Fills the need for an experimental physics text. There are three main sections of the text. The first is an introduction that offers valuable insights into the importance of the human element in physics and traces the course of its historical development. This section also explains the objectives of the physics laboratory and the skills you must master to maintain a ``Notebook'' and analyze data, and presents a general discussion of spectroscopy experiments. The second section discusses the unique and valuable role of the computer in the laboratory and explains how to use it; software is included with the text. The final section contains over twenty experiments, providing students with a broad introduction into the use of a variety of instruments for carrying out many different measurements.
A splendid contribution to the literature of undergraduate physics instruction. Labs are always a problem. How to make them thoughtful places, where students enjoy a sense (not of working from a cookbook but) of exploration, of participating in an ancient and honorable enterprise where knowledge, curiosity, inventiveness, skill and even "art" combine and reenforce each other? The authors, in their introductory pages, touch upon such issues, and write very usefully also about error analysis, graphical analysis and curve fitting, how to write up one's results, the "responsibility of the experimentalist" and much else of value. They then discuss, theoretically and procedurally, twenty-two experiments which might be undertaken by moderately advanced undergraduates. A set of eight appendices supply interesting and important collateral material. Not all faculty will be in position to adopt this labbook, but all will profit from close study of the model it provides. (NW) Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)