By Colin Cooke
Figuring out, designing and engaging in experiments is on the middle of technology. this article introduces the basic rules on which physicists should still construct an intensive experimental method of their discipline.
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Additional resources for An introduction to experimental physics
We will briefly consider three examples in which the unknown being investigated, shown in bold print, shifts from input to system to output: Experiment Input System Output 1 2 3 Starlight X rays Spectral lamps Spectrometer Crystal structure Spectrometer Wavelengths Angles Angles Experiment 1 uses the radiation from a star as the input to a telescope with a spectrometer attached so that the wavelengths of the light can be measured. By comparing these wavelengths with those produced by similar sources on Earth one calculates the red shift in the light emitted by the star, from which the rate of expansion of the universe is deduced.
National security or commercial profit may be used as an argument for limiting the communication of scientific information, and your education in science might consider such topics. At a conference I attended some years ago a scientist was happy to listen to work performed in university laboratories but was unwilling to discuss his own work, which he considered to be commercially sensitive. He was not very popular. Good use of time in experiments There are occasions when you are short of time to conduct an experiment as thoroughly as you would wish.
The significant property of a system is not the size of signal, since this might be masked by a large amount of noise, nor the magnitude of the noise since this is irrelevant with a large signal, but the signal-to-noise ratio, S/N. Improvement in sensitivity must be directed at increasing this ratio. It is no use, for example, simply using greater amplification, since this will increase both signal and noise by the same amount, and the discrimination will not be improved. One obvious method of reducing the effect of noise is to perform a difference measurement.
An introduction to experimental physics by Colin Cooke