Seeking Physics Undergrad Thesis Problem

  • #1
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Hi, I'm an undergraduate, currently enrolled in a degree program for Physics. Part of the requirements of the program is—you guessed it—a thesis.

Now, I'm not really good with experimental physics, and aside from that, the university I'm currently enrolled at doesn't really have much equipment. So, I was thinking something more on the theoretical side, or probably the numerical/computational side.

So far, in the program, I've studied the fundamentals (Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics, Optics, etc.), and I've enrolled in courses dealing with Mathematical Methods, and only recently, I've studied Special Relativity and the basics of Quantum Mechanics.

I know that this part—choosing the topic—is meant to encourage independent thinking, and so to narrow it down, I've actually tried researching further on some broad fields that I am interested in, (Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, Relativistic Electromagnetism, etc.), and that's what I've been doing for the past few months. Recently, I've started studying General Relativity in more detail.

I've approached a potential thesis adviser with the idea that I'm more interested in Relativity, and she suggested that I search for a good topic in Relativistic Astrophysics.

So, here's the question. Can anyone point me to any direction in which I might find a potential problem that I could study for my thesis? Due to the suggestion given by the potential adviser, my prioritized field is Relativistic Astrophysics, but if you guys might be able to suggest a problem that is still in line with the interests I've mentioned above, that would still be great. Thanks.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Why are YOU searching for a problem? You should discuss with an advisor and your advisor should suggest possible topics.
 
  • #3
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Hi there! Thanks for responding. :D

I did approach an adviser, but all she suggested was that I work on Relativistic Astrophysics. She also supplied me with some references that I could use to study General Relativity, and told me to continue studying. The only problem is that she hasn't really pointed me to a particular problem that I can work on, but it's only natural since it's part of the university policy to allow us to select our own topic. I suppose I'll approach her again when I start running out of options, but since I'm here anyway, and I still have a month for my preparations for my thesis proposal, I thought I would try searching independently for now. Any suggestions? :)
 
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  • #4
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Try another advisor that will be more helpful.
 
  • #5
Choppy
Science Advisor
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Something you could try if you're looking for inspiration is to see if there are any thesis reports from previous students available. Not only would that give you some ideas, but it would also provide a template for how much work you can realistically expect to get done. (A lot of students and sometimes supervisors over-estimate what's possible.) You might also try looking at MSc theses if those are done at your school. If possible you can try talking with graduate students and ask them what they did, or what they've seen done that was successful at your school.
 
  • #6
Dr. Courtney
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I tend to agree with the advice above:

Advisers should be able to provide a list of possible topics that are novel and within the capabilities of a given undergraduate student.

My colleagues and I maintain a list of ideas and topics with broad appeal. A student can just pick one, or after consideration and research, come up with a related idea.
 
  • #7
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Alright guys, thank you so much. I guess I'll approach her again, and maybe post a new thread when I have further questions. :)
 

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