reports & notebook, 40%
- Lab presentation, 15%
- Lecture homework, 10% (You must receive a score of 95% or above across all lecture homework assignments to pass; you may resubmit your work to reach this score.)
- Final exam, 25%
- Each student is required to participate in report preparation, and submit four completed lab reports during the course of the quarter to pass the class.
- You will lose 10% for every day that a lab report is late. If you expect that a lab assignment will be late, contact your TA as soon as possible to make arrangements.
Office hours and getting help
- You are encouraged to visit me or the teaching assistant during our office hours
- Henry Lubatti <firstname.lastname@example.org> Wednesday 2:00 - 3:00 PM B201 https://washington.zoom.us/my/lubatti
- Jared Canright <email@example.com> Monday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Jared's Zoom Link
If you cannot attend office hours but have a physics question you should email me, email your TA, or post it on the course discussion board.
If you want to visit one of us and cannot attend scheduled office hours, send an email and we will try to find an alternate time.
Research Study Information
This course is part of a research project, led by Doctoral Candidate Jared Canright. The project examines student reasoning 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. Please click on this link to review the details of the study or remove yourself from the study. For any other questions, contact a member of the research team: Jared Canright or Suzanne White Brahmia.
- We are committed to ensuring a safe environment on campus. Please check out the resources available here, http://www.washington.edu/safecampus/.
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 accommodation, is available at the Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).
Mask and COVID Safety Policies
Although the lecture and lab have HEPA air filters and a good ventilation system, it is important for everyone to follow the safety guidance since you will be seated close to your classmates.
- Everyone must be vaccinated against COVID or have an approved exemption in accordance with current University of Washington policy.
- Masks are strongly encouraged both in lectures and in the lab.
- No one is allowed to eat in lectures or in lab.
- You are allowed to drink only if you can sanitize your hands both before and after touching your mask to remove it briefly.
If you are sick, please stay home. A recording of the lecture will become available after each lecture for students who cannot attend the lecture in person via the Panopto link on the course Canvas site. We will accommodate you in the lab to participate using Zoom.
For more COVID-related information, please visit https://www.washington.edu/coronavirus/.
- Read the syllabus carefully and explore the rest of the Canvas page.
- Note that lab meetings start in the second week of classes.
- Fill out the two surveys, if you have not done so already (found under the Modules tab to the left on Canvas.) You will find your weekly assignments listed there as they are posted.
- On the Canvas page, click on the "Panopto Recordings" link in the
left side navigation to activate your Panopto recording link.
- I will send future communications via Canvas Announcements, so make sure to click on your settings in Canvas (top left picture of you), select “Notifications” then under “Announcements” select the checkmark to ensure you get them sent immediately, not later in the day or week.