Physics 123 Waves & Optics Lab

Autumn Quarter 2016

Instructor: Jeff Zirul
Office Hours: By appointment: please email.

Most Important Lab Policies

  • To pass the Physics 123 course, you must pass the lab. To pass the lab you must earn at least 50 points of the WebAssign 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 WebAssign lab homework is SUNDAY NIGHT, 11:59 PM.
  • Lab attendance will be recorded on a UW Canvas webpage, not on WebAssign.

Meeting Times and Locations

The Waves & Optics Lab meets in Room B123. 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:

Autumn Quarter 2016 Time Schedule, Physics 123 labs

Autumn 2016 Physics 123 TAs and Sections
B123123 AM (TBA)123 AP (TBA)123 BR Dylan Chase-Woods
B123123 BN Dylan Chase-Woods123 BS (TBA)
B123123 AN Dylan Chase-Woods123 AQ Dylan Chase-Woods123 AS Sean Gasiorowski
B123123 BM Nicholas Ruof123 BO Sean Gasiorowski123 BQ Nicholas Ruof
B123123 AO Sean Gasiorowski123 AR Nicholas Ruof

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


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

Week/Dates Lab Title
1: Sep. 28-30Do Pre-Lab 1 and Policies Quiz
2: Oct. 3-71Resonance & Standing waves
3: Oct. 10-142Waves, Phase & Speed of sound
4: Oct. 17-213Light rays & Law of reflection
5: Oct. 24-284Mirrors
6: Oct. 31 - Nov. 45Lenses
7: Nov. 7-106Optical instruments
8: Nov. 14-187Diffraction & Interference
9: Nov. 21-23Holiday week - No Lab Meetings
10: Nov. 28 - Dec. 28Spectra & Planck's constant
11: Dec. 5-9Make-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 2016, published by Hayden-McNeil (ISBN 978-0-7380-8489-3). 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

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.