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Subject: LABORATORY OF PHYSICS I (A.A. 2020/2021)

degree course in PHYSICS

Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Laboratorio di fisica I
Physics (laboratory)
  • TAF: Basic compulsory subjects SSD: FIS/01 CFU: 9
Teachers: Anna FRANCHINI, Stefano FRABBONI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download




Learn the methods of analysis of the repeated measures data of the same physical quantity continues (Gaussian analysis) and measures a physical quantity as a function of another (linear regression).

Learn to perform team lab activities.

Perform experiments typical of mechanics, thermodynamics and fluid, applying the knowledge gained from data analysis, using both manual and digital instrumentation and data acquisition systems online.

Learn to draw lab reports using data analysis methods learned in a clear, rigorous and concise way.

Admission requirements

None required. Suggested fundamental knowledge of mathematics of algebra and calculus. Fundamental knowledge of classical physics related to mechanics, thermodynamics and fluids.

Course contents

First semestr (2 CFU)
Physical phenomena, systems of units, significant digits. Measurement instruments and errors, accuracy, absolute error and relative error, propagation of errors. 2D Graphics and histograms. Elementary rules of probability, Gauss distribution, binomial
distribution and Poisson distribution.
Statistical analysis of a set of measurements: mean value, variance, standard deviation and mean standard deviation. Confidence intervals. chi-square test. Maximum Likelihood Method. Least Squares method. Linear regression, quadratic, power, exponential.
Numerical exercitations relative to data analisys.
- Gaussian distribution: experiment of Determination of density of solids using callipers, palmer and balance to measure lenghts and masses. Report n 1)

Second semester (7 CFU)
- Experiments on Mechanics: oscillations in simple mechanical systems: pendulum and springs. Report. n. 2)
Experiments on Mechanics of the rigid body, Thermodynamics .

- Rigid bodies on-line measurements Report n. 3)
- Thermodynamics: the heat engine: PV diagram of a simple cycle of a gas. Report n. 4)
-Calorimeter. report n.5
-Experiment on elastic wave propagation: stationary waves in a 1-D mechanical system: measurements of the phase velocity. Report n.6

Teaching methods

lectures and practical laboratory. Possibility of mentoring by senior students. Theoretical lessons will be carried out remotely asynchronously (recorded) or synchronously (streaming) due to the COVID19 health situation, while laboratory experiments will be carried out in small groups and made available remotely synchronously or asynchronously. Working students who can not attend classes regularly, shall inform the teacher and agree on the presence of a minimum number of laboratory experiments in order to access the final exam. Student Consultation hours: Franchini: monday, 15-17 in the office at the 4th plane of Department of Physics or by appointment requested by an e-mail

Assessment methods

mid-term written tests with simulation analysis of laboratory data; written lab reports; end-of-course oral examination on laboratory experiments.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Through simulated tests and the written reports of the laboratory at the end of the course students will have developed the ability to analyze the data set of repeated measurements of a gaussian variable and the data set of two or more dependent variables (linear regression).

Applying knowledge and understanding:
Through experiments carried out during the course the student will have developed the ability to perform team experiments of mechanics, thermodynamics and fluids, applying the knowledge acquired on data analysis, with use of manual instruments, digital instruments and systems of on-line acquisition of data.

Making judgements:
Thanks to the variety of laboratory experiments and methods of analysis illustrated, at the end of the course the student will have developed the ability to choose the appropriate method of analysis for each kind of experiment performed in the classes and critically evaluate the results obtained and the consistency or discrepancy with the model of the physical system hypothesized.

Communicating skills:
The preparation of laboratory reports assigned individually enable the student to develop the ability to write the reports on the experiments in a clear, rigorous and concise way and with appropriate technical language. The final interview will allow the student to develop the capacity to support a scientific discussion with appropriate language.

Learning skills:
At the end of the course the student will be able to go deep by himself some aspects of the subjects proposed in the course.


The teacher provides laboratory experiment cards and other useful material.

For the statistical analysis of the data are available handouts provided by the teacher and the following texts:
Dapor, M., Ropele, M. , Elaborazione dei dati sperimentali, Collana: UNITEXT Springer
J.R. Taylor, "Introduzione alla analisi degli errori", Ed. Zanichelli (2000)
M. Caporaloni, S. Caporaloni, R. Ambrosini. "la misura e la valutazione della sua incertezza nella fisica sperimentale", Ed. Zanichelli (1987)
Gaetano Cannelli "Metodologie sperimentali in Fisica" Ed. EdiSES