PHY 101L: University Physics I Lab

Course rationale

This is a General Education (GED, Foundation) lab course associated with the theory course PHY 101. It is mandatory for students of physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer science and one of the options for completing the GED courses in Natural Sciences for others. The lab emphasizes psychomotor skills in collecting physical data and cognitive skills in analyzing the data to get meaningful answers. Following the theory course, the lab offers experiments in mechanics (M), waves and oscillations (S), thermodynamics (H), and optics (O).

Course content

M1. Projectile motion: measuring various properties of the motion of a projectile (marble falling from a ramp) and its collision. M2. Compound pendulum: measuring the gravitational acceleration using measurements of lengths and periods of a compound pendulum. M3. Flywheel apparatus: measuring the angular velocity and moment of inertia of a flywheel about its axis of rotation. M4. Spring pendulum: determine the factors affecting the oscillation of a spring pendulum and measure its spring constant. S1. The vibration of strings: determine the frequency of a tuning fork using the transverse and longitudinal modes of vibration. H1. Heating liquids: calculating the heat capacities of unknown liquids through heating. H2. Heat capacity of solids: determining the heat capacity and specific heat of solid bodies. H3. Thermal conduction in solids: calculating the rate of energy transfer through various metals. O1. Prism and spectrometer: determining the angle of a prism using a

Course objectives

  1. Use physical apparatus to measure the properties and motion of various objects using laws of Newtonian
  2. Demonstrate the properties of waves using tuning forks.
  3.  Comprehend the laws of thermodynamics by heating different materials.
  4. Apply the elementary laws of optics to determine the properties of an optical device.
  5.  Create teams and work together to perform measurements in physics and engineering.


  1. Physics Laboratory Manual for PHY 101 (to be provided in class).
  2. University Physics (ed. 15) by Hugh Young and Robert Freedman.