• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Gregory Lane
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course includes an on campus activity/ies. Check timetable for details. Contact course convener if you are unable to travel to Canberra.

Physics is concerned with the nature, properties and understanding of matter and energy in the universe. The primary method of testing whether physical theories are correct is through comparison of theoretical predictions with measurements of physical properties. Indeed, it could be said that the pursuit of ever more accurate and precise measurements is the bedrock of modern physics. The Physics Advanced Laboratory course will consist of lectures, smaller laboratory experiments, computational exercises, and, most importantly, the design and performance of complex, open-ended experiments using high-end equipment in real research laboratories, such as high precision lasers and a 15MV electrostatic tandem accelerator. The course is designed to develop the essential scientific and laboratory techniques required by experimental physicists, as well as oral and written communication skills, self-reliance, trouble-shooting abilities and a sophisticated understanding of measurement uncertainty.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the skills and knowledge to:
  1. Understand and be able to apply a broad range of measurement methods and techniques that are widely used in physics experiments;
  2. Understand the importance of noise and statistical uncertainties in measurements of physical processes;
  3. Design experiments and be able to make appropriate choices of measurement techniques and equipment;
  4. Be able to apply high-level computational and statistical techniques to datasets, including complex uncertainty analysis and model testing;
  5. Communicate effectively in both oral and written formats.

Specific Skills Learned:
  • Mathematical: Statistics, Monte Carlo methods, Fourier analysis Computational: Computer control, data manipulation, data visualisation, model/curve fitting. A variety of computer languages will be used, with a focus on Python and Mathematica.
  • Experimental: Experimental design and techniques.
  • Communication: Written lab reports, oral presentations, oral exam.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

  • Exam (30%; LO1-4), 
  • Laboratory Reports (40%; LO1-5),
  • Oral presentation /defence of experimental results (20%; LO5),
  • Logbook (10%; LO1-4)

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Average of 2 hrs of lectures and/or tutorials per week. Up to 30 hours of laboratory work over the semester.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Completion of a minimum of 18 units from PHYS2013, PHYS2020, PHYS2201, PHYS2016.

Preliminary Reading

There is no prescribed text book, but the following books are recommended as references: “Building Scientific Apparatus” J.H. Moore, C.C. Davies, Michael Coplan and S. Greer (Cambridge University Press), “Radiation Detection and Measurement 4th edition” G.F. Knoll (Wiley US), “Numerical Recipes 3rd edition: The Art of Scientific Computing” H. William et al. (Cambridge University Press),

Assumed Knowledge

Since this course will focus on experimental skills and techniques, as well as data analysis and interpretation, much of the background physics will be assumed. Hence, completion of all the core second year physics courses is highly desirable. Dealing with large data sets and sophisticated data analysis methods involves programming and computer-based analysis. While a basic knowledge of programming and computational skills is advised, part of the purpose of the course is to develop these skills.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3601 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8611 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions