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Undergraduate thesis

  1. Sep 18, 2003 #1


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    I have to do an undergraduate thesis starting next month. But I still can't think of a topic. Any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2003 #2
    Come on you must have an area your interested in? If not maybe you wasting your time doing a thesis at all!

    The One
  4. Sep 19, 2003 #3
    Well, the two major fields now are;
    Condensed matter and High energy physics (I am enjoying the second).
    You can do one of them.

  5. Sep 19, 2003 #4


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    Yes, I do have an area of interest. I would like to research on the relationship between the quantum concept of time with black hole and its singularity. But, that requires so much sophistication. I don't know whether I can read up the maths, papers or knowledge in time to present my thesis.

    Thanks for your suggestion on condensed matter and high-energy physics. I will think of some topics of interest. I personally like very much about quantum physics. If possible, I want to encompass relativity. :p
  6. Sep 20, 2003 #5


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    Look at this 6-page paper:

    "Quantum Gravity and the Big Bang" by Martin Bojowald (September 2003)

    http://arxiv.org/astro-ph/0309478 [Broken]

    It may give you some ideas. This summer there was a conference at Marseille, France, called "Where Cosmology and Fundamental Physics Meet" and the organizer invited Bojowald to give a talk---this paper is the invited lecture given at that conf.

    Bojowald is at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitation Physics, Berlin. He has recently derived a bunch of interesting results about cosmology (big bang, inflation etc.) from quantum general relativity. The references in this paper point to others which are also online at the arxiv.

    His equation (1) is one of two Friedmann equations for a spatially flat universe. It is simple and basic. The point is that Bojowald and others have now quantized this equation.
    In an undergrad thesis about cosmology (with or without quantum theory) one should deal adequately with the Friedmann equations (there are two simple eqs. basic to cosmology)
    which are derived from Einstein equations by making some simplifying assumptions.

    I think the F. equations are doable as a research topic and to make it more interesting one can mention the ongoing quantization of them which brings some new results
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  7. Sep 20, 2003 #6


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    Remember this is an undergraduate thesis, I really don't think that he wants to be going into quantum gravity.

    Seeing as you like relatvity and QM perhaps the semi-classical Hawking radiation of black hole may be of interest.
  8. Sep 20, 2003 #7


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    You may be right but the Friedmann equations are a doorway to a lot of stuff, not just q. gravity.
    They aren't quantum, they've been around since the 1920s.
    the big bang is defined by a singularity in the F. eqs.
    "dark energy" is a way of adding a term to the F. eq. so that
    it fits recent distance-redshift data
    "inflation" is something you do with the F eq. to give it an
    early exponential growth phase
    the recent consensus about "spatial flatness" refers to F eqn.
    and the F eqn defines the critical density and says what it has to be for the U to be exactly or nearly flat as observed
    so it is real basic stuff related to a lot of other things besides
    the program to quantize GR and convert (among other things) the'
    Friedmann eqn into a quantum version

    The classical F equation for a spatially flat isotropic universe having spatial metric scalefactor a(t) whose increase shows the expansion of space, and average energy density r(greek letter rho, includes all forms of energy) looks like this

    (a'/a)2 = (8 pi G/3) r(a)

    And this term
    (a'/a) is actually the definition of the famous "hubble parameter" H, so you could rewrite the Friedmann equation like this

    H2 = (8 pi G/3) r(a)

    its a simple equation and in cosmology everything seems to go back to it or be defined with reference to it
    (the fact that now people are beginning to quantize it and derive new results from that is kind of secondary as I see it.) A lot of what you read about in the news, universe-wise, is actually about terms in the Friedmann equation---which they dont tell you because general readers are put off by even simple differential equations. So I think it is a good thing to know about----whether or not you get into the quantum version of it.

    But Hawking radiation from a black hole is also interesting and might make an even better undergrad thesis or termpaper. We can give this guy a menu of pretty good options and if he likes any of them it will be lucky:wink:
  9. Sep 20, 2003 #8


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    The Friedmann equation's ceratinly not too complicate dfor an undergraduate thesis, it can be written in very simple terms.

    The advice really is that he shouldn't stray to far off the beaten track with an undergrad thesis.
  10. Sep 20, 2003 #9


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    My eyes are open wide with awe now. ;P

    Hawking radiation and Friedmann's equation are interesting topics...

    We talk about quantum gravity and dark energy. But, then again, doesn't GR break down at the singularity in black holes? How is it possible we formulate quantum gravity or postulate dark energy from GR? It's just like formulating a new theory like QM within the structure of Newtonian physics.

    I get this feeling that undergrad thesis is somewhat different from a graduate thesis. Can someone explain?
  11. Sep 21, 2003 #10


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    the parameters of what a thesis is supposed to be should be laid out by your college

    an outsider can have nothing reliable to say about this

    it should be clear at the start how long it should be, what kind of footnotes and references and bibliography, how much work

    I will tell you my GUESS.

    Learning early in life how to do academic writing---how to do research papers that cite references----careful wording, introduction, conclusions at the end, and all that-----that is a useful skill that could be valuable to you later on

    If you go for an advanced degree or do any sort of research and need to write it up.

    Academic style is not hard and its handy to know-----BTW very different from PF casual style!!!-----so the faculty at your school probably instituted this "undergraduate thesis" requirement so that everybody learns how to do academic style writing.

    If you write your thesis in a physics area then you get to use this amazing online resource called arxiv

    Like, go to http://arxiv.org and press "search"
    and put keywords into the "abstract" box
    and you get all these online academic style articles that
    cite references and refer to other articles and so on

    You should be able to download any of the articles in PDF
    format if you read the abstract (the brief summary) and like
    the article.

    A thesis is normally written with the help of a THESIS ADVISOR who is supposed to pass on what you do. He or she determines ultimately how much work it is supposed to involve and how much bibliography is right and what references are legitimate to cite as authority for what you say.

    Learning how to work happily with a thesis advisor is another thing that you can learn from writing an undergrad research paper like this.

    Personally I wouldnt think of it as a "thesis" but just as a research paper that some experienced person guides you in writing so you learn the ropes.

    If you can manage it, get a research advisor that you get along with and choose a topic that is agreeable to both of you.

    But if you cant get into a symbiotic relation with a faculty on this one then simply pick something that interests you that has a bunch of academic papers you can find with search engine and cite in footnotes and just go for it and kick ass

    remember that this is situation-dependent and since I dont have any idea of what its like at your school I cant really give you suggestions except as a kind of guess
  12. Sep 23, 2003 #11


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    Usually an undergraduate thesis is just practicing reserach/experimentation, unlike a graduate thesis your not meant to discover anything new.

    But as Marcus says listen to exactly what you are expected to do.
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