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an elementary knowledge of experimental work in Physics, desire to become acquainted with the principles and methods of accurate measurement. The large and increasing number of students, who have to be taught simultaneously in a Physical Laboratory, renders it necessary that the instructions supplied should be fairly complete; and that the exercises should be of such a nature as to enable the teachers easily to check the accuracy of the results obtained. The exercises described in this volume have been worked through by several hundred students of this University who were preparing for the ordinary degree of B.Sc., and the experience thus gained has been utilised to improve the descriptions and methods adopted. It is hoped therefore that the volume will also prove useful in other laboratories.
We have not aimed at completeness, being convinced that a student learns more by carefully working through a few selected and typical exercises, than by hurrying through a large number, which are often but slight modifications of each other.
The guiding principle we have adopted in our teaching has been to attach greater importance to neat and accurate work, properly recorded, than to the number of experiments which a student performs. All Note-books are carefully kept, no slovenly work is allowed to pass, and each exercise is repeated until satisfactory results have been obtained.
A student will naturally devote the greater portion of the time spent in the laboratory to measurements and quantitative work, but qualitative experiments should not be excluded. In certain parts of the subject, as for instance in Physical Optics, the educational value of setting up the apparatus and observing the general character of the effects produced is considerable, and such observations form a very useful complement to the quantitative exercises given in this book.
We have endeavoured-to confine the apparatus required to that commonly found in laboratories. It is not necessary that the instruments used should be identical with those described. Students should be able to introduce the slight modifications in the manipulation rendered necessary by some small differences in the apparatus. Where the differences are likely to be material, detailed descriptions have usually been omitted, and in such cases a written explanation should be supplied to the student with the instrument to be used.