CAAM 335 Physical Laboratory

Lab Instructor Xin Yang
Office: Duncan Hall 2107
Hours in Lab:
Fri: 2-4 pm
Lab use

The lab is located in the Herzstein basement, room B27. The instructor will provide you with a key code for the door; you may use the lab whenever you like. We are presently setting up the lab in this new location, so please refrain from fiddling with equipment that is not part of the current lab experiment.

The labs may be accomplished with a partner, but this is not a requirement. Plan on spending 2 hours in the lab for each lab, and please read the manual prior to coming to the lab. If we have an odd number of students and everyone would like to work in a group, then we can have a group of three.


The lab manual is an evolving document; it may be updated occasionally during the semester.


Lab reports will be submitted through OwlSpace.

Each group should write one report, but for logistical purposes, each person needs to submit a report in the assignments tab in owlspace. The report should be one document and indicate that you understood the mathematics, preformed the lab, and completed the appropriate analysis. Please indicate your group member(s) in your lab report.

Slavishly following the lab manual is not a requirement; experimentation is welcome. But if you deviate from the lab manual you should explain your techniques and justify your choices. For the non-adventurous, preforming the lab as described will always result in a good grade; but novel and intelligent modification will receive higher marks.

For each lab, you should assume the reader is familiar with the lab manual; there is no need to parrot the manual in a "procedure" section, etc.

You may choose to write up your lab using MATLAB's "publish" feature, or as a more formal document in LaTeX, as you prefer. See below for details.


Lab reports will be marked on a 0 to 3 scale:

  • 0 - No lab turned in;
  • 1 - Earnest attempt -- the lab preformed, data presented, and questions answered but perhaps a few errors;
  • 2 - Good work -- quality lab work and writeup;
  • 3 - Outstanding work -- outside knowledge brought to bear and excellent presentation.

Most reports will fall between a 1 and 2; only the exceptional will receive higher.

An average of one or above will not hurt your grade, but higher averages can boost your final grade in CAAM 335.

Matlab Publish Feature For the informal labs you should use Matlab's publish feature. A sample m-file, circuit6.m. For more info on Matlab's publish feature see Publishing Matlab Code.

LaTeX is a (free) beautiful tool for typesetting mathematics. To make your lab reports look more formal, you may wish to write them using this system. Most mathematicians and scientists prepare their documents using LaTeX, which is similar in complexity to HTML.

LaTeX is installed on OwlNet, and should come as part of most standard Linux installations. Mac users should obtain TeXShop. Windows users have two options:

  • Easier: Install MikTeX and TeXnicCenter, an IDE for LaTeX.
  • Harder: Install Cygwin, a free (GPL) Unix environment for Windows. When presented with a list of applications to install, select tetex, tetex-base, tetex-extras under Publishing.

A prototype LaTeX lab report report.tex, including a figure sample.eps are provided as examples. Here is what it looks like when compiled report.pdf.

Disabilities Any student with a disability requiring accommodation in this course is encouraged to contact the instructor during the first week of class, and also to contact Disability Support Services in the Ley Student Center.