Ph3 - Caltech Introductory Physics Laboratory

Course Description

Ph3 is a one-term, introductory-level course in experimental physics. It is offered during Fall, Winter, and Spring terms.

Lab is once per week for three hours. There are three sections available, and each section is divided into tracks, based on the order in which you will do the experiments. Class times and locations are

OM: Cancelled for Winter Term, 2022

Monday Section: 308 East Bridge 1:00pm-4:00pm
Tuesday Section: 308 East Bridge 1:00pm-4:00pm
Wednesday Section: 308 East Bridge 1:00pm-4:00pm
Thursday Section: 308 East Bridge 1:00pm-4:00pm
Friday Section: 308 East Bridge 1:00pm-4:00pm

If there are any restrictions to room occupancy and/or requirements that we wear masks indoors, then you should submit all homeworks as electronic files to the ph3 Canvas page by 6:00pm, on Friday of the week it is due. Be sure to include your name and section on each! Your TA will then grade your homework. If you missed anything you will have until the following Friday night to correct and resubmit, and your final grade on that assignment will be based on your corrected version. If you have any questions (and you probably will), feel free to contact your TA by email (see below) or Piazza .

Collaboration policy: You may collaborate with anyone you like on your homeworks. Just be sure to give them credit by listing their names at the top of your sheet. If you work in a big group and don't remember everybody's name, list as many as you do remember, and then put "and others."


The following schedule applies to all sections.

Due Dates Reading Taylor Homework Mathematica Homework Lab
Jan. 14 Taylor ch. 1-2 Taylor 2.3, 2.19, 2.27, 2.31 Getting started Lab 1: Session 1
Jan. 21 Taylor ch. 3-4 Taylor 3.2, 3.3, 3.26, 3.30, 3.50, 4.13, 4.18 Plotting Lab 1: Session 2
Jan. 28 Taylor ch. 5 Taylor 5.4, 5.15, 5.25, 5.28, 5.33, 5.36 Importing Lab 2: Session 1
Feb. 4 Taylor ch. 6-7 Taylor 6.3, 6.6, 6.7, 7.4, 7.6 Fitting Lab 2: Session 2
Feb. 11 Taylor ch. 8 Taylor 8.4, 8.14, 8.23, 8.24 Exporting Lab 3: Session 1
Feb. 18 Taylor ch. 9 Taylor 9.7, 9.11, 9.16 Programming Lab 3: Session 2
Feb. 25 Taylor ch. 10-11 Taylor 10.10, 10.22, 11.6, 11.9, 11.12 Statistics Lab 4: Session 1
Mar. 4 Taylor ch. 12 Taylor 12.2, 12.10, 12.14 Monte-Carlo Methods Lab 4: Session 2

Labs will be done in different order over the term depending on your section, according to the following schedule.

Lab Track 1 Track 2 Track 3
1 Test Equipment and Data Acquisition Test Equipment and Data Acquisition Test Equipment and Data Acquisition
2 Harmonic Oscillator Interferometry Ion Trap
3 Interferometry Ion Trap Harmonic Oscillator
4 Ion Trap Harmonic Oscillator Interferometry

Due Dates:

Notebooks are due by end of class on the day of your section, as listed in the table.

Late Penalties:

Late penalties are one full letter grade per week late. These can be waived for illness, graduate-school visits, conference attendance, job interviews, etc. Just let us know as early as possible, and we will schedule a time for you to make up the missed lab session.

Lab handouts


Contact Information

PMA - Caltech Department of Physics, Math, and Astronomy.

Other physics courses at Caltech.

Last updated January 9, 2022.