Research Project

Module code: PA3900

This module gives you an opportunity to take part in real scientific investigation, working on an area of active research in a small group, under the guidance of a member of academic staff. Projects can be varied in nature, from computational, theoretical, data-analysis, lab-based, pedagogical, to mixtures, and are offered in a wide range of physics disciplines. Project work is conducted over a ten week period, and in many cases will be an open-ended investigation, without a specific final goal.

You will be allocated to a project, where possible from a list of your preferred options. The Research Project is largely conducted through private study, with regular supervisory meetings to help planning and insight. In addition to the potential for in-depth study of a particular topic, the Research Project provides many opportunities to develop general transferable skills, including but not limited to computer coding, experimental skills, analysis skills, and oral and written communication.

Examples of recent projects include:

  • The evolution of planet-forming discs
  • Scientific visualisation of meteorological analyses
  • Calculating the density of meteorites and asteroids
  • Gravitational collapse in 1 dimension
  • Isolation and identification of graphene
  • Particle swarm optimisation
  • Observations of supernovae
  • An induction coil magnetometer
  • Evidence for the black hole event horizon

Topics covered

  • Maintaining records of sources, notes and references
  • Organising workload and arranging meetings
  • Testing a hypothesis
  • Experimental procedures and good laboratory practice (lab projects only)
  • Software development and testing (computational projects only)
  • Analysing and presenting data
  • Locating appropriate literature sources and interpreting your findings in relation to other work in your subject area

Learning

  • 1 hour lecture
  • 10 hours of project supervision
  • 139 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Progress (30%)
  • Oral presentation (20%)
  • Written report (50%)