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How Do I ... ?

Succeed Here at HMC?

Take a tip from fellow students who have done well here. See what they have to say about their approach to work and play at Harvey Mudd on the Student Tips Page.

Solve Physics Problems?

Proper problem-solving skills can save you time in developing a solution to a problem and can help make your solution communicate more effectively to others. Here's some tips on solving problems effectively.

Plot and Analyze Data?

Many tools are available, but two of the most popular are Kaleidagraph for the Macintosh and Origin for Windows. Both programs allow you to load data saved in various text and other formats, paste data from the clipboard, enter data directly, plot the data, and perform least-squares fits to a model of your devising. For detailed instructions, see the Kaleidagraph for Macintosh Page, the Origin 4.0 for Windows Page, or the Origin 3.5 for Windows Page. Try the guided exercise to help you learn how to use these programs.

Use the Computer to Perform Symbolic Math?

Many resources are available, including a site license for Maple and several keyed copies of Mathematica. For help with Maple, see the Math Department's Maple Pages. For help with a tough integral, try the Online Integral Calculator.

Also check out this nifty units calculator written for a CS60 project.

Write a Technical Report?

The heart of a technical report is a figure of data and analysis, usually in the form of a fit to the data, that either argues for or against the theory. Until you have the heart, it is inefficient to start the report. Once you have that figure or figures, you can write the report, which serves to motivate the experiment, explain what is shown on the figure, and also what the analysis yields. More help can be found in the MS Word and LaTeX report templates available for download here:

For help with LaTeX, check out The Mudd LaTeX FAQ.

Keep a LabNotebook?

Having trouble keeping a lab notebook or figuring out what physics lab is all about? Consider these suggestions to help you succeed in laboratory courses.

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Copyright © 2002 Harvey Mudd College Physics Department
This page was last modified on Thu, Sep 12, 2002.