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Collaborative Learning Laboratory

The back-to-back six-week physics courses 202-Introduction to Experimental Physics and 203-Experimental Physics II have dedicated learning spaces in the newly renovated Sanders Physics that are lovingly referred to as the Modern Lab. In this semester-long lab experience, students have an opportunity to replicate classic historical experiments, including the photoelectric effect, Michelson interferometer, and muon lifetime experiments. Emphasis is placed on the use of computers for capturing and analyzing data, and on effective oral and written presentation of experimental results.

Open cavity Helium-Neon laser tube viewed through a diffraction grating. Photo by Jonathan Snyder '18


The collaborative learning laboratory houses twenty experimental setups that allow physics majors to engage in a wide range of physical inquiry. These include:

Laser Optics

  • Interferometry
  • Acousto-Optic Effect
  • Fiber optic signaling

Nuclear Instrumentation

  • Detection of cosmic ray muons
  • Measurement of the speed of gamma rays
  • Nuclear spectroscopy

Quantum Physics/Solid State Physics

  • Photoelectric effect
  • Millikan's oil drops (Measurement of the electron charge)
  • Diffraction of electrons
  • Atomic spectroscopy
  • Fundamentals of Noise
  • Measuring Semiconductor Bandgap