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Old Nov 3rd 2013, 08:05 PM   #1
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Thesis Source help please....

I am a freshman in college, and I want to continue on to get my degree in physics.

Interestingly enough, the Thesis I need assistance with is for an English paper, not a physics one.

In my English 102 class, we have to write a research paper "on a topic within your major/discipline, as it affects or is affected by video game technology, cellular technology(meaning cell phones, not biological cells), or other local/regional issues." (I live in South East Idaho, for the purposes of "local/regional")

My original thesis idea was "How does modern physics, specifically quantum mechanics, apply to the development of cellular communications?"

The problem is, I cant find very many sources on this, and all of them that I can find are geared towards very specific topics and are still WAY over my head. I have read a lot of books on physics, but its mostly been the "for the laymen" type books (Brief history of time, elegant universe, etc.) I don't yet have the math to come anywhere near what I need to be....

Does anyone have any ideas that could give me a hand....?
(also, we're not allowed to use internet sources, other than .gov or .edu )
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Old Nov 4th 2013, 03:19 AM   #2
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Too ambitious

My suggestion would be to find a (much) easier topic!
If it's an English paper, they are not particularly interested in the science content,
Just in your ability to convey the science content in a clear, understandable, and grammatical manner.
So find yourself a topic that satisfies the brief without stretching you unduly in the Physics arena,
You can then concentrate on getting the paper properly constructed in the English arena.
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Old Nov 4th 2013, 05:49 AM   #3
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You could discuss the Physics behind microchips, circuit boards, etc. But I agree with MBW...you aren't going to be able to go into much of the Physics background of why these things do what they do.

Getting to the most basic concept behind these things you might work with the following: Quantum Mechanical calculations virtually always use the idea of probability. We can only calculate how likely something is. Applied to micro-electronics we only know that a certain percentage of electrons are going to flow in the way we want them to...the circuits are designed from the materials in such a way that most of the electrons are going to do what we want them to.

If you have specific questions about the Physics we might be able to help you. You are welcome to come back and ask. We'll help as best we can.

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Old Nov 4th 2013, 01:50 PM   #4
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Suggestion: there are devices called tunneling diodes that are used in modern electronics - including wirelsss gear -which are based on quantum mechanical behavior of electrons to "tunnel" through an insulating barrier. Do a google or wikipedia search on this to get a couple of backgraound articles. You mention that you have essentially a layman's knowledge of quantum mechanics, which I think that's more than adequate for this. Try to avoid jargon -don't use any terms that you can't easily explain to your grandmother! Remember your task is not to explain how or why tunneling diodes work, but rather describe how they are important to modern electronics.
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Old Nov 14th 2013, 04:34 AM   #5
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The first computer was hosted in a large building and when switched on would cause lights of the city to momentarily dim, is what I have heard, because of the huge amount of power it consumed There is much more processing power on the cell phones that we use now. Those computers used valve technology which did not really require Q.M. All the miniaturization that we see around, from valves to transistors to microchips arose from the study of the band theory of solids, especially semiconductors which is entirely based on Q.M. First atoms were studied and then how the energy levels were affected when they came together to form solids was. This led to the idea of valence and conduction bands, and how "doping" crystals could help us to form basic circuit elements was realized. Then miniaturization stepped in and we arrive at the present scenario. Though when people first studied Q.M., they were often called eggheads as it didn't seem to have any application. Q.M thus directly or indirectly pervades all gadgets we see around us including lasers.
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