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Can a Research Paper on Classical Physics make it to a good journal?

  1. Dec 6, 2013 #1

    interhacker

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    I am starting University in September, 2014. I have some knowledge already on classical mechanics as I took optional Applied Math courses (called Mechanics 1 and Mechanics 2) in my mathematics A-Level. I am also self-studying the book Classical Mechanics by Goldstein, Poole and Safko to gain a deeper understanding of the subject.

    Pretty much all of the universities I am applying spend freshman year teaching Calculus, Classical Mechanics, Introuctory Chemistry, Thermodynamics and Introductory Biology. There are courses on Modern Physics, Introductory Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity in the second semester but most of the real stuff starts in the second year if you select something like Physics or (Applied or otherwise) Mathematics as a major.

    Now, the thing is, I like doing experiments and formulating equations. I was just wondering if I could, perhaps, write a research paper that formulates some simple effective theory, or perhaps deals with the applications of previous classical mechanical theories in new conditions, or details new experimental ways to test those theories (excuse my vagueness, university is about nine months away and I've only started learning about this stuff) and have that research paper printed in a half-decent journal. Even if it isn't printed in a journal and I have to publish it myself via my university or otherwise, will it be important enough to be mentioned in the applications for MS and PhD. programmes of high-ranked universities like Cambridge, MIT and ETH Zurich after I complete my BS?
     
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  3. Dec 6, 2013 #2
    This paper was published in PRL last year. And given the ongoing research on dynamical and non-linear systems it's obviously not impossible to find something new in classical mechanics worthy of publication, but whether you can do it depends on whether you can find an interesting new result or not. That is quite hard to tell at this point in time, especially for us.

    I wouldn't stress too much about it now though. You'll probably make better use of your time at this point by focusing on learning things well. Then find an advisor at the university, and do some cool project. Chances are you'll find some other subject in physics more interesting anyway. Also, at this point you are, understandably so, not up to date on the research literature, so it'll be hard for you to know whether you are working on something original or not. In addition, professors are good at judging whether something is worthy of publication (and in which journals) when that time comes.

    Added later: PRL is Physics Review Letters, probably the most prestigious journal focused on physics.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2013 #3

    Meir Achuz

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    You can start by putting papers on arxiv.org. Many people will get to see them there.
     
  5. Dec 6, 2013 #4
    Definitely agree with this. Maybe you could stumble on to something interesting, but you will increase your chances of success by studying hard and working with a good professor. Pretty much every school either requires a senior project or encourages students to complete an honor's project. Sometimes these are worthy of publication.

    You can still do your own experiments, but most likely someone else has done them (but every once in a while somebody recognizes something simple that has not been well studied)


    PS don't you need to be sponsored by an arxiv user to post on arxiv? I don't think it will be easy for a new physics undergrad to post to arxiv.
     
  6. Dec 6, 2013 #5

    Meir Achuz

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    I look at the paper, and if it is worthwhile I endorse the auther.
     
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