Physics Project

1. Jan 26, 2004

student1938

I have to take a Physics Project course where I would have to undertake a reserach endeavour whilst being supervised by a Professor at the university....any suggestions as to what this endeavour could be? This is a senior level underdergraduate course and my interest is in particle physics although I haven' t taken a senior level particle physics course..I am also interested in satellite and planet orbit related topics as are discussed in Classical Mechanics.

I will have taken the following before taking the project:
second year E and M
third year E and M
second year Special relativity(only year in which this is offered)
Optics
third year Modern Physics
Differential equations, ordinary and partial
Vector calculus
second year classical mechanics
third year classical mechanics

2. Jan 27, 2004

student1938

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and very useful to me

3. Jan 27, 2004

student1938

What is the meaning of this....one of the professors has listed this as one of his current interests: It seems interesting to me..can anyone explain what sort of stuff this field might entail?
FIELD: Calculations of classical orbits in electric and magnetic fields.

4. Jan 28, 2004

rocketcity

Classical orbits in electric and magnetic fields?

I believe this topic is referring to the Bohr model of the atom. It's a model that is based on some reasonable assumptions that we now believe not to be true, such as:

1. Electrons are little balls, like small planets.

2. Electrons orbit their nuclei in little elliptical orbits, like small planets.

On the surface, it's a reasonable theory, because it fits some of the observed data (that atoms have a dense, positive core, and are surrounded by a region of negative stuff, that this stuff is made of electrons and a hydrogen atom has only one of them, etc.) and because Coulomb's law of attraction between an electron and a proton looks a lot like the equation giving the gravitational attraction between the sun and the earth.

What's even neater is, if you tack on the idea that electrons have some sort of wavelength associated with them, and that an electron must only exist in orbits consisting of an integer number of wavelengths, you get a theory that predicts the energy levels of the hydrogen atom pretty accurately.

Not bad for a theory that's based on what are almost certainly false assumptions!

The mathematics and physics involved in pretending that electrons are little billiard balls is useful mathematics; it involves tricks that come up again and again in other places. Also, it serves as a jumping-off point for quantum mechanics.

This topic could be a good way to tie together mechanics, E&M and quantum.

P

5. Jan 31, 2004

student1938

I can see how it might deal with Classical/Analytical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics but don't really know how it would be able to tie in E & M..would it be a pretty indepth application of E and M ?

Last edited: Jan 31, 2004
6. Jan 31, 2004

rocketcity

The Bohr model has E&M at its foundation, in that it is based on Coulomb's Law of Attraction.

I don't think that this topic is all *that* in-depth in that it doesn't rely on a lot of vector calculus, as so much of E&M does. But it involves a lot of synthesis and making connections between various fields in physics. If you wanted to add a little more mathematical rigour, you could compare and contrast the derivation of the Bohr energy levels from the Bohr model and from Schrodinger's Equation with an inverse radius potential (see Griffith's Quantum text for a very good derivation.)

P

7. Feb 1, 2004

Stingray

That doesn't have anything to do with the Bohr model.

"Orbit" means trajectory here. It is commonly used in the field of dynamical systems/nonlinear dynamics/chaos. He's talking about characterizing the motion of particles moving in electromagnetic fields. That either means plasma physics or abstract mathematical analyses of the volumes traced out in phase space etc. This will probably involve a good deal of math, writing computer programs, a solid understanding of E&M, and Hamiltonian mechanics.

8. Feb 3, 2004

Oh crap !