2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: The Advanced Physics Laboratory Course at Pomona College
Abstract: The advanced laboratory course, required of all Pomona physics and astronomy majors, is intended to expose physics/astronomy majors to techniques of experimental physics other than electronics that may be helpful for a student's senior thesis.  (Physics majors are required, and astronomy majors are strongly encouraged, to take the department's separate laboratory course in electronics.)  The core of the course consists of a "menu" of about a dozen advanced experiments of which students choose four.  Several of them are suggested by faculty research interests and two are done in cooperation with the chemistry and geology departments.  Over the last few years we have offered experiments on carbon nanotubes, MRI, quadrupole mass spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and high-temperature superconductivity, among other topics.  The course also includes instruction in basic machine shop techniques, the analysis of experimental data, and a brief introduction to Labview.  The culmination of the course is an independent project of the student's choice, design, and construction.  About half of these projects are entirely student-initiated, while about a third are suggested by demonstrations or experiments that faculty would like to see introduced or improved.  Recent projects have included an electromagnetic quarter shrinker, the construction of a Ruben's tube, and making aerogels.  The first two projects have become standard demonstrations for introductory courses, and the last became a senior thesis.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session II - Syllabi Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Alma C. Zook
Pomona College Department of Physics and Astronomy
610 N College Ave
Claremont, CA 91711
Phone: 9096218723
Fax: 9096218463
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
David M. Tanenbaum, Pomona College Department of Physics and Astronomy