Over a thousand people work in the Blackett Laboratory and a set of rules, regulations and procedures is essential to allow this to happen smoothly and safely.  The complete rules – covering, for instance, laser safety, the use of radioactive sources, computer misuse, fire escapes etc, – are far too long to set out here, so only a summary follows. You can find more detail on the Departmental Safety page.

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The Department is open, with unhindered access, on weekdays from 8 am until 5.30 pm.  You may use the building until 11 pm on weekdays and at weekends, but will need your ID card to get in or out and to identify yourself to the security staff if challenged.  You will be required to sign in and out after 5.30 pm so we know who is in the building in case of an emergency.  The Computer Suite on Level 3 is accessible until 10 pm, and you can use the study areas on Levels 1 & 2 when the Department is open.  The Central Library has extended opening hours if you plan to work late. You may not use the Physics Department Labs without having both permission and someone else present in case of accidents. If you are in the Department after 5.30 pm for security reasons, DO NOT let others use your ID card to get in.


When you arrive you will be given talks about safety, and receive a copy of the Department’s safety rules.  Many of these are common sense - don’t look into lasers; electronic devices don’t mix with coffee nor sandwiches with solvents, so no food or drink in the labs.  If you hear the fire alarm sounding, leave the building.  The general rule is that you are not only expected to heed safety advice but that you are also required to do something (usually to seek advice) if you think you are at risk; being passive is not enough. 

The College safety page can be found here: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/safety

Facilities Management have their own section on Health & Safety.

Personal Conduct

We all want the Physics Department to be a pleasant and safe place in which to work.  You are expected to conduct yourself sensibly and to show consideration for others at all times.  Violent, aggressive, drunken, destructive or other undesirable behaviour can be met by a fine or suspension. This includes sexist, racist, homophobic or similar behaviour.

Registration and ID cards

College requires you to register at the start of each year of your degree.  Registry will send you details of how to do this online in advance of arrival. College ID cards will be handed out in halls of accommodation on arrival, or in the Department during the first week of term.

Absences, illness, mitigating circumstances form

If you miss a Laboratory Session, Tutorial, Seminar or a similar activity because you have the flu or suffer some disabling injury, you should contact the person leading that activity as soon as possible.  Where contact is difficult, report to the Unergraduate Education Manager or Senior Tutor, who will see that your Tutor and/or Head of Laboratory are informed.  If you are absent for up to a week, an informal report is sufficient.  This is known as a “minor mitigating circumstance” and can be completed online.  If you are away for more than a week, a medical certificate should be supplied.

Where illness or other circumstances affect examinations or other assessments, you are required to complete a mitigating circumstances form. This should be supported by appropriate documentation.  A medical certificate is essential where illness affects an exam – telling someone afterwards is not sufficient.  Contact the Undergraduate Education Manager or Senior Tutor if a problem arises on the day of an exam. See the mitigating circumstances page for more information.

Communication and Information

Urgent communications with you will be primarily by email.  You should check your College email address at least twice a day.  If you prefer to use another e-mail address you can and should arrange for any mail sent to your College address to be forwarded.  If mail arrives in the Department for you, you will be sent an email telling you where you can collect it. Information of general interest (eg. timetables) is posted on the notice boards opposite the Student Admin Office on Level 3.  The Departmental Teaching Website has a wide range of information, including forms, timetables, staff lists etc, whilst course materials are available electronically through Blackboard.  You will quickly find displays and other notice boards used by other bodies (eg. PhySoc, the Student Union, Careers) on Levels 2 & 3.

You can also download Imperial Mobile - the mobile application that enables you to access College information and services anytime, anywhere.


Most lockers for undergraduate students are located on Level 0, with a few more on Level 1. You may choose a vacant locker and should supply your own padlock. You will need to make a note of the locker number and register with your name in the Student Admin Office. It is important to empty your locker by the end of the academic year. Be warned: over the summer, any remaining padlocks will be removed and the locker contents disposed of.


When you arrive at Imperial, you will need to activate your computer account. College computers are designated for College work only; you will have signed your acceptance of the conditions of use of the College’s computer system when you registered as a student. Offensive computer use – spoofing, spamming, hacking, trashing, pirating etc. - is dealt with on three levels: minor misuse can bring a fine of up to £100, whilst serious misuse (for instance the transmission of material that is racist or obscene, or harassment of individuals) will lead to the disciplinary tribunal, a large fine, and possible withdrawal of facilities. As the College’s statement on computer misuse says: “Serious cases may lead to expulsion or dismissal from the College and may involve civil or criminal action being taken against the User.” Serious and criminal misuse are very rare; problems are more often social – someone else playing games or otherwise wasting time at the keyboard while you are wanting to do some essential work.

Further information about computer equipment, software and printing.


Academic Integrity Officer - Stuart Mangles

You are here to think and to learn. Neither of these processes is furthered by copying out other people’s work and pretending it is your own. This is called plagiarism and is a form of cheating. By all means look up other authorities and quote from them, but always make it clear it is a quotation and give the source. This is proper scientific method, for which you should receive credit. Downloading chunks of text from the web and sliding them, unacknowledged, into your essays is not a good idea. Apart from anything else the abrupt change in style is often glaringly obvious. Copying out other students’ work, such as lab books, computer programmes or solutions to assessed problems, and presenting it as your own is foolhardy. It should be noted that if a student makes his own work available to another student for the purpose of copying, both students will be guilty of an offence. The Department also takes a very serious view of all forms of cheating and does not hesitate to apply the appropriate penalties.

The College’s Warning on Plagiarism which follows specifies the areas where you need to exercise caution.


Plagiarism - that is the presentation of another person's thoughts or words as though they were your own - must be avoided, with particular care in coursework and essays and reports written in your own time. Note that you are encouraged to read and criticise the work of others as much as possible. You are expected to incorporate this in your thinking and in your coursework and assessments. But you must acknowledge and label your sources.

Direct quotations from the published or unpublished work of others, from the internet, or from any other source, must always be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and a full reference to their source must be provided in the proper form. Remember that a series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. Equally, if you summarise another person's ideas or judgements, figures, diagrams or software, you must refer to that person in your text, and include the work referred to in your bibliography. Departments are able to give advice about the appropriate use and correct acknowledgements of other sources in your own work.

The direct and unacknowledged repetition of your own work, which has already been submitted for assessment, can constitute self-plagiarism. Where group work is submitted, this should be presented in a way approved by your department. You should therefore consult your tutor or course director if you are in any doubt about what is permissible. You should be aware that you have a collective responsibility for the integrity of group work submitted for assessment.

The use of the work of another student, past or present, constitutes plagiarism. Where work is used without the consent of that student, this will normally be regarded as a major offence of plagiarism.

Failure to observe these rules may result in an allegation of cheating. Cases of suspected plagiarism will be dealt with under the College's Procedure for Dealing with Examination Offences and may result in a penalty being taken against any student found guilty of plagiarism.

For many items of coursework, including Laboratory and Project reports, you may be asked to submit the work electronically. This enables the work to be checked using plagiarism detection software. This software is designed not only to detect copying from other sources, such as web pages and published work, but also copying from other students.

Intellectual Property Policy