Thank Heavens for Short Physics Labs

I’ve already talked about how much I liked Physics II labs in comparison to the Physics I labs I had to take freshman year. Good grief, I hated Physics I labs. However, the first few Physics II labs weren’t a stroll in the park either. More often than not, the labs spanned the entire three hours, especially when we were working with circuits.

However, now that we’ve moved past circuits and moved on to optics, things have gotten a lot smoother. Smoother than a…anyway, they’ve gone really well. Not only have they gone by faster (1-2 hours at most), but I feel like I actually understand what’s going on.

One of the most recent labs involved converging lenses, and how we could build a miniature, ghetto telescope in the lab. The diagram of what we constructed looked something like this.

converging lens

The object, D, is illuminated with a light source. Then, we determine a focal length for one lens, place it at the determined distance, and then look at the image through that lens with another lens. Kind of like two lenses on either end of a telescope. The first lens flips the image, and the second one magnifies it. By flipping the image, I mean it’s flipped right-side up, as images travelling through a converging lens are upside down. Our eyeballs are an example. Our brain just flips those images again so that we see the world right side up. pretty cool stuff.


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