PHY2026 Practical Physics II 2017-18
Dr A. Usher
Delivery Weeks: T1:03-11, T2:01-11
Level: 5 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 120 students (approx)


Laboratory work is an important part of the process of learning physics where students apply their knowledge practically. It allows students to deepen their understanding and improve problem solving techniques, and enables them to take an active part in the enquiry into the natural world. This Stage 2 module builds upon the Stage 1 module PHY1027 Practical Physics I, introducing more advanced techniques and equipment, with more detailed and often open-ended experiments that require an active engagement by the student. The experiments complement lecture material of the Stage 2 and 3 modules. A number of the experimental topics are not directly covered in lectures and aim to extend the student's overall vision of physics and their ability to define and solve problems independently. In addition, the module aims to develop a wide range of experimental skills, as well as careful record keeping, critical interpretation of data and their presentation in reports and talks.

Module Aims

This module pre-dates the current template; refer to the description above and the following ILO sections.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

The range of experimental topics and associated techniques are detailed in the Laboratory Manual. They include experiments in optics, electromagnetism, mechanics and nuclear physics. Some of the experiments involve computer controlled data acquisition.

Students work in pairs and within the 32 sessions undertake three 'standard' experiments totalling 20 sessions, in accordance with their individual plan which has been formed for the whole academic year.

Before tackling the experiment students study the worksheet and necessary literature, discuss the underlying physics and plan the experiment. Experimental work commences after the student has proved to their demonstrator in the initial discussion that they have a fair grasp of the background of the experiment and knows how to undertake it. The experiment is completed by the student writing a report and the demonstrator marking the work in the final discussion with the student.

These standard experiments are followed by an extended experiment chosen by the student. It lasts twelve sessions in Term T2 and is completed by writing up a report and giving an oral presentation of results to fellow students. It is aimed at allowing the students a more active role in deciding what and how to investigate and giving them more time for a deeper study of one particular topic.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
32×3-hour practical laboratory sessions 96 hours SLT
Reading and private study 54 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
20% Standard report and discussion 1250 words Week T1:07 1-10, 12-19 Written and verbal
20% Standard report and discussion 1250 words Week T1:11 1-10, 12-19 Written and verbal
20% Standard report and discussion 1250 words Week T2:04 1-19 Written and verbal
8% Oral presentation 20 minutes Week T2:10 11, 20 Written and verbal
16% Extended experiment practical work 10-minute notebook discussion Week T2:11 1-10, 12-19 Written and verbal
16% Extended experiment report 2000 words Week T2:11 1-10, 12-19 Written and verbal

Notes: Refer to the Undergraduate Handbook for details and marking criteria. Briefly, laboratory notebooks and reports are marked in one-to-one discussion between the student and a demonstrator; oral presentations involve moderated peer assessment.


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules Practical Physics I (PHY1027)
Co-requisite Modules Electromagnetism I (PHY2021), Quantum Mechanics I (PHY2022), Thermal Physics (PHY2023) and Condensed Matter I (PHY2024)


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment

Notes: Re-assessment is not available for this module.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 96 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 54 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 76%
Written exams 0%
Practical exams 24%
Total 100%


Availability unrestricted
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Experiment; Plan; Techniques; Data; Safety; Reports; Years; Laboratory; Practical; Part.
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised 24-Apr-17