- #1

- 349

- 15

Can somebody point on what can be some potential research topics for physics and mathematics for undergraduates?

Moreover is it possible to fulfill the condition by researching and publishing on a topic that combines both physics and maths? (Example:

**Hodge theory and Electromagnetism**. (Algebraic topology/Physics)

Electromagnetic theory since the time of Maxwell has been an important source of new mathematics. This is particularly true for topology, specially for what is called "algebraic topology". One fundamental topic in algebraic topology with strong ties to electromagnetism is the so called "Hodge-de Rham theory". Although in its general form this is a difficult and technical topic, it is possible to go a long way into the subject with only Math 233. The article "Vector Calculus and the Topology of Domains in 3-Space", by Cantarella, DeTurck and Gluck (The American Mathematical Monthly, V. 109, N. 5, 409-442) is the ideal reference for a project in this area. (It has as well some inspiring pictures.)

Another direction to explore is the theory of direct current electric circuits (remember Kirkhoff's laws?). In fact, an electric circuit may be regarded as electric and magnetic field over a region in 3-space that is very nearly one dimensional, typically with very complicated topology (a graph). Solving circuit problems implicitly involve the kind of algebraic topology related to Hodge theory. (Hermann Weyl may have been the first to look into electric circuits from this point of view.) The simplification here is that the mathematics involved reduces to finite dimensional linear algebra. A nice reference for this is appendix B of

*The Geometry of Physics*(T. Frankel), as well as

*A Course in Mathematics for Studentsof Physics*vol. 2, by Bamberg and Sternberg.)