Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Topic for a 4000 word essay

  1. Jan 5, 2006 #1
    hey guys,
    As part of my high-school diploma i have to write a 4000-word essay about practically any topic, but i chose to do one in physics. ;)
    I've already done a bit of research trying to look at what topics might be interesting and possible to do EXPERIMENTS for. I was looking at doing something about the interference properties of light and doing the double-slit experiment but i thought that would be too simple and i wouldnt be able to fill 4000 words.
    I've looked at my textbooks and quite a bit on the internet to try and determine a topic, but haven't had much luck yet.
    I was hoping you guys could help me come up with an interesting topic i could research and possibly do an experiment for.
    Thanks a lot guys!!!:smile:
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2006 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Maybe expand on your light idea some, and come up with a 2nd experiment that demonstrates the particle properties of light. That way you will have the double-slit experiment (and cool pictures) to talk about the wave properties of light, and a 2nd experiment demonstrating the particle properties of light. Then in the essay, you can talk about the duality of the wave/particle nature of light (and many other things), and how non-intuitive and yet provable this duality is. Have at it!!
  4. Jan 5, 2006 #3
    thanks for the reply. i will do some research on this topic and hopefully get a better understanding before finally choosing my topic question.
  5. Jan 5, 2006 #4

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Tagging onto berkeman's suggestion:

    the two-slit experiment, when done one photon at a time, reveals an amazing property of light: even when a single photon passes through one of the double-slits, it will land on the detector screen only on the bright fringe areas of the diffration pattern, even when there is nothing to interfere with.

    This opens up a whole can of worms that will easily fill 4000 words.
  6. Jan 5, 2006 #5
    None of the people who did science essays in my school did very well on their extended essay. I decided to do salt and the origins of civilization.

    You could do a lot of things, but I think one requirement is that the topic has to be cutting edge and relevant. Which still means you can do all sorts of things. One cool thing going on sort of similar to interference is the project to detect gravity waves in deep space because the thought of how other dimensions could be detected this way. It's a string theory related thing.

    Anyway, there is a lot to do with photons/gravitons/neutrinos, and you're going to have to find something pretty specific.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook