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School Physics Article

  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    Hi there,
    I have been asked to write a physics article for my school science magazine. Last time I wrote one on faster than light travel but this time I'm not 100% sure what I want to do. I was thinking about doing something on extra dimensions. But the trouble is finding something which would interest an ordinary high school student.

    Can anyone think of anything?

    Many thanks,
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2009 #2
    maybe ehrndts interpretation of quantum mechanics or the multiverse required to fix hawkings theories.
  4. Feb 23, 2009 #3


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    I don't know. In writing science pieces that are meant to be "interesting" I think people tend to focus too much on the fringe fields of physics (ftl travel and extra dimensions are great examples, thanks for that). In short, things that are not part of currently accepted theory. The mass-energy equivalence or a layman's description of special and general relativity are just as mind-boggling and interesting if you ask me, and because they are observed phenomenon, a lot more relevant.
  5. Feb 23, 2009 #4
    I know that many articles have already been written on this, but you might consider describing the physics involved in a certain sport. This something I have always enjoyed learning about, and I think that most people in high school enjoy sports to some degree.

    A second idea is physics’ myth-busters. I think many people have false ideas about physics, plus everyone enjoys the show! If you focused on a certain myth you could even take a poll of some students to gauge if it really is believed at your school.

    One final idea is to do a short biography on a famous physicist; at least I usually enjoy these. I hope this is helpful.
  6. Feb 23, 2009 #5


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    Giant magnetoresistance
  7. Feb 24, 2009 #6
    I tend to agree a bit with DukeLuke's take on this. In a subject like extra dimensions you'd risk having a large number of readers just drop reading the first line in. Heck, a lot of high school students struggle with 2 and 3-D geometry! At this point (and in your role as science writer) your aim should be to make science subjects approachable... so you want to choose something that could reach a wide audience (and write about it in that way). I suggest you look at some of the science writing in the New York Times or in Scientific American as a style guide.

    atyy's point is also good... look at some of the recent Nobel Prize awards.... particularly where it has been (or is thought to) apply to technology. Readers are more likely to connect to an article if they think the phenomena discussed has or will have some impact on the things they use in their daily lives.

    Personally, even though I'm a physicist, I'd probably myself be hesitant to read about extra dimensions or travel at the speed of light. I've always been much more interested in subjects like optics & lasers, electricity & magnetism and materials characterization. Note: Condensed matter is probably the largest sub-discipline of physics. (I'm saying probably just because I don't have time this morning to dig up and cite sources on this.)

    Remember that physics is a very broad discipline, and at this point you should want to show that rich diversity. (Note that if you're really interested in the theoretical aspects and pursuing a career along those lines, one your few chances of gainful employment later on will be in academia, and you'll likely be required to teach a number of subjects that are NOT your specialty.)
  8. Feb 24, 2009 #7


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    I just wanted to say that I think it's great you have the opportunity in high school to get this kind of experience. Personally, I've always felt that the world needs more scientific journalists and perhaps less entertainment journalists.

    The solution to finding a good story isn't so much in the subject material itself, as it is the journalist's ability to make it interesting. You have to connect the material to the readers - which can be difficult with physics, although it doesn't have to be. I really like, for example, the physics mythbusters idea. Along those lines, you could look at how physics has been used to solve various mysteries over time. Or, the disasterous consequences some people have experienced when they have ignored physics.
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