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Need Controversial Topic for an Eng102 Class

  1. Feb 28, 2010 #1


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    Didn't really think this question fit the Homework section, so I hope this is alright. I need to have 3 sources "for" and 3 sources "against". The difficulty lies in choosing a subject that when I present the evidence for each side, ppl in class and the prof's eyes don't start to glaze over. Its only 4pgs(double spaced, later to become a 5-6pg paper in which I choose one of the sides) so I won't have the space to take every piece of evidence and break it down into layman terminology. Also it doesn't have to be strictly related to Astronomy, any other branch of physics would be fine with me as well. One more stipulation I guess, I'm a 3rd yr Physics undergrad, so I understand maybe on average 25% of what I read in physical journal articles depending on the subject (my forte being astronomy). Point being, the due date is Mar11th and I'd rather not burden one of my professors by them having to explain 6 journal articles to me line by line. Lol, hope this wasn't too confusing. All ideas welcome! thx in advance.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2010 #2


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    Well, there's always Dark Matter and Dark Energy...for Dark Matter there's several theories for it e.g. MOND, WIMPS, MACHO, etc. I'm not too familiar with theories for Dark Energy, but I'm sure if you do a search, you'll come up with something.

    Other subjects I can think of off the top my head: Neutrino mass (I think now, the evidence is mostly FOR it having mass), Gamma Ray Bursts, Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei, and the related Supermassive Black Holes.
  4. Feb 28, 2010 #3
    Have we detected life on Mars?
  5. Mar 2, 2010 #4


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    If you want real controversy, write a paper on climate change. Is the Earth warming, and if so, is it caused by human activities? Threads on such topics are locked here.
  6. Mar 2, 2010 #5
    As twofish said the life on Mars thing will probably be fun, informative and easy for your peers to understand. Everybody is familiar with this issue.

    Others that I'd consider would probably be one universe vs multiverse theories, maybe arguments for or against the deterministic nature of the universe, or even relativity vs quantum mechanics (see Hawking's A Brief History of Time). Beware though -- these topics may be opague to your peers.
  7. Mar 2, 2010 #6
    I am also a physics major in undergrad, and had a very similar assignment for an ENG Comp course last semester. I ended up writing it as a paper arguing in favor of manned space exploration. I didn't necessarily have to have three sources for each side, but I had to present at least three arguments for each side. In favor of, I used several examples of why it is important for research, the possibility of asteroid mining (check out Mining the Sky by John Lewis), and the need to potentially reach another habitable world, (and I elaborated heavily on each of these, these made up about five pages). On the other side I used the benefits of robotic missions instead of manned, the fact that current technology for manned missions is outdated, and the thought that "exploring space is a waste of resources when there are so many problems on Earth." I through it together pretty quickly, but it got me an A. Good luck.
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