Fall 2021 - PHYS 233 LA02

Physics Laboratory III (3)

Class Number: 7642

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SSCP 9423, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHYS 133 or PHYS 141 or ENSC 280, with a minimum grade of C-. Recommended Prerequisite: CMPT 120.



Statistical data analysis, experimental design and scientific communication, studied in the context of experiments spanning a range of physical systems. Quantitative.


This course has three main educational goals; by the end of the course, students should:  
1.  Develop skill using physical models to guide experimentation, including experimental design, analysis, and troubleshooting. 
2.  Develop an appreciation for good experimental documentation, including regular note-taking, clear graphical data visualization, and logical argument.
3.  Learn to use basic statistical methods and computer software to test theoretical claims with experimental observations.

The course is designed to help you achieve these three goals.  The first part of the course will focus on building skills in data analysis using Python. Students will engage in a number of small experiments to practice these techniques. In the second part of the course, students will perform two extended experiments to apply these techniques to a variety of physical phenomena. 

Course Delivery:

*This course is being taught face to face on campus. Students are expected to attend all scheduled lab sessions.

Modes of teaching:
·   Lecture: in-person (Mondays 2:30-3:20pm in AQ3153)
·   Laboratory: in person (Lab rooms: P9413 and P9423)
·   Office hours: remote, in-person (synchronous)
·   Tests: in-person (synchronous); dates: TBA


  • Laboratory notebooks 50%
  • Technical summaries 20%
  • Data analysis assignments and tests 30%



Required Text:
Measurements and Their Uncertainties: A Practical Guide to Modern Error Analysis
by Hughes and Hase

*Students can purchase text from online retailer if e-book not available at SFU bookstore.

*Computer and internet connection required, including: word processing (e.g. LaTeX, MS Word), data analysis (e.g. python), scanner or camera for assignment and test uploading.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students who cannot write their exam during the course's scheduled exam time must request accommodation from their instructor in writing, clearly stating the reason for this request, within one week of the final exam schedule being posted.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.