An alternative speed of light measurement experiment for a senior physics laboratory

Parisi, A. V. and Mottram, K. and Kimlin, M. G. and Wilson, M. and Wollstein, A. (1999) An alternative speed of light measurement experiment for a senior physics laboratory. Australian Science Teachers' Journal, 45 (4). pp. 51-53. ISSN 0045-0855

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A simple, time-of-flight experiment utilising readily available equipment is described for use in a senior school Physics laboratory. A modulated laser is employed with measurements, taken over a number of distances. Students obtain a conceptual understanding for the extremely high, but measurable speed of light. The technique of eliminating an unknown constant by making more than one measurement is also introduced. Additionally, students are introduced to the concepts of optics, measurement of very small time intervals, modulation of lasers, waveform generation, fast detectors and data processing.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited with Publisher's permission.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:37
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2013 00:04
Uncontrolled Keywords: light; speed; school science experiment; lasers
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090605 Photodetectors, Optical Sensors and Solar Cells
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
02 Physical Sciences > 0205 Optical Physics > 020502 Lasers and Quantum Electronics
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences

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