Physics 123 Waves & Optics Lab

Summer Quarter 2017

Instructor: David P. Smith
Office: Physics/Astronomy B257
Office Hours: By appointment: please phone or email.
Telephone: 206-543-2997

Most Important Lab Policies

  • To pass the Physics 123 course, you must pass the lab. To pass the lab you must earn at least 48 points of the online lab homework (Pre-Labs and Post-Labs) and you must not miss more than two lab sessions. See Grades for more information.
  • The weekly due date for all lab homework is SUNDAY NIGHT, 11:59 PM.
  • Lab attendance will be recorded in the Canvas gradebook for physics 123.

Meeting Times and Locations

The Waves & Optics Lab meets in Rooms B123. In the schedule below, the TA's email address is linked to the TA's name.

Summer 2017 Physics 123 TAs and Sections
B123123 AO Emily Clark
B123123 AM Sam Kowash123 AP Chen Zou
B123123 AN Sam Kowash

If you need to attend a different section to make up a lab, see the Lab Section/TA Info page for further details.

To find the further information concerning your lab section, consult your MyUW page, or the official UW registrar's time schedule:

Summer Quarter 2017 Time Schedule, Physics 123 labs


The first Pre-Lab homework is due before the first meeting.

1: June 19-231Resonance & Standing waves
2: June 26-302Waves, Phase & Speed of sound
3: July 3-73Light rays & Law of reflection
4: July 10-144Mirrors
5: July 17-215Lenses
6: July 24-286Optical instruments
7: July 31 - Aug. 4 7Diffraction & Interference
8: Aug. 7-118Spectra & Planck's constant
9: Aug. 14-18Make-up week. One missed lab only.

Required Lab Manual

Because you will record your experimental results in the manual, you must have an unused copy of the current manual to participate in the class:

Physics 123: Waves & Optics Laboratory, by the Faculty of the Department of Physics, Spring 2017 & Summer 2017, published by Hayden-McNeil (ISBN 978-0-7380-9073-3). It may be purchased at the University Bookstore for $20.00.

Online Lab Homework and Attendance Record

Online lab homework (Pre-Labs and Post-Labs) are done using the same MyLab and Mastering account that you use for lecture homework.

Attendance to the lab sections is recorded on the UW Canvas system. Contact your instructor to obtain the web address of your Canvas lab course, or look for it on MyUW.

Course Structure and Grades

The lab course has two required parts: (1) a weekly two-hour lab session and (2) online homework with both Pre-Lab and Post-Lab components. This link describes the course structure in detail.

A student must pass both the In-Class and the Homework parts of the lab course in order to pass the full physics 123 5 credit course. To pass the In-Class part of the lab the student must attend at least 6 In-Class sessions (either as regularly scheduled or as make-up), that is, get a minimum of 60/80 In-Class points. To pass the Homework part the student must earn at least 50%, or a minimum of 48/96 of the lab Homework points. Failure of either part of the lab will result in a grade of 0.0 for the entire 5 credit Physics 12x course (lecture+lab+tutorial).

Due Dates and Make-up Work

Assignment Due date & time Make up policy
Online Pre-Lab Sunday night, 11:59 PM before lab session begins. Never.
In-class session Attendance required at scheduled time for section. Attend another session during week, or attend make-up week session.
Online Post-Lab Sunday night, 11:59 PM, following lab session. 20% reduction for every day late.

Attendance is required to the regularly scheduled lab section. The TA will initial the lab papers at the end of the In-Class session and record satisfactory completion of the In-Class part. Students must have the TA's final initials in order to assure credit for attending the session.

Make-ups are allowed during another session in the same week, or one lab may be made-up during the make-up week without special permission(plus one more with special permission).

In some cases, missed work may be excused. This link explains the policies.

Email Policy

Before sending an email note the following:

If after reading the above you still have a lab related question please send the lab instructor an email at Since we are using MyLab and Mastering for the first time this quarter, please CC Nikolai Tolich,, who is overseeing the transition to this new online homework system.