Laborpraktika für D-MAVT (Studienreglement MAVT-BSc10)

Auf dieser Seite finden Sie alle Informationen zum Physikpraktikum des D-MAVT mit dem "Studienreglement MAVT-BSc10" (Link zum Eintrag im Vorlesungsverzeichnis hier). Bitte lesen Sie die Informationen auf dieser Seite aufmerksam durch. Bei Fragen oder Unklarheiten können Sie uns jederzeit per Mail kontaktieren.


  • Einführungs-VL: Siehe allgemeine Informationen zum Laborpaktikum des D-MAVT
  • Mittwochs: 28.2.2024 - 29.5.2024, jeweils 8:00 - 11:45


Eine generelle Einführung zu den Laborpraktika wird vom D-MAVT organisiert. Die Regeln, welche für die Laborpraktika des D-PHYS gelten, sind auf dieser Seite zu finden. Folien dazu finden Sie in diesem PDF.
Wir erwarten, dass Sie die Informationen selbstständig durchlesen und verstehen. Ebenso müssen Sie sich mit der Fehlerrechnung und dem Berichteschreiben befassen. Dazu haben wir umfangreiches Material auf der Seite Berichte zur Verfügung gestellt.


Das Praktikum findet im H-, J- und K-Stock des HPP-Gebäudes statt. Der Helpdesk befindet sich im HPP J 14.

Detaillierte Informationen zu den Laborpraktika des D-PHYS (English)

General Structure

You will perform at least 4 experiments offered by D-PHYS. The experiments can be chosen freely, and the date at which you want to perform the experiments as well (we offer two half-days, see below).

During each half-day that you spend in the lab, you will perform one experiment in a group of two. You have to prepare for the experiment in advance, and you will document your steps and settings during the experiment. The measured data have to be analysed, including an estimation of their uncertainties. In the end, you have to write a report summarizing and discussing the most important data and results.

You have to sign up for an experiment at least 2 days (=48 hrs) in advance. You do this online via our Webtool. Use your nETHZ-credentials to log in.

Since you have to conduct the experiment and write the report as a group of two, register together with a colleague of yours and agree on which experiments you want to perform when.

Signing up for an Experiment

Signing up for an experiment happens online via our Webtool. Lab space reservation will be enabled in the first week of the semester. Enrollment via myStudies is not necessary. Keep in mind that there is a 48-hour deadline to register or de-register for experiments.


After you successfully registered for an experiment, you have to thoroughly prepare yourself. Start by carefully reading the manual, and eventually further documents (available on the physics lab web page). The manual gives an overview of the underlying physical context. This is followed by a list of the tasks and a detailed description of how to carry out the experiment with the setup.

Please make sure you know what you want to measure, how you measure it, and what results you expect from the measurements! It is a well-known secret that you will probably not discover some new laws of physics in the lab course. Rather, you will measure effects and quantities that have been measured many times before and are well-known. Thus, it is all the more important that you know how the expected results should look like. That way you avoid performing long measurement chains without noticing that something is wrong (e.g. forgot to turn on a heater, read the wrong scale, ...).

Summary and formulary
Besides reading the manual, every single student is requested to bring her or his own summary of the experiment. This means you may not write the summary together with your colleague, nor are you allowed to copy passages from somewhere else.

Plagiarism is a serious offense and not tolerated at ETH. Familiarize yourself about plagiarism. This also applies for the written report!

The focus of the summary should be put on the experimental procedure, i.e., try to answer questions like “What will be measured, and how?” or “Why do we need to measure that quantity?”. The theoretical background is of minor importance for the summary. Additionally, you also have to compile a formulary, where all the important and necessary formulas are listed. Do not forget the formulas which you need for the error propagation. Having a good and complete formulary will save you a lot of time. A sample summary can be found on the physics lab website.

Before you start with your experiment, there has to be a small discussion with the assistant where you might be asked some basic questions to your experiment. Of course, if you do have questions or are not sure whether you understood everything correctly, then please ask the assistant. To goal of a thorough preparation is not to increase the work load for you. On contrary, you will be more efficient during the experiment, thus you profit more and the risk for frustrating experiences is smaller.
If an assistant has reasons to think you are not prepared well, she/he is advised to send you home and you have to come back at another day!

Conducting an Experiment

Before you start with a measurement, make sure you know the apparatus and its parts. In case you doubt – the assistant is the first person to ask. Make sure you know about the safety issues of your experiment. What could potentially be dangerous? Which step is critical? Do you know how to safely operate the apparatus?

After you are confident how to perform the experiment, you carry out the steps as described in the manual. It is not allowed to misuse the apparatus for other purposes than the manual suggests, and no modifications must be made without the explicit consent of the assistant. All electrical circuits have to be checked by the assistant before you turn them on. This is to protect you, as well as the equipment.

Again – think before you do! Some experiments take a while until they reach equilibrium, or you have to perform several consecutive measurements. Do not waste your time in the lab waiting for something to cool down because you turned on the heating too early!


Learning how to write scientific reports is a tedious and time-consuming task. You will not have time to write a complete report within the physics lab, because you are assigned only about 6 hrs per experiments (2 ECTS = 60 hrs for 10 Laborpraktika). However, we nevertheless ask you to write a short report on the experiment you performed. The report should ideally be completed within the 4 hours you spend in the lab, and needs the following content:
  • Summary and formulary (2x)
  • Short description of the setup and measurement procedure (1x)
  • (if required) plots and figures (1x)
  • Data analysis (1x)
  • Error calculation (1x)
  • Short discussion: compare and discuss your results with expected results, and critically reflect the experiment in general
The report will be accepted by the supervising assistant, if it is formally complete. This means that you hand in all the content listed above, and your performance in the lab was satisfying.

The report will then be corrected and graded by the assistant. The grade only serves as a feedback and is not communicated to anybody outside the lab course team. This means that you will pass the experiment (and thus get the testat for this experiment) even if you have an insufficient grade. It is therefore not necessary to correct your report, however, the assistants will gladly accept an improved version and correct it again!

On the course website about reports, you find useful information about statistics and error propagation, about the minimal requirements for a report, or we give you a template in LaTeX, a popular typesetting program.

Your report, although it is short, should resemble already a “real” scientific report. This means that you should try to avoid casual language, indicate uncertainties on all measured and calculated numbers, only cite significant digits, and label graphs properly. The teaching assistant can assist and guide you, do not hesitate to ask. However, we expect that you have a look at the material regarding reports we provide you.



In general "everything is safe" in the physics lab. Nevertheless, certain rules must be obeyed. Knowledge of "safety in the lab" is part of the training, and not a chicane. Keep in mind that safety is about YOU, in order that nothing happens to YOU. Thus, even if certain measures seem exaggerated to you - it is better to put on protective goggles too many times than splashing chemicals in your eyes.

Before you are allowed to perform the experiments you have to thoroughly read the slides of our safety introduction. The linked PDF summarizes the most basic points of "Safety in the laboratory".

Each time you register for an experiment, you have to accept the general terms and conditions (GTC) in the webtool. With this you confirm that you:

  • Have read all the information on this page and on the slides of the safety introduction
  • Have understood all the information you have read
  • Will follow the rules and guidelines

Otherwise you are not allowed to perform any experiments! In case of doubts or if something is unclear, please contact the helpdesk (HPP J 14) or any assistant.

The document Risk Assessment summarizes for every experiment in the lab course the possible risks and dangers, and shows how to mitigate them. It is recommended to read this document before an experiment.