Let's make nice things

If a tree falls in the forest...

If science is done and no one knows about it...

We have to communicate our work as scientists. When it comes times to write a paper that shares your glorious scientific achievements with the world, there are some conventions that your audience expects. If you deviate significantly from those, you run the risk of not having your voice heard (or not getting the job, or paper accepted, etc).

So, in physics, the defualt method for document prepartion involves using the typesetting framework Latex. (often written as $\LaTeX$ and pronounced LAY-tek.) It differs from Word and Google Docs in that you are really writing a small computer program that gets interpreted by a Latex compiler, which then produces the final output.

Nearly everything you would see on the (arXiv) is prepared using Latex. (The arXive is a place where physicists and astronomers share their work)

An easy way to get started is by using Overleaf (https://www.overleaf.com/) , a free online, browswer based Latex compiler.

We looked at the simple document I made that has a few of the important parts of a lab report: words/math/figures/references.

Here is the raw latex code that I used. (It will work if you copy and paste the code below into a new overleaf project, expect you need to supply your own figure)



  \documentclass{article}
  \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
  \usepackage{graphicx}
  \usepackage{geometry}

  \geometry{letterpaper, margin=1in}

  \title{Lab Report}
  \author{Dr. James Hedberg }
  \date{October 18, 2021}

  \begin{document}

  \maketitle

  \begin{abstract}
  What happens when objects fall?
  \end{abstract}

  \section{Introduction}

  A ball is falling in free fall with an acceleration value of $g=9.8$ m/s\textsuperscript{2}

  \section{The Best Physics}

  We can calculate the velocity at a time $t$ by using:
  \begin{equation}
      v(t) = g t
  \end{equation}
  Integrating this result to obtain the position:

  \begin{equation}
      y = g \int_0^t t \; dt = \frac{1}{2}gt^2
  \end{equation}

  \begin{figure}[htp]
      \centering
      \includegraphics[width=10cm]{figures/example-plot.png}
      \caption{A plot of a ball falling with constant acceleration}
      \label{fig:freefall}
  \end{figure}



  As we see in figure \ref{fig:freefall}, the velocity is a linear line while the position is a parabolic curve, as expected\cite{newton1}.



  \begin{thebibliography}{9}

  \bibitem{newton1}
  Newton, Isaac \emph{Principia - The mathematical principles of natural philosophy.}, 1687.

  \end{thebibliography}

  \end{document}



The above code will create the following document when compiled.

And, it's of course readily downloadable as a pdf file: Lab Report Example PDF