PHYSICS 201: Physical Measurements, FALL 2000                       


                                    GEOLOGY, GEOGRAPHY AND PHYSICS DEPARTMENT


Instructor: Cahit Erkal, EPS 222E, 587-7432,

Office Hours: 10:00-11:00 MTWRF plus open office hours at other times.

Classes/Labs: This class normally meets on Monday 3:00-4:15 PM (section 1), or

                        Tuesday 11:00-12:15 PM (section2)

Textbook: You may use your PHYS 211 textbook as reference.  There is no textbook for this course.  I will provide some handouts.  You also need to take notes during the lectures and review the proper section before coming to the lab.

References (Physics context only):

Your PHYS 211 text or Principles of Physics, by Bueche; Physics by Giancolli.  For easy reading, see Conceptual Physics, P. Hewitt, Sixth Edition.


Course Description:

The course is designed to cover some of the data evaluation methodologies employed by the scientists in general.  The subject of the experiments that you will be performing to collect data are chosen from the context of your PHYS211 class.  Therefore, while you are learning to collect and evaluate data, you will also be reinforcing the concepts and theories covered in your physics class.  There will be lectures, demonstration, and experiments during the semester.  You will be responsible to take notes during the lectures.  Experiments will be performed during open lab hours as described below.


Quizzes/Lab reports and Evaluation:

There will be quizzes throughout the semester on the subjects covered in class or laboratory.  The dates of the quizzes will be announced in class one weak ahead of time.

A final examination is scheduled on Dec. 13.  I will announce the time toward the end of the semester.  Course letter grades will be assigned as follows:



Grade Scale

Lab report  35%

Quizzes      25%

Homework 20%

Final exam 20%

90-100 A

80-89      B

70-79      C

60-69   D



Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate the entire class in our laboratory in EPS 224.  In your schedule, you must have a two-hour time slot during the open lab operation times (M 2-5 pm, T 9:00-11:00 and 2-5 pm, W 2-5 pm, Th 9:00-11:00 and 2-5 pm) in order to complete the experiments required during the semester.  A sign up sheet will be available the first two weeks of classes for you to reserve a slot.  You may choose to pair up with a classmate to perform the experiment.  Lab participation and a complete laboratory report are required to pass the class even though you may have a passing grade.  At the end of the lab period, you are required to turn in your own data collection sheet with your complete laboratory report (except for the experiments for which the collected data to be analyzed in class) even though you may share the data taking procedure during the experiment.  Procedures for writing a lab report will be provided before you start the experiments (possibly the second week).  When you come to class or lab, you should bring a calculator, a pencil and a notebook to collect data.  Such supplies as graph paper, scratch paper, rulers, etc. will be available in the laboratory.  A report form, and appropriate handouts for the experiment will be provided by the instructor who attends the lab.  The instructor’s job is to monitor the lab and provide the supplies as necessary, not to answer your questions about the procedure.  You should be prepared ahead of time and know the methodology to evaluate the data.  Each experiment will be discussed in the lecture class and the instructions on the procedure will be provided one week before the experiment starts.

Note that the timetable provided below is tentative, and that any changes made to it will be announced in class and you are responsible to make a note of the announced changes.

You can e-mail me or contact my office if any topic is not clear in this syllabus.


Tentative Timetable:

Weak of



August 21

International units and significant figures


August 28


Accuracy and Precision

Instrument Uncertainty


Sept. 4

Discussion Session


Sept. 11

Quiz 1 (units, SF, ins. Uncert.)

Normal Distribution

Frequency Graph

Lab 1: Determining length using vernier calipers and meter scale

Sept. 18

Descriptive statistics: mean, standard deviation, mode

Lab 2: Time of Flight for Projectile Motion/or Free fall

Sept. 25

Error propagation

Lab 3: Uniform Motion

Oct. 2

Discussion session


Oct. 9

Quiz 2(Norm. dist., errors, mean, mode, std. dev.)

Propagation of Error


Oct. 16

Discussion of the next experiment or Discussion session


Oct. 23

Quiz 3 (error propagation)

Linear Graph, slope, intercept

Lab 4: Accelerated Motion

Oct. 30

Continue the linear graph and discussion on the next experiment

Finish lab report in class

Nov. 6


Discussion Session


Nov. 13

Quiz 4 (Linear Graph, slope, intercept)

Logarithmic Graph


Lab 5: Simple Pendulum

Nov. 20

Least Square Fit


Nov. 27

Quiz 5 (Logarithmic Graph)                      

Least Square fit

Lab 6: Torque Experiment

(Or Jolly Balance)

Dec. 4