Instructor: Markus Raschke

Contact: Phone 303-492-1366. E-Mail:

Office: Gamow Tower F-535 (5th floor).

Class webpage:

Lecture: Section 100: Monday, 4:00-4:50 pm, Duane G1B30. Section 200: Tuesday,  4:00-4:50 pm, Duane G1B30. There will be 7 lectures, starting Monday 8/27 (no lecture 9/3 and 4 due to Labor Day). 

Office hours: Monday 9:00-10:00, and 3:00-4:00 pm, and Tuesday 3:00-4:00, Gamow Tower F-535, or by appointment.

Lab Coordinators:

Scott Pinegar: Duane G2B87, phone: 303-492-6840, email:

Jerry Leigh: Duane G2B78A, phone: 303-492-7368, 

Textbook: No textbook is required. We will provide a comprehensive handout to be posted online covering the essential material. A book we recommend for further reading is â€śAn Introduction to Error Analysis”, 2nd Ed." by John R. Taylor. 

Clicker: You will not need a clicker for this class. 

Lab: The labs will start September 4.

Goals and topics: This course is designed to introduce you lab skills, more specifically how to measure things carefully, record the measurements faithfully, and analyze results thoughtfully. The course includes experiments that illustrate introductory concepts in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and optics, and radiation.

Course Format (please read carefully):

There are 14 laboratory experiments available, of which you will complete 6. You can work on your own or with a partner of your choice. Labs M1 and E1 must be done with a partner. Lab M1 (The Simple Pendulum) is your first lab following the MathCad primer. Lab E1 (Introduction to Circuits) will be your 4th lab. You are required to perform 4 other experiments of which one must be from Mechanics (M#), one from Electricity and Magnetism (E#), and one from the Other (O#) category. The last experiment can be from any of these three categories. 

You perform one experiment per laboratory meeting every two weeks. The second meeting is reserved to retake data if needed, and to write the laboratory report. You can also write your lab report at home. 

Although you may be working with a partner, and taking measurements together, each of you has to keep an individual record of the measurement and the data. Your data sheet(s) have to be initialized by your TA and you have to staple these sheets as originals to your report you are turning in. 

You must also each write your own report. However, you are encouraged to work together and discuss and share thoughts about the experimental outcome. Plagiarized lab reports will receive zero credit and you risk further sanctions. 

There are three different stations for each experiment. To ensure that the lab you want is available, you must reserve the lab by signing the reservation book in the lab. Only sign up for one lab at a time after you are done with your current one.

Lab notebooks may not be removed from the 1140 lab. Unless you are familiar with Mathematica, Matlab, or similar scientific computation tools, all of your graphing and data analysis will be done using the software MathCad, which is running on the computers in the lab. Your completed report will consist of a MathCad document and the corresponding pages in your lab notebook. A sample report is displayed on the bulletin board in the lab as a reference and your TA and the Lab Coordinators can help you with any questions. Also, check the lab report score sheet (see Downloads) to see what is expected by the TAs to receive a full score. 

It is essential that you carefully study the lab instructions and complete the pre-lab questions before coming to the lab. The pre-lab questions must be turned in to your TA's slot in the brown homework cabinet in the 1140 lab room G2B66 before you begin working on the experiment. If you desire extra time to complete your lab, you can work any time in the 1140 lab between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. 

You are highly encouraged to start working on your lab report as soon as possible after completion of the experiment and you can turn it in as soon as you have finished. The report for each experiment will be due by 4:00pm seven working days after your first lab meeting. For example if your scheduled lab is on a Wednesday then your report will be due, at the latest, on Friday the following week at 4:00pm. Please talk to your TA as soon as possible if you have special circumstances that prevent you from completing a lab report on time. 

If you need help and have questions about your lab report you can contact your TA during his/her TA office hours, Scott, or Jerry, or any of the TA's present in the lab.

Homework: There will be 4-5 homework assignments on error analysis in connection with the weekly lectures. The sets will be announced in lecture (Monday or Tuesday). They are due the following Tuesday, to be turned in by 4:00 pm in your lab session's box in the brown homework cabinet in the 1140 lab, Room G2B66. You may turn your homework in early, but not late. 

Exam: There is no exam for this course. 


Your final grade consists of the following 4 parts:

  1. 4 Homework assignments: 25%.
  2. 6 completed lab write-ups: 60%. 

  3. Pre-lab questions: 15%.

The average grade for this course is usually around a B. At the end of the semester, we will normalize the lab scores so that each TA has the same average score for his/her sessions, in order to compensate for any differences in grading habits (unless we have clear evidence that some sessions are “smarter”). The TAs’ will have the option of raising or lower your final grade by 1/2 letter grade, based on your in-class performance. Reasons for lowering the grade include: chronic tardiness or unexcused absence, lack of familiarity with the lab instructions, poor understanding of the physics principles used. Reasons for raising the grade include: asking insightful questions, unusually high level of preparedness, excellent lab technique. Under normal circumstances, the grade will not be changed.

University Policies:

Disabilities: If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact: 303-492-8671, Willard 322, and www.Colorado.EDU/disabilityservices. If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see guidelines at

Religious observances: Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, you should notify me at least two weeks before any anticipated class absences. See full details at

Classroom Behavior: Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. As part of this responsibility, you are expected to turn off cell phone ringers during class, not use laptop computers, cell phones, pagers, or other electronic devices and not read newspapers or magazines in class. Students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions. See policies at and at code. Professional courtesy andsensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender variance, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.

Equity and Discrimination: The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships apply to all students, staff and faculty.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of sexual harassment or discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550. Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at

Academic Honesty: All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at and at