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Academic Papers for Undergrads

  1. Feb 25, 2013 #1
    The hardest part about an education in physics (in my opinion which is admittedly underdeveloped) is changing from classroom learning to research and reading academic papers. The SPS at my school is trying to put together some material to introduce undergrads to academic papers. I am hoping to find a few articles that might be read and understood by a student with little more than upper level Mechanics and E&M classes. It doesn't have to be easy, but something that isn't soul crushing for a young student that feels like they are starting to understand physics.

    In my experience, I have not found any... but I have not read many papers. Everything that I have read requires a fair amount of specialized background. If anyone has some papers that they know about that are particularly easy to read or are based on relatively simple physics, please let me know. I do have access to most journals.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2013 #2

    Andy Resnick

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  4. Feb 26, 2013 #3
    I took a brief look at that earlier today. I'll probably find more of what I'm looking for in there. Thanks.
  5. Feb 26, 2013 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Feb 27, 2013 #5
    This sounds like a great idea. I am still undergoing "shock-therapy" with papers for my research project, and being a senior makes it no less daunting sometimes.

    I think this has been the most "readable" paper I've come across, probably 80% is understandable to anyone who's done QM:


    and for people who've taken an introductory astrophysics course that covers stellar structure & evolution (polytropic model etc.), this looked pretty accessible to me:

  7. Feb 27, 2013 #6
    I've always heard that some of Einstein's first papers on SR are quite readable. I've never read them before, so I can't corroborate this. But it might be worth a try.
  8. Feb 28, 2013 #7
    You might try:


    Almost every entry question has one or more journal articles associated with it. I used it to introduce my high school students to academic articles. The entry questions are all very interesting and engaging. Most are not technical, but more of the American Journal of Physics style. Students were surprised at what the articles are like.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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