PHY1027 Practical Physics I 2019-20
Prof. V.V. Kruglyak
Delivery Weeks: T1:01-12, T2:01-05
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 subequent years builds. It starts with a short series of lectures, supplemented with on-line notes, 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 group and preparing and delivering oral presentation in a conference-like environment. The final component of this module is the PHY0000 Communication and Key Skills course held in 'Opportunities Week', i.e. T1:06.

Module Aims

Experiment is one of the central activities of a scientist. Experimental observations form the basis 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

Students are provided with a Laboratory Manual in which the experiments for this module are summarised. There is some choice of which experiments are undertaken. Each experiment is described in detail in a 2-4 page laboratory script.

General supervision and assistance are available in the laboratory from the demonstrators. Each demonstrator monitors the progress of the assigned pairs, taking a pastoral role and reporting any problems to the Module Coordinator. Feedback is given on each experiment during a 15-minute marking session with a demonstrator. For the oral presentation in the Student Conference, the assessment is made by all demonstrators with partial input from the students.

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
4×1-hour lectures 4 hours SLT
1×4-hour self-study package 4 hours GIS
20×3-hour practical laboratory sessions 60 hours SLT
6-hour student conference 6 hours SLT
3×1-day communications skills workshops (PHY0000) 21 hours SLT
Reading and private study 55 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Data analysis homework One 4-hour problems set Week T1:02 (Mon) 3, 13 Written and verbal
25% Experiments, recorded in the notebook Four notebook assessments ca 2-week intervals in T1:01-05,07-12 1-8, 10-13 Written and verbal
50% Experiments, written up as formal experiment reports Three 1250-word reports Weeks T2:02,T2:04,T2:06 1-9, 11-13 Written and verbal
15% Group oral presentation for the Student Conference 20 minutes Week T2:05 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, 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 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 91 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 59 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 50%
Written exams 0%
Practical exams 50%
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 15-Aug-17