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Homework Help: Research Essay help!

  1. Feb 25, 2010 #1
    I am not sure if this is the right place for this, but

    I am doing IB in my high school, and we have a so called Extended Essay, which means that we have to research a topic of our choice and write a 3000-4000 word essay. I chose to do physics, however I am having trouble deciding on my topic.

    I was thinking of doing something in terms of aerodynamics of ping pong balls, or something in those lines.

    I would very much appreciate your help, as this is a very important essay.

    Kind regards
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2010 #2
    Welcome to Physics Forums.

    Do you want help with your choice of topic, or with the aerodynamics of ping pong balls?
    How much physics do you know? Are you studying it as a subject with the IB?
    My only experience of IB (in the UK) is that it is taken in conjunction (as an extra "subject") with A Levels.
  4. Feb 26, 2010 #3
    We have not learned much, we learned momentum, SHM, little bit of waves, and thermodynamics. However, I am HL Physics, and I think we will be going over aerodynamics later, so it's not an issue. However, I am having trouble choosing my topic. Any ideas would be appreciated
  5. Feb 26, 2010 #4
    I can only give my own thoughts on this and they are as follows:
    You could go for a technical topic such as you mention; then you need to think carefully about how you will "angle" the essay. Is it going to be a descriptive essay, where you describe the physics behind it and talk about, maybe, the latest research and applications. This would be the same for any technical topic.
    Alternatively, you could go for a more historical approach.
    There are a few areas that I have always found fruitful and fascinating.
    1. the line of thought that led up to Newton's Laws of Motion. Start off with Galileo and move forwards through Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler etc.
    2. The lines of thought and enquiry that led to the discovery of Rutherford's "nuclear" atom.
  6. Feb 26, 2010 #5
    Those are good ideas, however I asked my supervisor she said we are not allowed to mix topics, like in this case physics and history, it should be just physics
  7. Feb 26, 2010 #6
    I actually just finished my IB EE in physics this week (good choice by the way, I honestly think it's the easiest subject for the EE), basically the best advice I can give you is do something simple and do a good job of it! I would say doing an experimental essay would be the best choice for physics. As for choosing a topic just look at the world around you, everything is physics! I spent about two weeks surfing wikipedia and looking at objects in my house and came up with a large list of possible simple subjects. I won't list any as I don't want to hinder your creative thinking, but I suggest creating a list of possible subjects and choose the one that is the right combination of something that interests you, will make the word count, and will be simple enough to complete. I would be happy to provide any more help as you continue your work!
  8. Mar 3, 2010 #7

    Thanks a lot for advice. I am thinking now of either doing physics of a blowgun, or physics of a windmill. Not sure if it's doable though
  9. Jul 22, 2010 #8
    From my days as a college student, we were always encouraged to make our topics as specific as possible. An interesting topic you can tackle is the dependence of conductivity on particle size. It's a very new topic so if you tackle it well you may not need an experiment.
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