Course Syllabus

PHYS 2025: Fall 2018

General Physics Laboratory with a Life Science Focus



Instructor:  Prof. Claudia De Grandi

Teaching Assistants:

Jason May (Head TA) (

Isaac Brown

Learning Assistants:

Sean Johnson

Jared Potter

Mica Sloan

Credit hours: 1

Course website:

Location: Crocker Science Center room 022 (basement)


  • Friday, August 31st: Last day to add or drop (delete) the course
  • Friday, October 19th: Last day to withdraw from the course
  • Thursday, December 6th: Last day of class

Meeting Times:

Lab Section Meeting Times
2025-001 Th. 10:45AM-1:45PM
2025-002 Th. 6:00PM-9:00PM
2025-003 Fri. 10:45AM-1:45PM

Weekly Schedule:

Week Monday Date Lab Activity
1 8/20 Lab Intro
2 8/27 Lab 6A: Fluid Flow and Dynamics
3 9/3

Lab 6B: Fluid Flow and Dynamics

Lab 6 Report Due

4 9/10 Lab 7A: Electrophoresis and Charge Screening
5 9/17

Lab 7B:Electrophoresis and Charge Screening

Lab 7 Report Due

6 9/24 Lab 8A:  Spectroscopy
7 10/1

Lab 8B: Spectroscopy

Lab 8 Report Due

8 10/8 Off
9 10/15 Lab 9A: Chlorophyll Fluorescence
10 10/22

Lab 9B: Chlorophyll Fluorescence

Lab 9 Report Due

11 10/28 Lab 10A: Axon Transmission
12 11/5 Lab 10B: Axon Transmission
13 11/12

Lab 10C: Axon Transmission

Lab 10 Report Due

14 11/19 Off
15 11/26 Make-up Lab
16 12/3 Off





























Goals and Objectives: In this course, you will learn how physics principles can be used to explore and explain biological systems.  This is the second semester of a two-semester lab sequence that includes PHYS 2015 and PHYS 2025.  These course are loosely associated with the corresponding lecture courses (PHYS 2010 and 2020), which must be taken prior to or at the same time as the lab courses, but we make no explicit attempt to synchronize the topics between the lecture and laboratory courses. 

PHYS 2025 generally covers Newtonian fluid dynamics, electrophoresis, biological material spectroscopy, fluorescence, nervous system electrical signaling, etc. You will utilize the relevant physics principles to engage in authentic scientific practices during weekly laboratory sessions.  You will work in groups to develop your own investigations to answer particular scientific questions.  You will also learn how to quantify the certainty of your results and conclusions, how to justify your assumptions and experimental method, and how to communicate your results and arguments to others. 

Expectations for Students:  Attendance in laboratory sessions is required and you are expected to arrive on time if not early for your section each week.  You should prepare before arriving for your session by completing all pre-lab readings and assignments.  During your weekly lab sessions, you are expected to actively participate with your group members to develop, pursue, document and communicate your investigations.  You are expected to be respectful of all students in the course and also your teaching and learning assistants.

Grading:  There are no exams for this course – your grade will be determined by your group lab reports, individual participation, and completion of pre-lab readings and assignments. Below, you can find more specific information about how your final score will be tabulated and the approximate grade thresholds - please note, I reserve the right to make these thresholds more generous at the end of the semester, but I will not make them more difficult.

Category Percent of Final Score   Final Score Grade
Lab 6 report 15% >93% A
Lab 7 report 15% >90% A-
Lab 8 report 15% >87% B+
Lab 9 report 15% >83% B
Lab 10 report 20% >80% B-
Pre-lab assignments 10% >77% C+
Participation in class 10% >73% C
>70% C-
>60% D
<60% E

Course Material: All the relevant course material will be posted on the course site, no additional textbook is required. 

Honesty and Respect: Cheating of any assignment is a very serious violation of University rules and is unethical. Students caught cheating will receive a failing grade for the course and will be sent to the University Disciplinary Committee for further action.  All teaching assistants and learning assistants are to be considered proxies for the instructor – you should listen to them and treat them with respect at all times. 

Office Hours:  You can meet with Prof. De Grandi by appointment. These may be granted very promptly but immediate meetings cannot be guaranteed.  I will be present for part of all or most lab sessions but will likely not be there for the entire period.  I am best reached by e-mail, not by phone. I check e-mail many times during the day and will respond promptly whenever possible.

Student Code:  All students and faculty need to be aware of provisions in the Student Code relevant to this course. Students have 20 business days to appeal grades and other "academic actions" (e.g., results of comprehensive exams). The date that grades are posted on the web is considered the date of notification. A "business day" is every day the University is open for business, excluding weekends and University-recognized holidays. If the student cannot get a response from the faculty member after ten days of reasonable efforts to contact him or her, the student may appeal to the department chair if done within 40 days of being notified of the academic action. Students should definitely document their efforts to contact a faculty member.

Similarly, faculty members who discover or receive a complaint of academic misconduct (e.g., cheating, plagiarism) have 20 business days to "make reasonable efforts" to contact the student and discuss the alleged misconduct. Within 10 more business days the faculty member must give the student written notice of the sanction, if any, and the student's right to appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee of the College of Science.

All students and faculty members are urged to consult the exact text of the Student Code if a relevant situation arises. The code is on the University web site at

University Policies:

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act. The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, (801) 581-5020. CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All written information in this course can be made available in an alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services.
  2. Addressing Sexual Misconduct. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender (which Includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression) is a civil rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, color, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, veteran’s status or genetic information.  If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you are encouraged to report it to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 135 Park Building, 801-581-8365, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building, 801-581-7066.  For support and confidential consultation, contact the Center for Student Wellness, 426 SSB, 801-581-7776.  To report to the police, contact the Department of Public Safety, 801-585-2677(COPS).

Course Summary:

Date Details Due