Interesting physics presentation ideas? Watch

hi1345
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OK so I'm in year 12 and I need to decide on a topic for a physics presntation to finish by july, I need to write about 1000 words about it and do a powerpoint (presentaton needs to last about 5-8 mins)

Basically I'm not sure which topic to do, it can be on anything that relates to physics. Any interesting suggestions?
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tory88
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What are you interested in in physics? Standard topics would be the solar system or how stars form. Something more interesting may be special relativity or string theory (the ideas behind them, not the maths). But really picking something that interests you is most important.
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SnoochToTheBooch
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nuclear fusion is an interesting topic, both in terms of the physics involved and the game-changing implications for the world if it is ever finally cracked.
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hi1345
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(Original post by tory88)
What are you interested in in physics? Standard topics would be the solar system or how stars form. Something more interesting may be special relativity or string theory (the ideas behind them, not the maths). But really picking something that interests you is most important.
Yeah I was thinking like special relativity/quantum mechanics/string theory etc, but since the presentation can only be 5 mins long it seems quite hard to sum up so much information in that time, I am leaning towards doing it on Nikola tesla as hes sort of a "forgotten scientist" and theres a lot of intesting info on the interset about him.
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tory88
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(Original post by hi1345)
Yeah I was thinking like special relativity/quantum mechanics/string theory etc, but since the presentation can only be 5 mins long it seems quite hard to sum up so much information in that time, I am leaning towards doing it on Nikola tesla as hes sort of a "forgotten scientist" and theres a lot of intesting info on the interset about him.
You could do some of the ideas behind spec. relativity or quantum, although string theory is a bit of a stretch. But that may be quite hard to research. Doing it on a scientist should be fine, just make sure to be able to answer any questions at the end of the presentation.
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hi1345
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(Original post by tory88)
You could do some of the ideas behind spec. relativity or quantum, although string theory is a bit of a stretch. But that may be quite hard to research. Doing it on a scientist should be fine, just make sure to be able to answer any questions at the end of the presentation.
What do you think would be more interesting as a presentation, Nikola tesla or an overview of quantum mechanics?
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hdivider
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Some possibly exotic ideas, in decreasing difficulty:

Warp drive: Specifically, explain the Alcubierre Drive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive) in really basic terms, and point to an experiment that NASA is conducting on warp fields (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-J...interferometer). This is a somewhat controversial area - but not ridiculously so. =)

Simulation hypothesis: The idea that the Universe is a simulation, possibly made by our descendants. This doesn't seem like physics - until you read this paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1210.1847v2.pdf

Quantum computing: Talk about a) what it is, in simple terms of course, b) main difficulties with making a real quantum computer, c) discuss D-Wave Systems - a company that claims to have made a usable quantum computer. Discuss the controversy there.

Magnetic monopoles: These are things that shouldn't exist in standard electromagnetism (i.e. Maxwell's equations) - but if you're prepared to change definitions a bit, you can make a case that they've been discovered (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0531103910.htm).

The Kardashev scale: A way of classifying civilizations in the galaxy, based on their available energy. There's plenty of easily digestible material on the internet for this - e.g. Michio Kaku talks about this often. It's also really nice because you get to talk about aliens in a physics presentation.


This is all just off the top of my head - let me know if you need more links/ideas/explanations. =)
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Apollo17
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I'd do an introduction to string theory, maybe its implications or something
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Hanvyj
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How about something every-day.

I liked a lectures a prof did for us on cooking an egg - he went through all the thermodynamic stuff on how to get the centre to a certain temperature and stuff.

Bubbles? Interesting shape, sure there is some cool maths behind them to do with surface tension etc and soap bubbles have that spectral refraction stuff. (forgotten so much since uni T___T)

You have an interesting introduction of "And my presentation is about.... cooking an egg" when everyone else has really dry things like "This is an introduction to string theory..." then quoting Wikipedia.
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white dwarf
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(Original post by hi1345)
What do you think would be more interesting as a presentation, Nikola tesla or an overview of quantum mechanics?
quantum mechanics would just be confusing for them, do something that people will fully pay attention to and enjoy, someone earlier suggested fusion which I think is good, also evolution of stars is cool
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tory88
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(Original post by hi1345)
What do you think would be more interesting as a presentation, Nikola tesla or an overview of quantum mechanics?
An overview of quantum mechanics can have some really interesting explorations (quantum tunneling and wave-particle duality being great examples) but would be harder to boil down into a short presentation. Tesla is the safer option, but overall less interesting.
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hi1345
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(Original post by hdivider)
Some possibly exotic ideas, in decreasing difficulty:

Warp drive: Specifically, explain the Alcubierre Drive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive) in really basic terms, and point to an experiment that NASA is conducting on warp fields (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-J...interferometer). This is a somewhat controversial area - but not ridiculously so. =)

Simulation hypothesis: The idea that the Universe is a simulation, possibly made by our descendants. This doesn't seem like physics - until you read this paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1210.1847v2.pdf

Quantum computing: Talk about a) what it is, in simple terms of course, b) main difficulties with making a real quantum computer, c) discuss D-Wave Systems - a company that claims to have made a usable quantum computer. Discuss the controversy there.

Magnetic monopoles: These are things that shouldn't exist in standard electromagnetism (i.e. Maxwell's equations) - but if you're prepared to change definitions a bit, you can make a case that they've been discovered (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0531103910.htm).

The Kardashev scale: A way of classifying civilizations in the galaxy, based on their available energy. There's plenty of easily digestible material on the internet for this - e.g. Michio Kaku talks about this often. It's also really nice because you get to talk about aliens in a physics presentation.


This is all just off the top of my head - let me know if you need more links/ideas/explanations. =)
wow those are very interesting, any more other ideas? :P
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hdivider
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Well, let's see:

Mathematical universe hypothesis: The notion that 'all structures that exist mathematically also exist physically' - a rather audacious claim. But Tegmark's work on this is insightful (eg http://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/9704009v2.pdf). This is a bit of philosophy thrown into the physics - but without the vague stuff you usually find in philosophy.

The Quantum Bomb: People often point to just 'quantum mechanics' as a really interesting topic, but I think for a short presentation it might be better to talk briefly about a specific interesting quantum phenomenon. The quantum bomb scenario is pretty interesting, but a little hard conceptually. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elitzur...an_bomb_tester) You might want to focus on the experiment performed by Anton Zeilinger - a giant in this sort of field - which is linked in the wikipedia article.

How gravity affects antimatter: Matter and antimatter might behave differently in a gravitational field - and possibly it's not as straightforward as 'one goes up, the other goes down.' We don't really know for sure. There's an interesting experiment though (article: http://ars.to/18la8ok, paper: http://bit.ly/101hh8F). This kind of topic might be nice if you want to cross lots of different areas in physics in one presentation.


You'll find plenty of interesting topics once you go beyond the obvious subject labels (eg 'quantum mechanics' nowadays encompasses a staggeringly huge range of phenomena). Try using open questions in physics as a starting point, instead of subject labels. The stuff we don't know is the stuff that usually has some special mystery about it - and mystery is frequently interesting.
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Joinedup
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(Original post by hi1345)
wow those are very interesting, any more other ideas? :P
anything that allows for pretty pictures and short animations/video is good imo.
Don't just switch over to a 5 minute clip of prof cox tho.

Probably something where you can gather some data, even from wiki and produce your own graphs.

History of nuclear bomb testing?
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Vedanshi
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hey, some really interesting topics for your presentation could be string theory, black holes, quantum teleportation, wormholes.I hope this answers your question and you do well.All the best!!
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alow
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(Original post by Vedanshi)
hey, some really interesting topics for your presentation could be string theory, black holes, quantum teleportation, wormholes.I hope this answers your question and you do well.All the best!!
You're 4 years late.
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Burristiffanie
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I am preparing a presentation and this was helpful thank you!
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