Physics 276

Experimental Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism

Spring 2012, Sections 0301, 0401


Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD. 2 credits

Prerequisite: PHYS272 and PHYS275.

Text Books:

Ø      Required:

o       Physics 276 Lab Manual

o       “Introduction to Error Analysis”, by John R. Taylor

Ø      Recommended:

o       “A Practical Guide to Data Analysis for Physical Science Students” by Louis Lyons, Cambridge University Press (paperback of 98 pages). This book is a “practical guide” and the opposite of the book below. It is heuristic in its approach and quite readable.

o       “Data reduction and error analysis for physical sciences students” by Phillip R. Bevington and D. Keith Robinson

P276 is the third course in the three-semester introductory lab sequence: Methods and rationale of experimental physics. This course is on experiments chosen from the fields of electricity and magnetism including electrostatics, magnetostatics, magnetic induction, AC circuits.

Ø      Who, When, Where, etc

Ø      Syllabus

Ø      Schedule


Who, When, Where, etc (back-to-main-page)


Professor Andris Skuja

Room: 4329 Physics Building,

Tel: (301) 405 6059


Course webpage:

TA: Remington Ramsay Reid

Where: Room 3120 physics building













Physics 276 Syllabus(back-to-main-page)

Course Title: Experimental Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism

Official Course Description: PHYS276 (PermReq) Experimental Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism; (2 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD. Prerequisites: PHYS272 and PHYS275. Credit will be granted for only one of the following: PHYS276 or former PHYS295. Third course in the three semester introductory sequence. Methods and rationale of experimental physics. Experiments chosen from the fields of electricity and magnetism including electrostatics, magnetostatics, magnetic induction, AC circuits. 


Web Site:

About the course: Physics 276 is the third class in the Physics 174 - Physics 275 - Physics 276 introductory Physics laboratory sequence. It is intended primarily for physics majors, but with permission is open to all science and engineering students. The experiments involve phenomena in electricity and magnetism, including ac and dc electrical circuits and electromagnetic fields. A major component of this course is to see that you develop skills in record keeping and scientific writing. In addition, the experiments are constructed to improve your understanding of data analysis and error analysis, beyond what you have already learned in Physics 174 and 275. The Lab meets for four hours each week in Room 3120 of the Physics Building. At the end of each lab period, you must turn in a spreadsheet with your data and analysis. A complete written lab report is due one week later for two of the experiments, at the start of the next week's lab.


Laboratory Location - Room 3120 Physics Building


Lab meeting times:   

Section 0301   -  Thursday 2:00 pm – 5:50 pm (Professor Skuja)

Section 0401   -  Wednesday 2:00 pm – 5:50 pm (Professor Skuja)



Other sections of this course is taught by Professor Hoffman:

Section 0101   - Monday        2:00 pm - 5:50 pm (Professor Hoffman)

Section 0201   - Tuesday        1:00 pm - 4:50 pm (Professor Hoffman)



Arriving late to class: Classes at Maryland begin right on the hour. You must arrive on time so that you can get instructions for the lab and have time to finish. If you are more than 10 minutes late, you may not be allowed into the lab and will have to make it up during another section.


Making up missed Labs: You should make every effort not to miss your regularly scheduled lab. If you miss your regular lab section, you must make arrangements with your instructor to make it up before your next lab if possible. Otherwise, you must make up a missed lab during “make-up week” at the end of the semester. All labs must be completed to get a passing grade in Physics 276.



Instructor for Sections 0101 & 0201

            Prof. Andris Skuja

            Office: Room 4329 Physics Building

            e-mail:                                    Phone: 301-405-6059


Office Hours: Contact me with an email and we’ll find a time that is convenient for both of us.  Meeting with your instructor is one of the best ways to get the most out of your educational experience.



Teaching Assistant:

Section 0301   -  Remington Ramsay Reid

Section 0401   -  Remington Ramsay Reid

Office: 0151 Energy research Building

            Phone: 301 314 2658


Please contact Remington by email to arrange an office visit



Required Texts:  


- "An Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurement", John R. Taylor (University Science Books, 1997, ISBN 0-935702-75-X).


Recommended Texts:

     - A Practical Guide to Data Analysis for Physical Science Students” by Louis Lyons,

        Cambridge University Press

- "Data Reduction and Error Analysis for the Physical Sciences", Phillip R. Bevington and D. Keith Robinson (McGraw Hill, Inc., 2003, ISBN 0-07-247227-8).

- "Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Volume 2" by  F. Tipler, the standard physics textbook, or any equivalent text, will be useful for explaining the basic physics in the course.


Grading:        60% in-class spreadsheet

10 %  Lab Reports

10%   Presentation (talk)

                        20 %  Final Practical Exam

            All experiments must be completed to pass the course.

Experiments: There are seven experiments (Lab 6 is split into two parts) as well as an introductory Lab (Experiment zero).  Much of your in-class work will be carried out in Excel spreadsheets and you will need to turn in a copy of your spreadsheet at the end of each lab period. We will use the web to collect lab reports and post grades.

Tips for Doing Well:

(1) Read the lab manual carefully before you go to the lab and attempt an experiment.

(2) Use your spreadsheet to record, plot and analyze your data in class as you collect it. Keep a complete record in the spreadsheet of the experiment including diagrams of measurement configurations actually used to obtain data, your results, and the analysis used to obtain the results.

(3) Include estimates for the uncertainties in your measurements. Include systematic errors as well as statistical errors.

(4) When something in the lab isn't making sense or isn't working raise your hand and discuss with your instructor.

(5) Do not leave class unless you have finished your data analysis, discussed your results with your instructor and turned in your spreadsheet

(6) Do not forget to turn in your complete lab report by the start of the next lab when required.


Lab Reports: You are required to submit a written report of your results for two of the experiments. The reports will be submitted electronically and will be due at the start of lab the following week. Your lab report should be submitted as an MS Word or PDF file, complete with data and figures. Both lab reports must be submitted on time not to incur a penalty. You will be deducted 5% of the maximum grade points allocated a day for each day the lab report is late. You will lose an additional letter grade for the course if you fail to submit both lab reports.


 An outline of the requirements for the report is given in a separate rubic, available on the class web site.


In-class Spreadsheets:  You are required to submit the spreadsheet you create in class before leaving class.  The in-class spreadsheets will be graded out of 40 points as follows: 


·        +5 turn in spreadsheet

·        +10 all data taken

·        +5 errors assigned to all measured numbers (no partial credit)

·        +10 all fits, calculations based on measured numbers, etc done (partial credit possible)

·        +5 all errors on results of fits, calculations, etc done (partial credit possible)

·        +5 spreadsheet is neat and well labeled.


General Comments on Spreadsheets and Lab reports: Finishing and submitting a complete spreadsheet as well as a lab report when required is very important. If you can't completely finish a lab, it is still important to turn in what you do have. When you are working on your spreadsheet or report, feel free to discuss among yourselves to try to figure out what is going on. By all means get together in small groups and discuss. However, do not use these discussions as an excuse to copy someone else's spreadsheet or report, or let someone else copy yours. That is cheating and is strictly forbidden. It is also very self-defeating since part of your grade will come from a practical test of your knowledge of lab content and procedure. The right way to proceed is to prepare your spreadsheet before class and write up your spreadsheet or report by yourself. With this preparation you can then discuss intelligently with your colleagues and see if you have missed something essential. Of course, you can always ask one of your instructors. 


Late Reports: Late lab reports will be assessed a penalty of 5%  per day.  A missing lab report will cost one letter grade for the course. Missing a lab entirely, and not making it up will result in failure in the course.


Discussions: Part of a class meeting will be devoted to discussions of the physics and data analysis for the experiments. Participation in these sessions is just as important as the experiments themselves.  Attendance is mandatory.  However, this is not a lecture course, and the main way that you will learn experimental physics is to by doing and discussing, rather than just discussing.





Talks: Each student will give a 10 minute oral presentation on one of the Experiments. The report should be accompanied by electronic slides written in Power Point format (or equivalent) that is prepared in advance. Presentations should be on one of the Experiments from II to VII.


Lab Exam: A Practical Lab Exam will be administered at the last session of classes. It

will cover the material of the experiments. Students will be expected to be able to repeat some of the experimental work and procedures they did in class as well as be able to explain the physics underlying the experiments. Knowledge of the workings of the instruments used in the lab may also be tested. If you fail to take the final exam you will be deducted an additional letter grade for the course.



Academic Integrity - The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate students.  As a student, you are responsible for upholding the highest standards of academic integrity in this course and should be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit



In case of Bad weather: Winter in the Washington Metro area can bring large snowstorms that make travel dangerous. Should this happen and the University is closed as a result during a scheduled lab, class will be cancelled, and we will most likely reschedule the lab for the following week. Closing is announced over local radio and TV as well as on the University’s homepage.


Schedule for PHYS276 Fall 2011, Sections 0101 & 0201(back-to-main-page)


Exp #



Jan. 25 & 26


No Lab


Feb. 1 & 2


Discussion & Lab 0


Feb. 8 & 9


Ohm’s Law

Spreadsheet and Analysis

 & Full Lab Report

Feb. 15 & 16


Magnetic Fields

Spreadsheet and Analysis

Feb. 22 & 23


RC and LR Circuits with Stepped Input

Spreadsheet and Analysis

Feb. 29 & March 1


RC circuits with AC Input

Spreadsheet and Analysis

March 8 & 9


LRC Circuits and Resonance

Spreadsheet and Analysis

 & Full Lab Report after V-b

March 14 & 15


LRC Circuits and Resonance

Spreadsheet and Analysis

 & Full Lab Report for V-a


 March 21 & 22


Spring Break


 March 28 & 29



Spreadsheet and Analysis

 April 4 & 5



Spreadsheet and Analysis

 April 11 & 12




 April 18 & 19


Make-up week


 April 25 & 26


No Lab


 May 2 & 3


Lab Exam


 May 9 & 10


No Lab



This page is maintained by Andris Skuja(