This is the second quarter of a year-long class designed to help you learn to do experimental physics research. The second quarter will focus on how personal computers with multi-function data acquisition boards are used to control experiments and take data. The boards will be controlled using National Instruments LabVIEW software. After some initial exercises, you will write your own LabVIEW programs, which will use a data acquisition card to produce signals and to read time-dependent analog signals and convert them to digital format. You will then write a feedback control program that measures the temperature of a copper rod and changes the voltage applied to a heater so as to keep the temperature constant. Prior programming experience is not required. Please note, however, that the real purpose of the course is not to teach you LabVIEW! Instead, you will be expected to learn it by yourself, with an occasional bit of help. This is much closer to what will happen when you are working in a lab. Everyone in the lab who knows what they are doing will be too busy to teach you! As a second component to the course, we will take the time to explore a number of the research labs here on campus that might be of interest to you. Nothing beats working in a lab for letting you find out what doing physics is like (little resemblance to classes!), what going to graduate school would be like, and what use all this book learning really is (a lot actually). So, each of you will visit a couple of labs during the quarter and report back to the class on what you discovered.
A lab fee will be assessed to your BARC account.
Moore, J., Building Scientific Apparatus Cambridge University Press