University Physics Laboratory Manuals


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August 2017, 104 (12 full color) pages, $21.95 (shipping included)
ISBN 978-0-89641-573-7

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2nd edition, August 2017, 112 pages, $21.95 (shipping included)
ISBN 978-0-89641-574-4

The experiments in the First Edition of Volume One and the Second Edition of Volume Two have been selected to complement the material usually taught in the first semester of calculus-based introductory physics course for physical science and engineering students. Many of the experiments have been revised to incorporate computer-based data acquisition methods and analysis using modern computing techniques.

Each experiment begins with a brief introduction to the subject matter, followed by a short discussion of the theory and basic principles relevant to the experiment. All equations needed to analyze the experiment are given. Rather than present the experiment in the standard format of procedure, data and results, and calculations, the students perform calculations and record results as data are taken. In this way, students can better integrate the experimental techniques and results with the theory. A second advantage is that errors are detected before the experiment is performed in its entirety. Questions designed to extend the students' understanding and show how the material relates to everyday phenomena are included at the end of each experiment. Each experiment is designed to be completed and submitted to the instructor within the three-hour laboratory period.

The pages are 3-hole punched for easy insertion into a binder, and sufficient space has been included for calculations to be shown; no additional paper is usually needed. The graph paper has been removed; we found it cheaper and easier to use a scientific graphing program to make and copy our own graph paper, which is distributed free to the students.

The purpose of the experiments in this laboratory manual is two-fold: (1) to give you practical experience in the experimental methods of physics and (2) to enhance your understanding of the basic principles of physics. The value of the laboratory is directly related to the effort you put into it. If you make no effort to understand the experiments, the laboratory may be of little use. On the other hand, if you make a reasonable effort to understand each experiment and its relationship to what you have studied in the lecture, you will accomplish both of the objectives stated above.


  • Experiments

    1. Volume Measurement and Uncertainty
    2. Addition of Vectors: Translational Equilibrium
    3. Atwood's Machine
    4. Rotational Motion: Moment of Inertia
    5. Simple Harmonic Motion
    6. Conservation of Momentum: Two-dimensional Collisions
    7. Work and Energy
    8. Conservation of Momentum: One-dimensional Collisions
    9. Newton's Laws of Motion
    10. Centripetal Force
    11. Torque: Equilibrium of a Rigid Object
    12. The Vibrating String: Standing Waves


  • Experiments

    1. Electric Charge and Electrostatics
    2. Potential Mapping
    3. DC Circuits and Kirchhoff's Rules
    4. Magnetic Forces
    5. Capitance and RC Circuits
    6. Snell's Laws
    7. Electromagnetic Induction
    8. Thin Lenses
    9. Diffraction and Interference
    10. Polarization
    11. Thermal Conductivity
    12. Ideal Gas Law