PHYS 107

Physics of Light, Perception, Photography and Visual Phenomena Laboratory

Spring 2008



INSTRUCTOR:           Professor Eun-Suk Seo

                                    Rm 3203, CSS building



                                    Office Hours: W 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, F 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM or by appointment


TA:                              Sarah Kurian

                                    Rm 3103B, Physics Building



                                    Office Hours: Tu 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM, W 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM or by appointment


TEXTBOOK:              Physics 107 Laboratory Manual, Fall 2004 edition



Rm 3214, Physics Bldg.

SEC 0101

M 3:00 PM - 4:50 PM


SEC 0301       

Tu 11:00 AM -12:50 PM


SEC 0401       

Tu 1:00 PM - 2:50 PM


SEC 0501       

W 11:00 AM - 12:50 PM


SEC 0601      

W 3:00 PM - 4:50 PM



COURSE DESCRIPTION:  PHYS 107 is a 1 credit laboratory course to accompany PHYS106. Laboratory experiments include geometrical optics (lenses, cameras, and eyes), optical instruments, photography, perception, color phenomena, and wave phenomena.  PHYS106 and PHYS107 must be taken concurrently in order to meet the CORE Physical Science Laboratory requirement.


COURSE POLICIES: You are required to do all of the assigned experiments and complete a lab report for each.  If you are not able to attend a scheduled lab section, make an arrangement in advance by writing to the instructor to get permission to attend another lab session in the same week. If the lab cannot be made up in the same week, you may get permission to complete that lab during the make-up week shown below.  The first make-up period will cover Experiments 1 through 6, and the second will cover the rest of the labs.  Not more than one experiment per student is allowed for the make-up labs.



PHYS 107           Laboratory Schedule             Spring 2008

The Week of



 January 28


 Course Description and Policies

 February 4


 Camera Obscura

 February 11


 Pinhole Camera

 February 18


 Light Reflection, Mirrors and Images

 February 25


 Light Refraction

 March 3


 Images Shaped Surfaces, Simple Lenses

 March 10


 More Simple Lenses

 March 17


 Spring Break 

 March 24 


 Make Up Labs

 March 31


 The Camera

 April 7 


 Polarized Light and Birefringence

 April 14 


 Light Interference

 April 21 


 Light diffraction

 April 28 


 Diffraction Gratings, Color, and Holography

 May 5 


 Make Up Labs


Lab managers:     Mr. Bill Norwood

                                    Rm 3304, Physics Building



Mr. Giza, Thomas E.      

Rm 3308, Physics Building



Lab Report: Lab reports should be completed in the lab and submitted at the end of the lab period for grading.  They will be returned to the student during the next lab meeting. Late reports will not be accepted after the day of the experiment. The report should consist of the following:

  1. Preparatory Information including course & section numbers, title of the experiment, date of the experiment, your name and partner’s if applicable.
  2. Main body of the report consisting of answers to the “Topic” questions in the lab manual, along with descriptions of your observations that support these answers.
  3. A brief summary including the goal of the experiment, findings and conclusions


PRE-LAB & QUIZ: Reading the lab manual before each lab is required. Answers to pre-lab questions must be submitted at the beginning of the lab meeting before the experiment starts. The pre-lab questions are found at the beginning of each experiment in the lab manual. A brief quiz based on the material of the previous lab can be given in class or on-line using Blackboard ( You cannot make-up a quiz or answers to a pre-lab set of questions.


GRADE:  Each “Topic” in an experiment and the summary get 3 points each. Each pre-lab or Quiz question will be worth 3 points.


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 and graduate students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important for you to 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


Disabilities: Students with documented disability should contact Professor Seo at the beginning of the semester to discuss accommodations.


Tips for the Lab Report


Science research involves writing a proposal, carrying out experiments, and publishing research papers.   In a research proposal you propose an experiment to meet the science goal you want to achieve.  You need to justify how the experiment will help understanding of the science you set for your research objective.  While conducting experiments, scientists keep records of what they do, analogous to what you will practice with your lab notebook.  Specifically, the lab notebook is to keep a record of what you did in the lab and to remind yourself of your findings.  To communicate research findings, the results are published in science journals.  No matter how great your discoveries, if they are not published no one else would know of your discoveries and the world will not be able to utilize them.   Writing a lab report is similar to writing a journal paper for a publication.  You should write down your findings in an effective and convincing manner to your peers.  Tabulating the data and plotting graphs are the most effective way of presenting data. In addition to writing down your experimental settings, you must perform error analysis to convince people of the reproducibility and validity of the data. 


Instructions:  Read the instructions carefully before you start, again when you are doing the experiment and before you finish to avoid leaving out significant sections.

Handwriting: Write legibly, otherwise the TA won’t be able to grade the report.  Typing with a word processor using a computer is desired. 

Measurements: Make sure to use the right scale. 

Tables: Re-tabulate the data properly in ascending or descending order. Do not hand in a copy of your lab notebook unless it is very neat.  When you use computer software, such as Excel printouts, make sure the cells are formatted to reflect the precision of the instrument.  For example, 3.000 must not show up as 3.

Experimental settings: Write down the experimental settings next to your readings.

Graphs: Make sure to put in axis titles and error bars.

Error Analysis and Numerical Calculations:

Quantities: Define quantities (such as A, B etc.) before you use them. 

Systematic presentations:  First manipulate the expressions algebraically.  Then, write down the corresponding numerical values of the quantities in the equation.  Do not substitute numbers into the equations directly.  Finally calculate the answer, write it down and underline it. 

Discussion: Think about the experiment, look at the orders of magnitude, and ask yourself how you might improve the results.  Put all thoughts/understanding on the paper.


Disclaimer: The instructor reserves right to make minor changes to this syllabus to meet the specific needs of the class during the semester.