Course Syllabus

PHY 4802L Laboratory Physics 1

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a working knowledge of simple electronic circuitry. This course will be different from others you have taken in your major. This may be the first time you apply the theories you've learned to physical situations that you control. You'll need to rely heavily on problem-solving techniques and common-sense, in addition to problem-solving based on physics. 

This course is very time intensive . You should expect to spend many hours a week outside of class on the reading assignments, lab work, and lab reports. This is in addition to the 6 hours spent in the classroom. You might want to check out the hints on being a successful student. 

Required Texts

You are expected to read the material to be covered in each lab prior to coming to class. Time constraints limit the material that may be covered in each week's lecture. The lectures can not be and are not a substitute for the reading assignments. The lab report questions and in-class quizzes will be based on materials covered in lectures as well as those listed in the reading schedule. Material not covered in the lecture may be included on the quizzes and in the labs. 

  • Textbook: Basic Electronics for Scientists and Engineers, D. L. Eggleston
  • Supplementary Textbook: Practical Electronics for Inventors, P. Sherz & S. Monk
  • Lab Manual: PDFs uploaded by the instructors during the semester.
  • Lecture Notes: PDFs uploaded by the instructors during the semester.

Required Materials

You are encouraged to print the Lab Manual chapters and Lecture Notes to bring to the lab. You should additionally bring:

  • A USB memory stick for saving lab results saved on the computer
  • Computation Notebook (provided)

You should also read: How to keep a notebook prior to starting the labs. There are a few instructional videos online. It is best if you watch them at home. If you want to watch them in class, bring headphones.

Materials for this course will include:

  • Lab Manual sections (made available by the instructors)
  • Lecture notes   (made available by the instructors)
  • Textbook: "Basic Electronics for Scientists and Engineers" by Eggleston
  • Recommended book: "Practical Electronics for Inventors" by Scherz & Monk

The books, lectures, and lecture notes will provide the necessary background information for understanding the Labs to be performed. You are strongly encouraged to read through the relevant Lab Manual section and book reading assignment before the dates established for working on the labs in the schedule below.

This schedule is preliminary and subject to change.

Lab Safety

  • At least two students must be present when working after regular class hours. Any students found working solo will be given an automatic failure for that week's lab.
  • Emergency contacts: Bob DeSerio: NPB 1236, phone: 392-1690
  • UF campus police: 392-1111


  • Lab Prep, Homework: 30%
  • Lab Reports: 30%
  • Final Project: 25%
  • Instructor evaluation of your effort and engagement 15%

Please check with your instructor if you have questions about the grading scale. 


The homework will consist of textbook exercises as occasionally assigned by the instructor. Another component of the "homework" (implemented as quizzes in Canvas) will consist of LTSpice simulations of selected circuits that are due the night before the circuit is to be built in the lab. Due dates and assignments for these quizzes can be located from the "Quizzes" link or in the "Course Summary"  below. There may also be in-class quizzes on material that you should have internalized by the day of the quiz from the reading assignments and previous lectures. The textbook and the student manual have many practical examples which be might modified for quiz questions. 

Lab and Lab Book

One of the most important aspects of this course is to learn how to work in a lab, how to take notes and maintain a notebook and how to write good reports. We will be with you in the lab and will constantly evaluate your performance and we will also check your notebooks on a regular basis. See How to keep a lab notebook for further instructions.

Assignment due dates will be strictly followed.  Late assignments will incur a severe penalty of up to 15% off per day late. After 4 days late the maximum grade for the assignment (assuming perfect work) will be 50%.

While you will work in teams of two for building the circuits and recording data, the assignments are to be individual efforts. Discussion with and help from your peers is encouraged, but copying of work is not. Both members in each team should participate in taking data and in the analyses. Exclusively dividing the lab work is strongly discouraged. Lab partners will typically be rotated with each new chapter of the Lab Manual.

Final Project

Rather than a final exam this course has "final projects" to be worked on in teams of two in the weeks leading up to the end of the semester (see schedule). Partners are self selected by mutual agreement as the time approaches, so make note of with whom you worked well in doing the labs. Each project will be to build a circuit, having a complexity going well beyond those in the lab manual, meant to perform some stated function. The circuit/function can be devised by the team from scratch, or it can be a circuit identified from the literature or some combination of these. In either case it must be approved by the instructor before detailed work begins (see schedule). The completed circuit will be demonstrated for the class as part of a final PowerPoint-like presentation (during finals week) that details how the elements of the circuit come together to perform its function. Considered in the grading will be circuit’s complexity (with designed circuits ranking higher than found circuits), the quality of the circuit's descriptions in the presentations (appropriately using principles learned throughout the course) and finally execution (did the circuit work, doing what was intended). You are responsible for ordering and purchasing any parts needed for your project that are not already in the lab. Electronic components are fortunately not expensive but overnight shipping can greatly add to the cost. If you plan well in advance you should not need to resort to overnight shipping.  If you want to keep your project you will need to order breadboards and parts that overtax our stock to take with you.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due