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Research project on plasma physics EPQ?

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  1. Jul 1, 2014 #1
    Does anybody know any topics within plasma physics that a 17 year could research in? I'm doing a qualification called the EPQ where students undertake a research project in any topic they would like and write a 5000 word essay. I'm in year 12 and have taken As level Maths and Further Maths. I want to add maths to my essay and avoid turning it into pop sci fiction where topics are looked over superficially. The essay title needs to be a question and so far all i have thought of is "Can nuclear fusion solve our energy problems?" but looking online it seems if i do this my essay would be about the engineering problems of obtaining sustainable energy production from nuclear fusion rather than plasma physics. Thanks
     
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  3. Jul 1, 2014 #2

    berkeman

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    I don't think I'd do the paper on whether fusion can work in a viable way for energy production. There are lots of such papers, and too much controversy to make your paper interesting to read.

    Instead, maybe consider something more along the lines of "What are the current problems with plasma fusion systems, and how are they being addressed?" That is a subject with lots of technical meat to it, and it would be an interesting paper to read if written and illustrated well, IMO. :smile:
     
  4. Jul 1, 2014 #3
    Thanks a lot that seems to be a much more specific and interesting subject. Do you have any recommendations for books I might read on the subject? So far I'm thinking of reading fundamentals of plasma physics by JA Bittencourt and articles on plasma physics and controlled fusion on the IOPs website
     
  5. Jul 1, 2014 #4

    berkeman

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    My experience with plasma physics is from long, long ago. At the time one of the main texts about Plasma Physics was by Chen. It looks like there is an updated version available:

    https://www.google.com/shopping/pro...2.3&ei=5EmzU5bHCoK9oQTG64DwDA&ved=0CGYQpiswAA

    I'd recommend finding a couple refereed Journals that carry articles concerning plasma physics and fusion, and find out what kind of textbook references they list frequently in the articles. Better yet would be to find some survey articles in those journals about the subject you want to write about. They should at least have some that talk about some of the specific problems of different devices. Be sure to keep track of your own bibliography to include in your paper.
     
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