22455 - Lab-based Course on Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to probability and statistics useful in the analysis of experimental data. Students are expected to be able to correctly measure physical quantities, analyse data taken during laboratory sessions and write short reports.

Course contents

The measure of physical quantities

the experimental method; the International System (SI) of units; the experimental uncertanties (statistical and systematic errors); the Gauss distribution; the maximum likelihood method for the estimation of the parameters of a distribution; linear fits; rejection of data; the Student distribution; confidence intervals and confidence levels; the chi2 test.

Introduction to data acquisition based on electronic devices and personal computer

sensors and transducers; analog and digital signals; resolution, amplification, code width.

Laboratory sessions

sample of data extracted from a Gaussian population and best gaussian fit; calibration of a thermocouple and best linear fit; conservation of momentum and of angular momentum; measure of the specific heat of copper; measure of the ratio of molar heats of air; measure of the Boltzmann constant with a Perrin-like experiments.


P. Fornasini "The uncertainty in physical measurements" Springer.

A. Filipponi "Introduzione alla fisica" Zanichelli.

J. R. Tayor "Introduzione all'analisi degli errori" (seconda edizione)

Teaching methods

Lectures and laboratory sessions.

Assessment methods

Written and oral examinations.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Cuffiani

See the website of Sara Valentinetti

See the website of Silvia Arcelli

See the website of Sylvie Braibant

See the website of Maria Clelia Righi