Experimental Techniques with Professional Skills - PHY00029I

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  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Thomas Krauss
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

The two sub-sections Experimental Techniques and Professional Skills directly complement each other, as they both relate to technological and practical aspects of the student experience and thereby enhance the ability of students to succeed in an industrial or a research environment.

Experimental Techniques

The Experimental Techniques aspect of this module examines some of the principles, practices and applications underlying the measurement and detection of signals, e.g. electrical or optical signals, which are at the heart of experimental physics and technological applications today. Students will learn how to assess the information content of signals and measurements and how this impacts on practical applications. Both analogue and digital signals will be analysed, as well as sources of noise and signal recovery in the presence of noise. Specific applications in the detection of weak signals in physics will be discussed. The lectures will include experimental demonstrations to illustrate key points, and students will solve simple numerical problem building on their Python programming skills acquired in year 1.

A group project, conducted during the second half of the course, affords the opportunity for the more in-depth study of a technological application where applying appropriate test & measurement techniques and detecting weak signals is essential.

Skills

Transferable skills have been embedded within the undergraduate programmes to align departmental teaching with the Employability Strategy and York Pedagogy, and to create a distinctive York graduate. But it is vital that students have an opportunity to reflect on the intellectual, practical and transferable skills gained during their degree, in order to appreciate how the education provided develops their employability.

It is important that students can evidence skills; for example the ability to work independently and/or in groups, tackle open-ended problems and communicate the outcomes succinctly in unfamiliar environments. It is also important that students appreciate how these skills and experiences developed both via participation with the programme and through engagement with other aspects of university life, and can map these to essential qualities required by potential employers and postgraduate programmes.

This module provides practical training and includes a team activity related to a programme specific open-ended physics problem, and two individual recorded presentations on a programme specific physics topic. It also prompts students to reflect on skills gained during their degree and to articulate how those skills have developed their employability by mapping these to potential career sectors. This is facilitated by workshops, the Physics Careers Event and the completion of a related pro-forma. Work culminates in the production of a CV and an application letter reflecting the skills and experiences which support application to a job sector or postgraduate programme.

Module learning outcomes

Experimental Techniques

• Discuss the fundamental sources of noise in electrical circuits, their physical origin and their quantitative evaluation where appropriate.

• Understand what is meant by ‘time domain’ and ‘frequency domain’ of signals and noise, and how to use Fourier Transforms to change from one domain to the other.

• Describe the effect of noise on both analogue and digital signals in both the time and frequency domains.

• Calculate signal-to-noise and power ratios in decibels.

• Be able to read data sheets and assess the different components of a measurement system.

• Describe how an analogue signal can be converted to a digital signal, and the limitations of the conversion, including quantization noise.

• Calculate the optimum frequency for sampling an analogue signal to convert to digital (Nyquist Criterion).

• Discuss methods for signal recovery, improving signal-to- noise, the circumstances under which such methods work, and their limitations. Be able to design simple filters.

• Be able to write simple computer programs related to test & measurement problems.

• Present an overview of a technological application which uses test & measurement techniques.

* Recognise the nature of a test & measurement problem and develop strategies of how to solve it.

Skills

  • Demonstrate the ability to research and survey literature relating to an advanced technological application in environmental context.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively through a short formal oral presentation
  • Demonstrate the ability to work together in groups towards a common goal
  • Demonstrate the ability to write an article based on information collected and synthesized, in an appropriate style and format

Subject content

  • Investigate either independently and/or in groups, the solution to an open-ended problem and communicate the outcomes succinctly
  • Summarise a specific topic from the physics programme such that material produced is complete, consistent and supported by theory

Academic and graduate skills

  • Communicate information and ideas to an appropriate standard and in such a way as to enable understanding and engagement by academic and non-specialist audiences
  • Select and adapt the appropriate style to convey accurate clear information, attitudes and ideas in an appropriate written format in a way which enables use and facilitates auditing
  • Identify, select, synthesise and evaluate information/data to enable the achievement of a desired outcome making effective use of multiple databases and sources of information
  • Reflect on and critically evaluate strengths, limitations, personal and contextual factors which have an impact on performance and establish ways to improve
  • Demonstrate the independent learning ability needed to continue to develop at an advanced level
  • Create and implement a plans to achieve key career objectives
  • Identify ways to make professional use of others to achieve aims and desired outcomes
  • Respond appropriately to peer expectations

Module content

Skills content (+training workshops and feedback sessions)

  • individual recorded 10 minute presentation on programme specific topic in physics with peer-assessment through VLE
  • repeat of above building on feedback; presentations assessed by staff
  • team activity: assessment centre exercise (formative)
  • team activity: student groups prepare 10 minute presentation to cohort, reviewing a specific job sector, company profiles, essential skills required and how they map to the undergraduate programme, typical application process/timing
  • team activity: ‘thinking like a physicist’ answering an open-ended complex problem on a programme specific theme culminating in production of a group solution document
  • completion of an individual pro-forma (linked to attendance at Physics Careers Event) which asks a student to list potential careers sectors, identify key competencies, differentiate between occupations based on those aspects which are considered most relevant by the student
  • production of a CV aligned to a potential sector
  • production of a draft application letter aligned to a potential sector

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Application letter
N/A 5
Essay/coursework
CV and pro-forma
N/A 5
Essay/coursework
Group Assignment
N/A 20
Essay/coursework
Peer review of presentation 1
N/A 3
Essay/coursework
Physics Practise Questions (PPQ)
N/A 10
Essay/coursework
Team exercise written report
N/A 5
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
N/A 4
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Team exercise presentation
N/A 3
University - closed examination
Experimental Techniques
1.5 hours 45

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Application letter
N/A 5
Essay/coursework
CV and pro-forma
N/A 5
Essay/coursework
Group Assignment
N/A 20
Essay/coursework
Peer review of presentation 1
N/A 3
Essay/coursework
Team exercise written report
N/A 5
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
N/A 4
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Team exercise presentation
N/A 3
University - closed examination
Experimental Techniques
1.5 hours 45

Module feedback

Physics Practice Questions: 1 week

Group project: 2 weeks

Examination: 4 weeks

Presentation 1: video of student presentation shared on VLE within 2 days of recording, and peer feedback received within 14 days via VLE blog. (Also feedback in cohort feedback session)

Team exercise presentation: video of student group presentation shared on VLE within 2 days of recording, and staff feedback received within 7 days by email. (Also feedback in cohort feedback session)

Team exercise written report: staff feedback by email within 4 weeks of submission

CV and pro-forma: staff feedback by email within 4 weeks of submission

Application letter: staff feedback by email within 4 weeks of submission

Presentation 2: video of student presentation shared on VLE within 2 days of recording, and staff feedback received within 14 days via email. (Also group feedback in cohort feedback session)

Indicative reading

Jim Lesurf: Information and Measurement

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/iandm/intro.html

Warburton N: The basics of essay writing (Taylor & Francis/Routledge) 2006

Levin P: Write great essays! 2nd edition (McGraw Hill) 2009

 



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.