Physics is our human attempt to explain the workings of the world. The success of that attempt is evident in the technology of our society. You have already developed your own physical theories to understand the world around you. Some of these ideas are consistent with accepted theories of physics while others are not. This laboratory manual is designed, in part, to help you recognize where your ideas agree with those accepted by physics and where they do not. It is also designed to help you become a better physics problem solver.
You are presented with contemporary physical theories in lecture and in your textbook. In the laboratory you will apply the theories to real-world problems by comparing your application of those theories with reality. You will clarify your ideas by: answering questions and solving problems before you come to the lab; performing experiments and having discussions with classmates in the lab; and writing lab reports after you leave. Each laboratory has a set of problems that ask you to make decisions about the real world. As you work through the problems in this laboratory manual, remember the goal is not to make lots of measurements. The goal is to examine your ideas about the real world.