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Topics For High School Physics Research Papers


Positrons and Dust Grains

Positron emitters are embedded in clouds of dust grains produced by supernova. This project will explore the transport of positrons in dust grains using Monte-Carlo techniques to improve our understanding of positron transport in an astrophysically relevant setting.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Daniel Murtagh

Search for supernova-signatures on Earth

Detection of supernova‐produced (radio)nuclides in terrestrial archives gives insight into massive star nucleosynthesis; when and where are heavy elements formed. Direct observation of radioactive nuclides from stars and the interstellar medium would provide first experimental constraints on production rate.s We will use the most sensitive technique, accelerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Anton Wallner

Nucleosynthesis in the laboratory - how elements are formed in stars

A fundamental scientific question is a better understanding of the elemental abundances and the isotopic pattern of our solar system which is a fingerprint of stellar nucleosynthesis. We perform nucleosynthesis in the laboratory at the ANU via a new and powerful tool, accelerator mass spectrometry, to elucidate open questions in these processes.

Dr Anton Wallner

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Foundations of light particles in liquids

Although much progress has been made in understand how electrons and positrons move throughout liquids, one cruicial property, V0, the "background energy" is poorly understood. This project aims to calculate V0 using an ab initio model.

Dr Daniel Cocks

The signature of large-amplitude vibrational motions encoded into small polyatomic molecular spectra

This project uses the Australian National University's world-leading state-of-the-art spectrometer to examine state-resolved chemistry, which has been a target of chemical physics for several decades.  It will verify the long suspected existence of large amplitude vibrational eigenstates organised along the isomerization path, that are the signatures of the "holy grail" of chemical dynamics. This provides for previously unimagined schemes for efficient, rationally designed external control of chemical reactions.

Dr Stephen Gibson

Attosecond time-resolved atomic reactions

We apply the most advanced quantum-mechanical modeling to resolve electron motion in atoms and molecules on the atto-second (one quintillionth of a second) time scale.  Our theoretical modeling, based on a rigorous, quantitative description of correlated electron dynamics, provides insight into new physics taking place on the atomic time scale.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets, Dr Igor Ivanov

Optical quantum memory

An optical quantum memory will capture a pulse of light, store it and then controllably release it. This has to be done without ever knowing what you have stored, because a measurement will collapse the quantum state. We are exploring a "photon echo" process to achieve this goal.

Dr Ben Buchler

Positrons and Dust Grains

Positron emitters are embedded in clouds of dust grains produced by supernova. This project will explore the transport of positrons in dust grains using Monte-Carlo techniques to improve our understanding of positron transport in an astrophysically relevant setting.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Daniel Murtagh

How does a quantum system reach equilibrium?

The idea of equilibration is ubiquitous throughout nature. Out-of-equilibrium dynamics – be it caused by a disturbance and subsequent “rethermalisation”, or by passing through a phase transition – is a difficult question to characterise. This project looks at both equilibration and phase transitions in a Bose-Einstein condensate of metastable helium atoms.

Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

Modelling free-ion hyperfine fields

Motivated by exciting prospects for measurements of the magnetism of rare isotopes produced by the new radioactive beam accelerators internationally, this computational project seeks to understand the enormous magnetic fields produced at the nucleus of highly charged ions by their atomic electron configuration.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi


Protein structure: new topological methods

The notion of protein secondary and tertiary structure is a loose one, that deserves a deeper look. Some proteins are considered to be highly structured in their usual folded state, others lack well defined structures. We are interested in the basic question "what is structure in a folded protein chain"?

Professor Stephen Hyde


The energy lansdscape of folded spheres, assuming elastic membranes and sticky inner surfaces, will be explored. 

Professor Stephen Hyde

Photonic bandages

In collaboration with Dr. Steve Lee from CECS, this project uses low coherence interference signals in an optical coherence tomography system for 3D imaging of porous materials.  The aim is to implant these materials for in vivo monitoring of the healing process of a wound.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Roland Fleddermann

Clean Energy

Engineering in Physics

Fibre optic sensing arrays

This project has a strong industry focus and investigates using an array of fibre optic interferometers for acoustic sensing.  It relies on the ultra-sensitivity of these devices and the array's ability to triangulate the source of an acoustic signal to target a range of applications.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam

Environmental Physics


Nanobubbles are simply nanosized bubbles. What makes them interesting? Theory tells us they should dissolve in less than a second but they are stable for days. Additionally, they have lots of interesting properties being implicated in medical treatments and cleaning technologies.

Professor Vincent Craig

Surface forces and the behaviour of colloidal systems

We measure the basic forces that operate between molecules that are manifest at interfaces. These forces control the stability of colloidal systems from blood to toothpaste. We use very sensitive techniques that are able to measure tiny forces with sub nanometer distance resolution. Understanding these forces enables us to predict how a huge variety of colloidal systems will behave.

Professor Vincent Craig

Fusion and Plasma Confinement

Lorentz forces in a tokamak

In this project we will examine the forces generated in superconductoring magnetics, and scope the forces generated during a disruption.

13 Awesome Physics Research Paper Topics For High School

Physics is a broad topic that focuses on matter and the way that it moves throughout all of time and space. Within a high school curriculum, however, the study of physics often focuses on kinetic energy, atomic energy, and scientific laws and theories. If you need to write a research paper related to this broad area of study, here are 22 different topics to help get you started.

  1. The Violation of Einstein’s Photoelectric Effect Model
  2. - Discuss the two separate cases when the principles behind this model were violated. Explain the physics for both.
  3. Thermal Energy of an Air Conditioner
  4. - While air conditioners pump thermal energy from cold to hot, they still follow the same process as thermal energy transfer. Explain this in detail.
  5. Natural Gas Substitution
  6. - Explain the growing need for natural gas and which energy-producing substitutes are viable. You can include solar or wind power, hydropower, nuclear power, oil, and/or coal.
  7. The Rise of Solar Energy
  8. - Explain how solar energy is harvested and if it is as efficient as natural gas.
  9. Newton’s Role in the Scientific Revolution: Gravity
  10. - Discuss how Sir Isaac Newton developed the principle of gravity and how he helped shape the field of physics.
  11. The Relationship between Galileo’s Theory of Motion and the Medieval Times
  12. - The ideas that the theory of motion is built upon include concepts such as velocity, acceleration, time, and space, which were theorized about during Medieval times. Discuss the relationship.
  13. Einstein and His Many Roles in Physics
  14. - Einstein is very well known for the equation E=mc2, but his role in physics did not stop there. Discuss his other theories of relativity and how he affected the field.
  15. Newtonian Physics
  16. - Discuss Sir Isaac Newton and his role in physics, known as classical mechanics.
  17. The Salinity and Density of Water vs. Specific Gravity
  18. - Research the relationship between water density and salinity and specific gravity. Experiment using an aquarium and then write about it.
  19. The Speed of Light
  20. - Research how long it takes stars to burn out and how long it is until you see them.
  21. Rainbows and Visible Light
  22. - Consider how the mind views visible light on the spectrum and how rainbows are created.
  23. Lightening vs. Thunder
  24. - Why does lightening hit before the sound of thunder? How can you use this to describe the speed of sound vs. the speed of light?
  25. The Carousel and Centrifugal Force
  26. - How does this fun amusement ride work? Explain centrifugal force.

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