Physics 120/130

Introduction to the Computer and Statistical Treatment of Experimental Data

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I. Introduction

During this first lab you will be introduced to the initial procedures for using the computer in this course. We will use the computer during every lab, sometimes to take data and other times to analyze data. All the computer packages that we will use have been programmed for us. If you are interested in learning more about the programs or programming, you may be able to do that outside of the classroom setting, or, better yet, by taking Physics 200: Computational Physics.

All of the computers on the lab benches are connected together in one large network. This allows us to to keep all the programs on one drive, to debug and change the programs for everyone at once, and to share printers with the whole department. At this first session you will be given instructions for logging on and using the network.

The primary purpose of the computer in this lab is to reduce the drudgery of the routine manipulations required in any laboratory. Computer packages are useful tools that can help you get the job done faster and better once you understand what you want to do. The Excel spreadsheet you will use in this lab is such a package. Since you will use the spreadsheet in almost every lab, it is important that you learn how to use it well when the initial instructions are given in the lab. During the course of the first three labs, you will be exposed to every way in which you will use the computer this semester. It is crucial that each lab partner understand how to use the computer. You should change around so that each of you gets a chance to input data, etc. Your ability to finish each lab efficiently will depend somewhat on your ability to use the computer productively.

Be sure and read this laboratory and do the prelab before you come to class.  There is no postlab this week.