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Prospectus

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Experimental Projects

Course
2019-2020

Admission Requirements

  • All parts of the bachelor.

  • Enthusiasm for experimental research.

  • Due to the nature of this course, taking part in this course requires discussion with the lecturer before it starts! If you are interested, please do so as soon as possible.

Description

During the optional course Experimental Projects you will 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 writing a report. 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 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 (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 extra for an experimental Bachelor Project.

The research will be conducted as a team that you can construct yourselves. It will not be conducted in one of the LION research groups but you will be given a lot of freedom to, for example, have parts of your setup made at the fine-mechanical department (FMD) or electronics department (ELD). A small budget is available for purchasing small items. 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 plan projects.

At certain intervals you will present or report your intermediary results to the lecturer and your colleague teams. The course will be finalized by a presentation and a written report. The team grade will be assessed using similar rubrics as will be used in the Bachelor Project.

To give you an idea of a possible realistic project, we propose to realize the following radar project in Leiden in 2019:
Build your own radar station: https://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-ll-003-build-a-small-radar-system-capable-of-sensing-range-doppler-and-synthetic-aperture-radar-imaging-january-iap-2011/

Course objectives

After completion of the project you will be able to conduct scientific research in physics from the first conception of a research subject up to reporting and presenting the conclusions drawn from the research.

This means you will be able to

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

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

  • Independently obtain reliable results from the experiments

  • Critically and correctly analyze the results of the experiment

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

Soft 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 and deliver expected products before the deadlines

  • communicate the conclusions of your research in an engaging and structured way, both verbally and orally

  • work in a larger team of up to 10 students

  • hold and contribute to effective meetings

  • interact with people from electronics and machine shop

Timetable

Mode of instruction

Feedback

Assessment method

Project work (with continuous feedback, also on performance)

Blackboard

Reading list

Will be discussed.

Contact

Dr. W.Löffler (Wolfgang)