Course Review: PHYS 109

Enriched Experimental Physics

“Try to be careful while handling the radioactive material'”

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Prof: Dr. Douglas Bonn

Dr. Doug Bonn is amongst the highest paid scientists at UBC. This might explain why he constantly has the appearance of being on another planet. He is probably thinking up the world’s next great physics experiment. That said, his explanations are generally clear and precise. Most of the time in this course, though, its just you and your lab partner and possibly a TA. So the quality of your lab partner probably has a far greater impact on how much you enjoy/learn then the professor, since the curriculum is the same across both sections.


Difficulty

I’m not the most precise person, so I find labs hard and stressful. The average for the course was 86% though, so its hard not to get an A. One has to work fast from the beginning to finish on time.


Key Concepts

Least-squares fit

Chi-squared

T-test


 Hard Concepts

Coming up with improvements: The TA’s are a lot more demanding in this respect this term. Not sure I mastered coming up with improvements.

Two parameter fit: This is a pain. Lots of calculations on Excel for one ruddy number. Good to keep table organized to avoid making careless errors.

Handling oscilloscope: Though circuits were easy? Think again. Guessing and testing generally was the rule of thumb.

Observing resonance in a wire: Difficult to observe if a vibrating wire has achieved resonance. One way around this is to use theoretical values to approximate before observations.


Conclusion

Same as lab section for PHYS 107. Some cool experiments. Others are a pain. Probably learnt a lot of useful statistics on-the-fly. Not that enjoyable for me, though.

 

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