In Figure: Prepared equipment for laboratory workshop realization in remote conditions (photo: Toms Grīnbergs, UL DCI).

At the end of the last year,  University of Latvia (UL), Physics, Mathematics and Optometrics faculty (FPMO) Physics department announced good news - perennial patron “Mikrotīkls” LLC has accepted the funding of supplementing technical equipment for the General physics workshop with devices which would enable the students to make remote physics laboratory work much more convenient.     As the spring semester begins, the new equipment is almost entirely purchased and can be proceed to the physics students, and it can help them to carry out laboratory workshops in remote conditions. 

The aim of “Development of physics practical studies based on modern educational principles” project is to adjust UL FPMO physics laboratory workshops, to provide for students its realization also during the remote study process. 

To realize the aim, the patron has allocated almost EUR 15 000, gratitude to patron, FPMO Physics department General physics division purchased 32 iOLab devices and 16 web cameras. Soon laptop computers will also complement the available range of technical equipment. 

IoLab devices are equipped with many different sensors (e.g. magnetometer, 3D accelerometer, light sensor, force sensor, displacement measurer), giving the opportunity to make measurements remotely and export the data on the computer. Adding to this, these devices provide the opportunity to analyse the data and manipulate with the results. The acquired iOLab facilities will be issued to UL FPMO students for use in home, thereby enabling them to independently perform measurements and their results discuss in online consultation with the docent – the head of laboratory’s workshop. 

Physics department lecturer, the head of laboratory workshops for 1’st year bachelor’s study programme “Physics” students, Elīna Pavloska tells that so far providing laboratory workshops in remote conditions has been a major challenge: “There were not enough available devices, to enable students to perform experiments on their own, that is why work were limited to demonstrations and use of simulators available on the Internet.” Pavloska explains that iOLab deviced in the format of remote studies, provide students with a unique opportunity to acquire experimental skills without being in the laboratory, for example by experimenting and after that assuring about different principles of electricity and magnetism. 

The lecturer added that work carried out in this format also have their own advantages: “Students develop the ability to work and deal with problems independently and also, at a time when we cannot meet, enable them opportunity to communicate more not only with each other but with professors as well” the physicist says. 

The purchased web cameras will be used for online demonstration of laboratory workshops that cannot be performed outside the laboratory. The laboratory workshop lecturer will perform the work of the laboratory in the rooms of physics, and students will have the opportunity to watch it in a good quality when they are at a computer in their home. 

The head of the General physics division practicum, Lolita Podiņa, says with a humour that, like confectioner, it is impossible to become, without producing any cakes, a physicist cannot be a real physicist who has not performed any physical experiments and measurements with their own hands. “We are therefore pleased and grateful that, through the donation of the LU Foundation and “Mikrotīkls” LLC, we can allow students not only to read or hear the laws of physics, but also to feel them personally; by doing full research with the new devices, even now when there is no possibility to work for a long time on-site in learning laboratories.” 

The equipment purchased during the project will be used annually by around 500 students. The majority of these will be students in the Bachelor 's Physics programme, but also UL Faculties of Medical, Chemical, Biology, Business, Management and Economics students who undertake a physics course. 

The equipment, which will be acquired from UL Foundation's and "Mikrotīkls" LLC's supported project "Develpoment of physics practical studies based on modern educational principles" will also be possible to make a successful use in-site study process.The project realization will be completed on 30th of June 2021.


About the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometrics 

UL Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optometrics is a basic academic unit of UL, which was established to provide academic activities for the following science industries: physics, astronomy and math.   

About patron “Mikrotīkls”  

UL Foundation platinum patron “Mikrotīkls” LLC is a company, which develops MikroTik RouterOS software and manufactures RouterBoard devices with the goal to provide accessible, powerful and easy-to-use network management tools for a wide range of users. “Mikrotīkls” LLC has been a patron of UL since 2011. They have made more than 2 million euros of donations in total.  

About the University of Latvia Foundation  

Since 2004, the UL Foundation provides an opportunity to patrons and cooperation partners to support both the University of Latvia and other leading higher education institutions of our country, thereby investing in the future of Latvia. The priorities of the UL Foundation are to support the most outstanding, dedicated students and researchers, to advance creation of a modern study environment, as well as to promote construction and refurbishment of university’s buildings.  



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