PHY1027 Practical Physics I 2022-23
Prof. V.V. Kruglyak
Delivery Weeks: T1:01-12, T2:01-11
Level: 4 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 142 students (approx)


This module provides a broad foundation in experimental physics, upon which practical work in the stage 2 and subsequent years builds. It starts with a short series of lectures, supplemented with problems sets, on error analysis and graph plotting. Laboratory work is normally undertaken in pairs, with support from demonstrators. Experiments are recorded in lab-books and presented as formal reports. One of the experiments involves working as a larger group. Preparing and delivering oral presentation on an important physics experiment from the past in a conference-like environment is another component of this module, as is the PHY0000 Communication and Key Skills course held in 'Opportunities Week', i.e. T1:06.

Module Aims

Experimentation is one of the central activities of a scientist. Experimental observations form the bases for new hypotheses and also test scientific theories. In this module, you will learn to understand and apply the experimental method, develop your ability to make reliable measurements and report them in an effective and ethical manner.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

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

Syllabus Plan

Each experiment is described in a brief laboratory script and a short video. General guidance on experiments, data analysis and result reporting is provided in the Laboratory Manual.

General supervision and assistance are available from the demonstrators during the timetabled practical sessions. Each demonstrator conducts the initial discussion and monitors the progress of the assigned students, taking a pastoral role and reporting any problems to the Module Coordinator. Feedback is given on each experiment during a 15-minute final discussion with a demonstrator. For the oral presentation in the Student Conference, the assessment is made by demonstrators.

Note: The Communication and Key Skills content and activities are described in the PHY0000 component description.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
3×1-hour lectures 3 hours SLT
3×2-hour self-study packages (problems sets) 6 hours GIS
18×3-hour practical laboratory sessions 54 hours SLT
6-hour student conference 6 hours SLT
3×1-day communications skills workshops (PHY0000) 21 hours SLT
Reading and private study 60 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Data analysis homework Three 2-hour problems sets (problems sets) Week T1:02 3, 13 Written and verbal
40% Experiments, recorded in the lab-book Four lab-book assessments ca 2-week intervals in T1:01-05,07-12 1-8, 10-13 Written and verbal
40% Experiments, written up as formal experiment reports Three 1250-word reports Ca 3-week intervals in T2:01-11 1-9, 11-13 Written and verbal
10% Group oral presentation for the Student Conference 20 minutes Week T2:03 9, 10 Written and verbal
10% Communications and key skills component PHY0000 3 days Week T1:06 14 Written and verbal

Notes: Refer to the Undergraduate Handbook for details and marking criteria. Briefly, lab-books and reports for standard experiments are marked in a one-to-one discussion between the student and a demonstrator; lab-books and reports for the extended experiment are marked without final discussions; oral presentations involve demonstrators and may be moderated via 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 none
Co-requisite Modules Vector Mechanics (PHY1021), Introduction to Astrophysics (PHY1022), Waves and Optics (PHY1023) and Properties of Matter (PHY1024)


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 84 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 66 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 40%
Written exams 0%
Practical exams 60%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • XX-01 Experimental work in a practical laboratory
Availability unrestricted
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Data analysis; Experimental methods; Practical laboratory; Record-keeping.
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised 29-Mar-22