FYS2150 – Experimental Physics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course deals with experimental physics as a scientific method. Students learn about the importance of tidiness, accuracy and precision in laboratory work, and are trained in the use of written tools through the systematic use of lab journals and presentation of results in reports. A central theme of the course is the statistical use of data and adaptation of physical models to measured data and to identify and quantify sources of error.

The first part of the course deals with measurements of some basic physical quantities and evaluation of the method's accuracy and precision. There is also going to be an introduction to some common measuring instruments.

The last part of the course deals mainly with the experimental study of physical phenomena and experimental verification of physical laws.

Learning outcome

The students should be able to:

  • explain and carry out statistical analysis of data, analyze and calculate error propagation and understand the basis for and perform linear fits of models with the least squares method.
  • critically evaluate the sources of error and combine different statistical methods to define the accuracy and precision of their measurement results and extraction of model parameters.
  • critically evaluate the measurements, model interpretation and conclusions of other's experimental work.
  • understand the instruction manual of ordinary measurement instruments, especially the part which deals with the instrument's behavior, accuracy and precision, and conduct measurements with the instrument.
  • compare different principles for measuring the same quantity and assess their strengths and weaknesses in relation to different criteria.
  • use the lab journal as a documentation of measurements and actions taken and as a tool for systematic observation, review and discussion.
  • understand and explain the lab journal's legal and ethical dimension.
  • present an experimental study in the form of a report that is easy to read, accurate and reliable.
  • explain all physical phenomena and methods of measurement that the exercise in question concerns.
  • quickly familiarize themselves with new physical phenomena and measurement methods for investigating these.
  • critically evaluate the relationship between theory and experiment, find the sources of disagreement and suggest further development of theory or experiment to improve understanding of the difference.

Students should:

  • be prepared to work accurately and repeatable to achieve reliable results.
  • learn the importance of neatness in laboratory work and scientific reports.
  • develop a set of values where reliability and traceability figure prominently.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

The following courses must be passed before the first day of the mandatory laboratory course in FYS2150:


For students who took FYS2150 in spring 2015 or later, FYS2150 can not be part of a degree until the following courses have been passed:


For further information se website for transitional arrangements between old and new HSE courses.

Recommended previous knowledge


The first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, the Department has to be informed in advance (e-mail studieinfo@fys.uio.no), or else you will lose your place in the course.

The course extends over a full semester. 5 hours of lab work per week. Compulsory lab reports in the beginning of the term. Lab journals and lab reports with feedback to the students every week.


Before you can attend the mandatory laboratory courses, you have to have passed the following caourses:

You will need to provide documentation that you have passed HMS0503 and HMS0505 when you attend the first mandatory lab.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


Portfolio assessment. The grade will be set on the basis of a number of lab reports.

Detailed information about examinations at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences can be found here

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language