PC141 -- Mechanics for Life Sciences Laboratory

Lab Tools and Learning Materials

All of the information for these labs and all of the available electronic resources are on the lab website. I've tried to make it as complete as possible, so that you only have to look in one place for anything relevant to the labs. If you find any other resources that are particularly useful, let me know.

Course Description:
Prerequisites: none
Lab Instructor: Dr. Hasan Shodiev
Office: N2091
Ext: 3165
Office Hours: by appointment
Enrollment: no more than 22 per lab section  
Learning Objectives: By the end of this course, you should be able to:
  • State the precision measure of analog and digital meauring instruments
  • Identify sources of systematic error
  • Place bounds on the sizes of systematic errors and predict their effects
  • Identify sources of random error
  • Calculate uncertainies in repeated measurements and determine the optimal number of trials for a given instrument
  • Determine the uncertainties in final results, and identify how much of the total uncertainty is due to each of the measured quantities
  • Identify whether or not quantities agree within their uncertainties
  • Suggest ways to improve an experiment, based on uncertainties
  • Write a professional lab report, incorporating all of the items above
Lab Overview and Approach/Framework: In the lab component of a course most of your learning will happen through your hands-on experiences in the lab. The videos and other on-line documents have been chosen to give you the background you will need to prepare you for the labs.

The labs are the hands-on portion of the course. When leaving the laboratory ensure that your work area is left tidy and clean.

Students will work with partners. If you would prefer to work on your own, this is permissible if there are enough laboratory stations. The lab instructor should be informed of any reason for absence, such as illness, as soon as possible. Marks will be taken off for absence with no reasons.

For safety and hygiene reasons, absolutely no food or drinks are allowed in the lab. The lab should be kept tidy at all times. Please read and submit the Laboratory Safety Form.

The Lab Instructor will make alternate arrangements in case of equipment failure, holidays, illness, etc.

Lab work builds upon previous work: if you fall behind, you stay behind, so keep on top of things. If you are taking too much time to do your work, then you didn't understand something, you didn't remember something, or you don't know how to handle a tool. Get help immediately!

Labs start the first week of classes

Attendance is taken at all lab sessions.


At the end of this course you will get a detailed, anonymous evaluation to fill out, where you can indicate your opinion on many aspects of the labs. This is one of the most important resources to help me improve the labs each time I teach them.
Web Page: http://denethor.wlu.ca/pc141/
Student Evaluation: There are different types of assessment that will happen in this course;
  • online quizzes to review important concepts from the labs
  • exercises that introduce you to lab skills and techniques
  • a lab report that brings all of your knowledge together in order to answer a real world question (or questions)
  • lab test which summarizes all of the important concepts from the labs


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