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Physic project

  1. Mar 8, 2007 #1
    Im in my last year in high school and i need to work on a physic project, So basically i need to find myself a subject and a experiment to do. My problem is that i need some inspiration or examples.
    Last year i had a project like it and i tried to find out what kind of radon isotope that is emitting from the concrete floor in our classroom, so i used a vacuum for collecting the dust sucking it into a sponge and afterwards trying to calculate the decay time and see what kind of radon isotope it would fit with.

    So i need examples of experiments like that or some kind of other experiment.

    I know its not the regular homework help thread but i hope someone will help me anyway.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2007 #2
    It's quite difficult to help...:) What part of physics are you interested in? What do you want do study after you finish high school?

    I had the same problem several months ago and I chose basic diode &transistor logic (see for example the relevant Wikipedia articles), since I'm interested in computers and I want to study computer science&microelectronics after high school. There's a lot of theory involved (semiconductors) and some experimenting as well (determining the output voltage, etc.). From the experimental point of view, it wouldn't be probably as much demanding as your previous project, but the theory's really interesting.
  4. Mar 8, 2007 #3


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    does it have to be in a certain subject area? but it sounds like if you can do experiments such as the radon isotope, there must be some advanced equipment available to you. I mean, at my old high school, they didn't have things like a scintillator, ultra high-speed camera or sensors for us to borrow.

    anyway, how about something involves electronics? usually electronics experiments require only off-the-shelf components..... but then again, it may mean that someone has done it before. Does it have to be an original experiments in the sense that it is on something that is interesting but not testing an existing theory ????
  5. Mar 8, 2007 #4
    The project has to involve our basic subjects and has to be done with the equipment we have, we dont really have that much advance stuff to do with. The project with the radon isotope is really just done by calculating the decay rate of the dust u sucked up with a vacumcleaner into a sponge.

    But something with electronics or magnetism could be nice, i've learned the basics about magnetic fields electrical fields, thermodynamic processes and rotating mechanics but we havent been introduced to subjects like electromagnetic waves and most of the modern physic subjects like relativity or quantum mechanics. But im prepared to read about it as long as its kept basic.

    It can be both depends on what we want to, the only limits is that its not to easy and that its can be done with the school equipment.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2007
  6. Mar 9, 2007 #5


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    I am intrigued by how you can do this...sorry me no experimentalist, how do actually calculate the decay rate of your "dust" which could potential contain any substance???

    Anyway, if you can only use basic subjects then how about: an electric guitar, a function generator, a few magnets. to investigate the standing waves (their harmonics) and seeing dF = i dl x dB at work. if function generator is not avaliable, then perhaps try a simple scattering/diffraction experiments with a laser. Must school should have a class-1 laser for demo etc... you can try to observe and subsequently "predict" the spacing of the pattern after scattering the light beam with objects of different gratings.... eg. a steel ruler
  7. Mar 9, 2007 #6
    If you are comfortable with electricity and magnetism, why not build a small wind turbine. It doesn't need to be all that fancy, maybe use a light wood for the blades, and set a fan at various distances to control wind speed. You could then devise an anerometer to figure out the actual wind speed striking the blades, etc...
    Then correlate the output with readings in your area usingh the same anerometer(that way it only needs be precise and not accurate).
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2007
  8. Mar 9, 2007 #7

    Since the concrete floor is radioactive(not much but a little) the dust absorbs some of it, so if you can get enough of the dust into a sponge or filter and then asap place it in front of a Geiger counter because its only noticeable active for around ½ an hour in which it decreases fast and from that you will be able to make a fine decay curve.
  9. Mar 9, 2007 #8


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    oh so you do have "advanced" gadgets like a Geiger counter... well... I thought you didn't and so rather confused as to how to do the experiments. well, me getting too old, must be... and back in my days high school can't afford these toys :smile:
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