Physics 123 Waves & Optics Lab

Spring Quarter 2016

Instructor: Prof. Xiaodong Xu
Office: Physics/Astronomy B437
Office Hours: By appointment: please email.
Telephone: 206-543-8444

Meeting Times and Locations

The Waves & Optics Lab meets in Rooms B123 and B125. To find the specific information for your section, consult your MyUW time schedule, your WebAssign lab section page, or the official UW registrar's time schedule:

Spring Quarter 2016 Time Schedule, Physics 123 labs

Important NEW Lab Policies

Beginning Spring 2016, physics 123 labs have a number of new policies. The most important ones are

  • There is no separate WebAssign class for the lab. The lab-related online homework will be put on the WebAssign class for the lecture part of the course.
  • One due date for all online lab homework: SUNDAY NIGHT, 11:59 PM. (Pre-Labs and Post-Labs used to have different due dates; now they do not.)
  • Lab attendance will be recorded on a UW Canvas webpage, not on WebAssign.
  • To pass the lab you must pass both the In-Class part and the online homework part. See Grades for more information.
  • The total number of points for the lab is 180. Each Pre-Lab is worth 5 points, each Post-Lab is worth 7 points, and each In-Class meeting is worth 10 points. There is also a 4 point quiz on policies. Thus, the online WebAssign homework is worth 100 points. See Course Structure and Grades for more information.


The first Pre-Lab and Policy Quiz is due on WebAssign before the first meeting.

Week/Dates Lab Title
1: Mar. 28 - Apr. 1Do Pre-Lab 1 and Policies Quiz
2: Apr. 4-81Resonance & Standing waves
3: Apr. 11-152Waves, Phase & Speed of sound
4: Apr. 18-223Light rays & Law of reflection
5: Apr. 25-294Mirrors
6: May 2-65Lenses
7: May 9-136Optical instruments
8: May 16-207Diffraction & Interference
9: May 23-278Spectra & Planck's constant
10: May 31 - June 3Make-up week. One missed lab only.

Required Lab Manual, WebAssign and Canvas Webpage

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, Autumn 2015, Winter/Spring/Summer 2016, published by Hayden-McNeil (ISBN 978-0-7380-7539-6). It may be purchased at the University Bookstore for $20.00.

Online homework (Pre-Labs and Post-Labs) are done on WebAssign Look here for information about getting on to WebAssign and what to do if you are having trouble with WebAssign access or need to contact someone to solve a WebAssign use problem.

Connect to WebAssign:

Attendance to the lab sections is recorded on the UW Canvas system, not WebAssign:

Physics 123 A
Physics 123 B

Lab Section/T.A. Info

Spring 2016 Physics 123 TAs and Sections
B123123 AT Andrew Baumgartner
B125123 CM Ryan Connelly123 CS Matt Childers
B123123 AM Ryan Connelly123 AQ Francis Walsh123 AU Matt Childers123 BM John Lombard
B125123 CV Ryan Connelly
B123123 AN Andrew Baumgartner123 AR Jesse Stryker123 AV Ryan Connelly123 BN John Lombard
B125123 CN Matt Childers123 CP Kevin Smith123 CT Matt Childers123 CU Kevin Smith
B123123 AO Matt Childers123 AS Francis Walsh123 BO John Lombard
B125123 CO Kevin Smith123 CQ Ryan Connelly
B123123 AP Andrew Baumgartner
B125123 CR Jesse Stryker

More information is available here if you need to contact a TA or find another section in order to attend a make-up lab.

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 50/100 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. Automatic request from WebAssign for one 24 hr period within 7 days of due date. A 40% penalty is applied. After 7 day period, no make-up allowed.

More information concerning due dates for pre-labs, in-class work, and post-labs.

Note that in-class sessions can be made-up during the same week as your regular session, or if that is not possible, one lab may be made up at the end of the term (plus one more with special permission).

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

Email Policy

You may send the lab instructor in charge of the labs an email. But, only some kinds of mail will get answered. This link will help you write a message that will get a useful response.