Specialist Research Project
Module code: PA4900
This module gives you an opportunity to take part in real scientific investigation, tackling open research questions under the guidance of a member of academic staff. The 4th year Advanced Research Project is an independent scientific investigation, carried out over a thirteen-week period. Projects can be varied in nature, for example, computational, theoretical, data-analysis, lab-based etc. or some mixture, and are offered in a wide range of physics disciplines. They will usually be open-ended and flexible, without a specific final goal, and indeed you will usually be able to determine the direction that the project takes.
You will be allocated 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, such as: computer coding, experimental skills, analysis skills, oral and written communication.
Examples of recent topics include:
- Growing supermassive black holes
- What effect does a black hole have on the Higgs Mechanism in the Standard Model?
- Calculation of the conductivity in 2D graphene layers
- Finding the first stars
- Discovering extra-solar planets in the Next Generation Transit Survey
- Synchrotron spectroscopy of Martian and cometary samples
- Definition and design of a student-led Leicester CubeSat mission
- Frequency and severity of extreme weather in the UK
- Modelling a Zombie Apocalypse
- Agent Based Models: Applications of Physics to Complex Social Systems
- The Cassini Grand Finale: What Lies Inside the Rings of Saturn?
- Floating brains in space
- Independent research/study skills
- Locating relevant research materials
- Working at a sustained pace
- Maintaining records of work done and sources used
- 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
- Absorbing information from a range of sources, and preparing your own take on this information
- Writing an extended report discussing the project findings and the wider context