PHYC30170 Physics with Astronomy and Space Science Laboratory I

Academic Year 2024/2025

The module is undertaken in a laboratory designed to provide an educational environment where students are exposed to experimental projects which both support and complement material which they encounter in their lecture courses. The module requires that each student attend a series of introductory sessions and complete six experimental mini-projects (one of which is related to the introductory material) plus two dedicated to astrophysics. The astrophysics components involve processing of CCD images produced by professional astronomical telescopes, which is essential preparatory training for the field trip to be undertaken in stage 4. The set up of the laboratory encourages students to actively engage with the physics content of their work. Students will be given introductory sessions covering techniques they will require and are expected to attend for all timetabled hours (12 hours/week). The experiments, covering a wide range of topics, are designed in such a way that the best students are challenged, and motivated students allowed to pursue their own extensions. Students are required to work in teams to debate a Physics topic and must write an accompanying abstract for a lay audience. Students are also introduced to risk assessment. The ethos of the laboratory is one that encourages students to ask questions and the aim is to provide a supportive environment in which students are secure enough to take full advantages of the educational opportunities on offer.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Specific learning outcomes include familiarisation with a wide range of experimental equipment and techniques used in research (with some emphasis on astrophysics and space science) and industry, development of programming skills applied to the interfacing of computers to scientific equipment and physical simulation, application of data analysis methods (including curve fitting and statistics) to experimental data, and the development of a capability to carry out a complete experimental project from the planning/setting-up stage to the production of a report/publication detailing the results. The practical laboratory also provides a natural environment for students to develop their transferable skills. These include time management, report writing, critical thinking, experimental planning, problem solving, oral presentation and co-operative work.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
As per module descriptor. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

The module is designed for students who have physics laboratory experience.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback is provided on completion of each report and oral assessment through the module. Early in the spring trimester, provisional results and feedback in general on their progress to date are available.

Name Role
Dr Morgan Fraser Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Luis Leon Vintro Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Thomas McCormack Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Emma Sokell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Joe Branson Tutor
Mr Paul Hanratty Tutor