Share the Physics Lab joy

by Janie Jones

This is what I had to build in physics lab yesterday:

circuit diagram

This is supposed to represent a circuit diagram.  Each little dome shape was a light bulb.  The bottom with the angled bit sticking out and down was the switch.  The open bit on the left with a small and large perpendicular line on either side was the battery connection.

With me so far?

So, we were given a packet of various configurations of the above and tests to make with voltmeters and ammeters inserted in the diagrams at various points.  This was a series of 1 bulb and two parallel bulbs.  I found it the most complicated to figure out how to build.

But Janie, you might well think, what’s so hard about making that?

You see, we were also given a large assortment of wires, little light bulbs, a switch and a battery pack.  Some of the wires had little alligator clips on the ends.  Some had metal rod things.  Some had one of each.  But other than a set of diagrams and an assortment of doo-daddery, there was not a stitch of instructions given on how to put all this stuff together.  Neither myself nor my other two partners had any experience with this sort of equipment, so it was quite a circus act trying to figure out how rectangular boxes related to wires and light bulbs.

It was a bit fun once we got over the initial WTF? moment of how to manipulate the equipment.  Surprisingly, none of us got electrocuted.  And as we are in general a rather highly educated, intelligent bunch, we got it figured out.  Mostly.  We did run out of class time before we finished it all, and I’m still glad I’m not an electrical engineering major; I have to spend this afternoon doing calculations with the data we collected from our voltmeter and ammeter readings.


2 Comments to “Share the Physics Lab joy”

  1. Don’t worry Janie, it gets way more complex and annoying from there. Just wait for the resistors, transformers, diodes and transistors to show up.

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