Subject: Experimental Sciences

Scientific Area:

Scientific, Cultural, Social and Ethical Formation


80 Hours

Number of ECTS:

7,5 ECTS



Overall objectives:

1 - Develop scientific literacy.
2 - Incentive the observation and analysis of the real world from a quantitative point of view.
3 - Master the laboratory methodology.
4 - Organize a laboratory notebook.
5 - Learn the theoretical and experimental background on the measurement of physical quantities.
6 - Quantify the uncertainty in direct and indirect experimental measurements.
7 - Develop the ability to plan experimental research.
8 - Analyze experimental data by calculation and graphical representation.
9 - Develop the ability to draw valid conclusions from experimental data.
10 - Understand the importance of a model in the scientific process.
11 - Acquire the basic tools needed to write an experimental scientific article.


1 - The laboratory notebook. Order of magnitude. Absolute and relative variation. Percentage.
2 - Direct proportionality and linearity. Inverse proportionality. The ruler, the calliper and the micrometer.
3 - SI units. Calculations with units.
4 - Basic statistics. Sample and population. Mean, weighted mean, standard deviation, standard error of the mean. Histogram. Normal distribution.
5 - Data sampling. Error theory. Sampling and device error estimates. The multimeter.
6 - The measurement device. Device resolution. Calibration. Sensitivity. Response time.
7 - The oscilloscope. Sequential data acquisition. Embedded system.
8 - Data processing. Error propagation. Significant figures.
9 - Graphical representation of data. Linear and logarithmic scales.
10 - Least squares method linear regression. Ohm's law. Archimedes principle.
11 - Exponential regression. Data linearization. Capacitor discharge.
12 - Power regression. RLC circuit. Inverse square law.
13 - Writing an experimental scientific article.


Box, G. E. P., Hunter, J. S., Hunter, W. G. , 2005 , Statistics for Experimenters:Design, Innovation, and Discovery , Wiley
Fraden, J. , 2004 , Handbook of modern sensors: physics, designs, and applications , Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.
Bevington, P., Robinson ,D. K. , 2002 , Data Reduction and Error Analysis for The Physical Sciences , McGraw-Hill Higher Education
Almeida, G. , 2002 , Sistema internacional de unidades (SI) , Plátano Editora, S. A.
Blum, J. , 2013 , Exploring Arduino , Wiley
Abreu, M. C., Matias, L., Peralta, L. , 1994 , Física Experimental - Uma Introdução , Editorial Presença
Preston, D. W. , 1985 , Experiments in physics - A laboratory manual for scientists and engineers , John Wiley & Sons
Preston, D. W., Dietz, E. R. , 1991 , The Art of Experimental Physics , John Wiley & Sons
Squires, G. L. , 2001 , Practical Physics , Cambridge University Press
Taylor, J. R , 1996 , An Introduction to Error Analysis:The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements , University Science Books

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
Execution of complete lab experiments. Theoretical and practical lectures on experimental data processing in the computer science lab. Online problem solving with real time feedback during TP classes and during independent study time. Grading of the written component: 3 quizzes taken on a computer terminal. The first two are multiple choice, closed-book and without wrong answer penalties. The last is an open lab notebook quiz. It consists of completing a scientific article from experimental data. Grading of the lab component: 1 or 2 lab tests (second is optional). The lab test consists of direct measurement of physical quantities. During the appeal period a maximum of 2 quizzes (out of the 3 quizzes) may be repeated. The final grade is obtained from an equally weighted mean between the written and lab components.