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Essay Topic Selection

  1. Dec 12, 2006 #1
    I have to write up an essay for my second year undergraduate physics.
    The essay has to be high in physics contents.

    Have asked quite a lot of friends, but most of them seems to be doing black holes or something about astronomy.

    As for myself, i planned to go for future energy but seems like it is not specific enough. And also i think that topic is rather too common.

    Any other suggestions on what topics will generate interest and fun to present ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2006 #2

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    A paper surveying the current art in fusion ignition work would be pretty interesting. You can compare and contrast the latest work in magnetic confinement versus inertial confinement. The latest IC machine under construction at Lawrence Livermore Labs is pretty awesome:

    http://www.llnl.gov/nif/project/lib_construction.html

    I'm not current on fusion research, but I believe that there is a big magnetic confinement facility in Europe (?) that is trying to acheive break-even. Anybody have a pointer to it?
     
  4. Dec 14, 2006 #3
    Is fusion power definitely going to be our future primary source of energy?
     
  5. Dec 14, 2006 #4

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    No, not definitely. It could turn out to be too hard to make work, or uneconomical, or too dirty in the forms that we can make work. But it holds some promise of being practical in some form, and there are certainly a limited number of choices for long-term energy supply, so it is worth pursuing at some level of support.

    BTW, a good thing to address in your paper would be comparing the radioactive waste aspects of each, and describing what the practical storage requirements would be for each. And there are definitely very different waste/storage characteristics for the different fusion reactions that are on the plate -- unfortunately, the "easiest" fusion RX to sustain is one of the worst in terms of creating radioactive waste in the apparatus, etc. And the cleanest RX is one of the hardest to fire and sustain....
     
  6. Dec 18, 2006 #5

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    I know its been a couple days, but the Astronomy Picture of the Day from yesterday suggests another very interesting topic:

    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap061217.html

    "Dark Matter and the Casimir Effect" Interesting stuff, especially the practical issues with micromachined sensors and actuators.
     
  7. Dec 19, 2006 #6
    Thats pretty interesting. Cool. I will try to look at that in further details as well.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Jan 2, 2007 #7
    This is a bit tricky. I need to read some books for reference from the library but all the related books has been borrowed and will only due back after the submission deadline. What should i do?
     
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