Prospectus

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Experimental Projects

Course
2022-2023

Admission Requirements

  • Enthusiasm for experimental research, willingness to dedicate time to the project.

  • Due to the nature of this course, taking part in this course requires (i) building a student team of around 4-8 people, and (ii) discussion of the project with the lecturer several weeks before it starts! Please contact Wolfgang Löffler Löffler Lab and/or Alexandre Morin, Morin Lab as soon as possible.

Description

In Experimental Projects you can learn how to independently plan and conduct a scientific research project, from generating the first idea until presenting and reporting the final results. The required time is 6 EC * 28 h/EC = 168 hours, about 140 hours for the project itself and some time for report & presentation. This means that the course is not about just a small experiment but gives you the opportunity to realise a real project of an appropriate size that requires project planning and management. Note, however, that we will carefully help you choosing or propose a project that has a very high success probability, if you bring the necessary motivation, skills and time! A skilled teaching assistant (PhD) will help you in the project phase. Next to learning essential skills in physics, team work and project management, enrolling in this course will prepare you nicely for an experimental BSc Project.

You will choose the team, have a lot of freedom but also responsibility. A reasonable budget is available, and you can work together with the fine-mechanical department (FMD) and electronics department (ELD). One of the goals of this course is to develop problem mitigation strategies, what to do if things don't work out, and how to realistically design projects.

At certain intervals you will present or report the status and results to the lecturer and your fellow student teams. The course will be finalized by a presentation and a written report. The team grade will be assessed using similar rubrics as for BSc research projects (renormalized for reduced time).

To give you an idea, here some successful projects from the past:

  • 2018/2019: A Gauss Gun

  • 2019/2020: A low-cost LIDAR system

  • 2019/2020: A SONAR system

  • 2020/2021: An Ion-propelled aircraft

  • 2021/2022: Bell test with quantum entangled photons

Course objectives

Next to improving your physics skills (experimentally and theoretically), we hope that this course will improve your teamwork and project management skills, teach how to plan & conduct a research project largely independently, and by this increase your scientific self-confidence! Rigorous and critical thinking, reporting and presenting are also important goals.

This means you will be able to

  • Formulate relevant scientific questions, based on prior research results and literature study

  • Write a project proposal, which describes the measurement technique, the data analysis, the expected results, and their relation to the research question(s)

  • Design, construct and characterize physical experiments on your own, and obtain data.

  • Critically and correctly analyze the data, compare to models.

  • Project and team management: plan and design a project realistically and write a short project proposal, distribute and manage the work within the team, continuously monitor the progress and re-evaluate decisions.

  • Learn from setbacks, mistakes and team problems - and be able to spot it earlier the next time.

Transferable skills

This means that you will also learn how to

  • Professionally respond to feedback: incorporate feedback into the research by adapting your practices

  • Collaborate as a proactive team player

  • Plan your research activities realistically

  • Communicate and discuss your research in an efficient way

  • Work in a larger team

  • Hold and contribute to effective meetings

  • Interact with experts from the electronics and fine-mechanical departments

Timetable

Schedule
For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different

Mode of instruction

Project work, coached by staff and TA(s).

Assessment method

Project work with continuous feedback also on performance, presentation and project report.

Reading list

Depends on the project

Registration

From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.

Contact

Alexandre Morin

Wolfgang Löffler

Paul Logman

Remarks

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