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Finding Research Topics in HEP (Undergraduate level)

  1. Sep 16, 2011 #1
    Hey, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for something I could research for a paper I have to write about my major (Physics). I could do history of particle physics, but I'd rather not. Any and all suggestions would be great!

    Thanks for your time,
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2011 #2
    How technical does it have to be? Do you have knowledge of quantum field theory?
  4. Sep 16, 2011 #3
    Two chapters of Ryder and two chapters of Peskin and Schroeder. I also have read most of Elementary Particles by Griffith's, which was easy, but enjoyable. I'm watching/reading David Tong's lecture series at the moment as well. It does not have to be super technical, but the main requirement is to source 15 works (texts, papers etc.) so it has to be substantial at least in size.
  5. Sep 18, 2011 #4
    Are you a senior physics major? (if you have some Ryder and Peskin under your belt?) Are you familiar enough with non-relativistic quantum mechanics that you can solve the hydrogen atom? Have you done any perturbation theory? If so, I'd suggest exploring the Dirac equation.

    You can see matter/anti-matter even in the free particle solutions, you can see the gyromagnetic ratio is exactly 2, etc. If you calculate time evolutions of some expectation values (velocity, for instance) you can see the so called "Zitterbewegung."

    The hydrogen atom is exactly solvable in the Dirac quation, but sort of tricky, but if you solve it, you can compare to the non-relativistic hydrogen atom, and the first order relativistic corrections.

    You can conclude by talking about some of the experiment (gyromagnetic ratio measurements) and some of the behaviors of the solutions of the equation that point toward quantum field theory. There is plenty of meat in the Dirac equation, and it gets left out of a lot of curriculums.
  6. Sep 18, 2011 #5
    Not a senior, just fortunate. I should be familiar enough, but I would probably need some review. Would Griffith's be adequate or should I look at something like Shankar? My perturbation theory goes as far as 6.1 and 6.2 in Griffith's.

    I don't know a lot about the Dirac Equation besides the most basic solutions, but I'm sure that it would be interesting.
    So you're recommending something like:
    [Brush up on some Qmech]
    Solve Dirac Equation for Hydrogen Atom
    Solve usual Hydrogen Atom with first order corrections
    Compare results
    Discussion of other solutions and their implications

    I think I could figure out something to do with the topics you have listed above relating to the Dirac equation though I have a feeling it will be some work.

    Thank you very much for the recommendation!
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