Physics 200                                                              Spring 2009


4th Quarter Physics 200 Lab and Lab Reports



Sign up with a partner for the labs you wish to do each week on the sheets posted on the basement P200 lab door.


Completed lab tickets are due at the beginning of the lab session.  You will not be allowed to enter the lab without a ticket, so set aside enough time to do it and to get help if you have questions.



Important notice on expectations for independent work

Though you will work in the lab with a partner and will therefore work from the same data set, you must write a completely independent lab report. To insure that your work is truly independent we forbid the sharing of electronic files related to the labs unless you have prior written permission from the instructor on a case-by-case basis.




Below is an outline of the components of a well-written lab report. We recommend that you use this sheet as a checklist as you prepare your reports.


Your lab instructor may have specific requirements for the style of your report.


Lab report outline:





      Lab day

      Date lab was done

      Lab Partner





      Brief description of experiment and experimental technique (especially if it is novel).

      Main result and its uncertainty

      Statement of whether or not your result has a significant or insignificant discrepancy with accepted value.




      A paragraph or two to put the experiment in scientific context including a brief history of experiments leading to this work  (Cite seminal publications that preceded this work.)

      Motivation for this experiment. What new question does it seek to resolve?

      Discussion of general method used in experiment

      Listing/description of sections to come


Experimental Design


      Goal here is convince the reader that your experiment actually measures what you say it does. Include:

      A schematic description of the experimental method

      Background theory

      Relevant derivations or references to relevant derivations





      Detailed description of apparatus and procedure

      Include tips for a successful reproduction of your technique


Data and Data Reduction


Present data here in properly annotated tables, charts, and graphs. Label all columns and graph axes. Arrange the data in the most useful form for the reader. If you are claiming that two quantities have a linear relationship, you should have a graph of one vs. the other.


Error Analysis and Discussion


      Verbal justification of error estimates

      Sample calculations of uncertainties on calculated quantities

      Table of error estimates (This can be in an appendix)

      Final uncertainty in result




      Summarize results

      Discuss discrepancy. Give some explanation if discrepancy is significant.

      Advice to future experimenters




      You must attach a copy of your raw data as collected in lab.