Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

16, interested in Quantum physics; help with project (not homework!)

  1. Sep 2, 2011 #1
    Hey I've been hearing about kids my age, interested in many of the same subjects as me, that have built crazy things i wouldn't have thought possible, ie: a particle accelerator or a fusion reactor. I'd love some ideas of what I could build, small or large scale, hard or easy, and a price estimate (or not ideas are great too!) Because although i love the concept of going into the field of physics and quantum physics especially, I want to do a hands on project, where i do my own calculations. Plus itd probably look good on college applications if i built something crazy by myself.

    I'm willing to spend money and put time into this project. Thanks for looking!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Er..........I highly doubt that a group of teenagers could build either of these. Both of these things require years of work by thousands of highly-qualified scientists and engineers with budgets measured in the billions of dollars.
  4. Sep 2, 2011 #3
    I don't know about particle accelerator or fushion reactor, but great starter projects include building a radio, a laser, or a robot. It know it sounds enticing to derive all the equations yourself and build the project using only materials you dig up in your own backyard, but in reality physics is hard enough that such an approach is hardly productive. Your best approach is getting a kit and going through all the projects. You will learn a lot more and accomplish a lot more in the same amount of time. Great kits include http://www.elenco.com/snapcircuits.html" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Sep 2, 2011 #4
    I don't think the teens would build an accelerator equal to the LHC, just a low power one that can collide some particles while using some old parts or something. It might be difficult to have the necessary safety features for a homemade fusion reactor, however. I don't think the professional scientists themselves have finished this part, yet. Fission, however, is what's being used in current reactors.

    Didn't Michio Kaku build a particle accelerator on his school's football field? I'm pretty sure I remember reading that he did it in one of his books.

    To the original post, I wish I had the materials to do that. I made some designs for a steam engine the summer before my senior year of high school, but not a single speck of material to use(or the tools). Then again, with my luck, it would have blown up with the shrapnel flying into my testicles.

    I did have an idea to build a nuclear cannon, though...
    Basically an atomic bomb in a chamber with a hole to focus the energy. Hopefully it wouldn't have destroyed the cannon itself. It probably would have, though.

    Maybe you could build a steam engine for me, although you should probably start small like in the post above.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  6. Sep 2, 2011 #5
    Thanks! Yeah Michio Kaku did build one around his football field, I've read several articles, and yes fission is what i meant, haha bad thing get fusion and fission confused. I was thinking something small scale, or maby a hydrogen powered car, as in convert my old 260z to hydrogen power. Though that seems really hard as well, before ill do anything ill take your advise and buy a kit or two, any other suggestions?
  7. Sep 2, 2011 #6
    You were probably thinking of a betatron and a fusor.
  8. Sep 2, 2011 #7
    Yeah, but do you know of any other projects I could make similar in size as the betatrOn or fusor?
  9. Sep 3, 2011 #8
    May be it's better to try tesla coils,or van de graff generator,that kind of stuff or a hologram which takes indepth knowledge of physical optics
  10. Sep 3, 2011 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Many years ago, there was an episode of, I think, "Barney Miller" where a teenage boy had built an "atomic bomb", for a science fair, and caused a lot of fuss. What he had built was, of course, a "mock up"- showing how such as bomb would be triggered but containing no fissionable material.
  11. Sep 3, 2011 #10
    I wanna build a maser.

    Because masers are cooler than lasers.

    After that I might built a quantum computer.

    It'll definitely happen :)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook