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Year-Long School Project

  1. Mar 9, 2013 #1
    This year in my school, we get to do huge project on whatever we want (literally, whatever we want- someone is brewing their own beer, someone is writing some songs, etc.). Of course, I want to do mine on something physics related, but I'm not quite sure what I should do...
    Some ideas that I had (ranked by order of preference):
    1) Do a project on special relativity. I would learn about it as much as I could, but the problem is that I need sort of a main question for my project- I don't think I can just learn about something and write a paper about it, I think I have to ask and eventually answer a big question. One idea I had was to learn about it a lot and then prepare one or two half-hour "lectures" for my classmates to give them an introduction to special relativity and an intuition for what it's about. However, I'm open to suggestions.

    2) A paper on "The Evolution of Quantum Mechanics and its Influence on 20th Century Physics and Mathematics". I'm allowed to write a paper with a main topic and sort of question, and it can be maximum 5000 words. I think this topic would be really fun to write and research about. I don't know much about the impact of QM on other physics in the 20th century or math (if there is any impact). The problem is that this topic might be too broad, so if you think it's good but should be narrowed down, please let me know. Also, I'm not sure if this has been done too much by too many people, so that would be good to know as well- I don't want to do something too overdone.

    3) This one I probably won't do, but it's still a maybe: Research the physics of acoustic guitars. This was my dad's idea because I play the guitar, but I don't know if it's good for a long-term project. It might be too advanced, or too basic (I really have no idea).

    Extra information: This is a 10th grade high school project and we'll be getting approximately 9 months to work on it. It's called a Personal Project so I'll be doing all the work, but each student gets a supervisor (who could be a teacher or student who already did the project) who they meet with once a month. I work very hard, love physics, and have a decent math background (know algebra, trig, geometry, and differential and integral calculus of one variable).

    If you have any other ideas for other projects I could do, criticisms of my project ideas, suggestions for my project ideas, or think that one of my ideas will work best, I'd love to hear your opinion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    how about doing a computer simulation of something using the open source physics toolkit (www.compadre.org/osp) and/or the processing.org software for graphuc artists.

    You'd learn how to do physics simulations of real world things even if you dont yet know how to analyze the underlying differential equations.

    It would be a lot of work but could pay off big. You could think about how to simulate sound in a guitar.

    like this one a stradivari variant:

  4. Mar 9, 2013 #3
    That looks really cool, I'll look into that as well. Thanks :)
  5. Mar 9, 2013 #4
    A tenth grader is brewing his own beer?
  6. Mar 9, 2013 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Funny as this sounds, my son in 7th grade was buying and selling virtual shares of playboy stock for a class project making great gains until the teachers realized what it was and made him change it.
  7. Mar 9, 2013 #6
    That's what I thought. But apparently he's allowed to! He'll make a nutrition facts section and things like that, which convinced the teachers.
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