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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS3666 Analysis in Experimental Physics

10 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Dr J Lloyd-Evans

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

Module replaces

part-replacement with PHYS3555 for old module PHYS3550 (Advanced Experimental Techniques)

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate skills in analysis and interpretation of a wide range of Experimental Physics
- explain and apply a range of statistical and computational analytical techniques;
- scrutinise, in a case study, the design, performance and results of a recent experiment in the literature
- defend their understanding and case study work in a viva-voce.


In the first five weeks the students develop their knowledge and understanding in probability and statistics :

Definitions and Properties of probability; continuous and discrete distributions; probability density, variable transformations, marginal and conditional distributions. Bayes Theorem. Covariance, correlation and moments. Monte Carlo techniques, random number generators and the Central Limit Theorem. Bootsrapping, ANOVA, and principal component analysis.
Resolution, precision and accuracy in experimental design.
Basis of information Theory - definition and properties. The likelihood function, chi-squared testing and maximum entropy. Sufficient statistics. Basis of decision theory - classical versus Bayesian choices. Parametric point and interval estimation. Non-parametric statistical tests. Hypothesis testing. Consistency, convergence and bias in parameter estimation. Least squares and maximum likelihood methods. Multi-parameter confidence and exclusion intervals.
Examples of good and bad design in experimental physics. Examples of the use and abuse of statistics in everyday life.

Four actual practical examples are analysed throughout the first five weeks.

For weeks 6 to 10, the students select from a set of case studies which are appropriate to their programmme specialism (ie Physics, Astrophysics, etc).The students analyse, interpret and critique the case studies and write a short report on their findings.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours86.00
Total Contact hours14.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment4 practical assignments-self study20.00
ReportCase studies20.00
Vivaviva- on workbook content10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 24/04/2012


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