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High School Physics Project

  1. Sep 2, 2011 #1
    First I just want to say I am new to these forums and do not know were this should be posted so if there is another forum that this would be better suited for please let me know.

    But actually on topic now I am a high school senior this year and we have a senior project that I have to do and I wanted to do it on something physics related as that is what I plan on majoring in next year at college. The project can really be anything I want but I need to probably spend at least 25 hours total on it with research and the actual project. I have tried to think of some things that I would be able to do but I could not think of or find of any projects that I think I could do. If I do not find a physics related that I can do I also would think of maybe something with computer programming but want to try to do something with physics if possible. Any suggestions on a project would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2011 #2


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    It's easy to overlook this, but part of the value from such projects comes from the process of formulating the ideas yourself.

    Somewhere you may want to look for inspiration are the winning projects at science fairs.
  4. Sep 2, 2011 #3
    Look up sonoluminescence. You could try reproducing that. BBC Horizon did a documentary on that too (its on youtube but split into parts).

    Let me know if you go through with it, and if you do, tell me how it goes.
  5. Sep 2, 2011 #4


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    this will depend on the type of equipment that is available to you
  6. Sep 3, 2011 #5

    Stephen Tashi

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    That isn't very much time. That would be a "three day wonder"?
    You'd get better advice if you explain what kinds of things you think you can do. Your capabilities and resources aren't clear. Can you write computer programs? , build things?, do calculus?
  7. Sep 3, 2011 #6
    Well I do not have much experience with writing code or building things science related and am taking Trig and Calc this year but I am willing to try to learn code in addition(already know a little bit of it) and I would be will to do one that would be longer then 25 hours its just 25 is the minimum I should do. I also do not have a whole lot of resources avaliable to me but I am willing to spend some money if the project interests me enough. Also just so you guys know it doesnt have to be something huge because the main focus of the project for my school is just to do something or learn something that you normally would of done.
  8. Sep 3, 2011 #7

    Stephen Tashi

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    What programming language have you used? There are many numerical algorithms ( such as Newton's method) that are useful in solving equations. You could implement one of those. Trying to learn a completely new programming language is a formidable task unless you have a certain type of mind and the patience to get the programming environment for the language set up on a computer. (I dread that task more than learning the language.)

    Unless you are already an accomplished builder (e.g.. woodworker, metal smith) if you build something you should use a standardized system like LEGO blocks. There are many sophisticated projects using LEGOS on the web. They are even used for real science, such as: http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2009/08/playing-with-legos-for-sciences-sake.html

    Of course, you might be able to do something involving very simple equipment. It would help if you declare your interests. Do you fish? write poetry? compose music? brew beer?
  9. Sep 3, 2011 #8
    I've used Python a little but have not gone much in to it as i have had to teach myself so I have gone slow and mostly things that I am interested in is music as I play trombone, also I enjoy going snowboarding, camping, and hiking. I also am interested in learning a computer language but I do not know really what I could do to show something with the code I learned.
  10. Sep 3, 2011 #9

    Stephen Tashi

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    Of those activities, doing something to get better at Python seems the simplest goal. (Of course, I'm a fan of the great indoors, not a camper or hiker.) I'm sure there are projects that involve music, but no simple ones occur to me at the moment.

    People who "know a little" about programming are often at the point where they can write a program that consists of one singile file where all the variables involved are global. To get beyond that plateau, they need to learn how to write programs where the routines are kept in different files and variables are handled in a sophisticated manner. If you haven't reached that level, it would be worth your while to do so.

    There are many problems in physics than need numerical methods for their solution. For example, the equation of motion of a falling body in constant gravity can be written out, but if you begin to consider air resistance you may need to resort to numerical methods. I take it that you don't have to do something completely original, you only have to do something that's new to you. On the web, I think you can find many examples of Python code applied to the equations of physics.
  11. Sep 3, 2011 #10
    Yeah I might just try to do something that combines a physics topic with learning more of python because I have heard programming can be important in becoming a physicist and since my school does not have any classes for it that might be a good idea for a place to learn it.
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