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Physics IB Extended Essay

  1. Mar 31, 2009 #1
    So, i've browsed PF and found it to be awesome in terms of advice.
    I've already read some of the threads that about the IB Physics extended essay.

    Some basic information:
    Education level is Grade 11/12
    I can handle quite advanced physics.
    The actual Extended Essay is a 4000 word in depth report on a specific topic.

    Those who will tell me about how science EEs are graded low, don't bother, i know that and the only reason i'm doing a physics EE is because i suck too much at other subjects. Physics is the only thing i'm good at.

    The help i need is sorta split into two parts.

    1. Advice on current topic.
    I'm thinking of making a Gauss Rifle, similar to a coil gun but with perma-magnets.
    I'll then investigate why the bearing accelerates and other magnetic field properties.

    2. Suggestions of other topics.
    Are there any other cool experiments any of you have done that i might be able to do, analyse and then produce a 4000 word report on.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks a ton,
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    If you mean the one like this: http://scitoys.com/scitoys/scitoys/magnets/gauss.html
    I would caution that there is very little physics to analyze and little opportunity to show off your experimental skills. I made one of those and it is pretty neat to see but the explanation only takes a couple of sentences.

    I would look for an experiment that provides lots of data to analyze, something non-linear that calls for some skill in analyzing. Avoid being tempted by the spectacular when your objective is to impress with your knowledge and skill in physics.

    Just as a thought, consider the old experiment of rolling marbles, cylinders and tubes down a ramp, across a short horizontal stretch and then into projectile motion off a table to the floor. Begin by analyzing the data as if you didn't have a theory for the answer - graph the horizontal flight distance vs the initial height of the marble on the ramp or tube. That isn't a straight line so you can't find the formula and you try various other graphs until you do get a formula. You can use conservation of energy and projectile motion analysis to predict the horizontal distance of flight. You will find that the prediction is off significantly, and the amount varies with the type of rolling object. This is due to a type of energy that you likely don't take in high school, but which is first on the list of new topics in college physics. You may well think of it yourself (or get help from a college text or friend), learn a bit of new physics to complete the analysis.
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