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International Baccalaureate (IB)

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IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.

If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .

IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:

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If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.

What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one‚ÄĒalthough there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.

Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.

The IB Extended Essay must include the following:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography

Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.

As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.

According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.

The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.

Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice
  • Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
  • Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process

Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.

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We'll help you learn how to have those "lightbulb" moments...even on test day!  

What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.

It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.

Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:

  • Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
  • Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
  • English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
  • Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
  • Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
  • Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?

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How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips

Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!

#1: Write About Something You Enjoy

You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)

I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.

But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce‚ÄĒnot the field you choose to research within‚ÄĒwill determine your grade.

Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.

One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).

#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow

There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.

You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won‚Äôt be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps‚ÄĒand the rations provided‚ÄĒwere directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.

I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!

When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.

If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor‚ÄĒit's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...

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Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic

If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.

I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.

Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).

The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.

There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.

Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.

#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.

Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better‚ÄĒand you actually take their advice‚ÄĒthey'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.

Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.

If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.

#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.

Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.

Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
  • Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know‚ÄĒno one wants to work during the summer, but trust me‚ÄĒthis will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
  • November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.

Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)

I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!

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The early bird DOES get the worm!

How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?

Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .

  • Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
  • Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
  • Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)

How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.

Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .

Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate ‚ÄĒyou should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.

30-34 Excellent: A
25-29 Good: B
17-24 Satisfactory: C
9-16 Mediocre: D
0-8 Elementary: E

Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):

A 10.1%
B 24.4%
C 40.8%
D 22.5%
E 1.4%
N (No Grade Awarded) 0.7%

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.

To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .

This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.

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Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .

Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.

Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)

40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.

  • Business Management 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Chemistry 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • Chemistry 6
  • Chemistry 7
  • Computer Science 1
  • Economics 1
  • Design Technology 1
  • Design Technology 2
  • Environmental Systems and Societies 1
  • Geography 1
  • Geography 2
  • Geography 3
  • Geography 4
  • Geography 5
  • Geography 6
  • Literature and Performance 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mathematics 3
  • Mathematics 4
  • Mathematics 5
  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Philosophy 5
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3
  • Psychology 4
  • Psychology 5
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 2
  • Visual Arts 3
  • Visual Arts 4
  • Visual Arts 5
  • World Religion 1
  • World Religion 2
  • World Religion 3

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IB Physics Extended Essay Topics for IB

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  • Writing Metier

What’s up, IB scholars? You’re about to start writing your IB Physics Extended Essay, and I know you’re searching for that killer topic that’s going to stand out. Well, guess what? I’ve got over 100 extended essay topics and research questions ready for you.¬†

You do not need to thank me; you better say thank you to our IB writers at Writing Metier , who have invented and forwarded this awesome list to me for submission.

This isn’t just about getting it done; it’s about crushing it with something you’re passionate about.¬† So let’s get straight to the point and find you Physics EE ideas that will make some noise and show what you’ve got!

100+ Physics Extended Essay Topics

I’m breaking the list into ten categories for IB Physics extended essay topics, each with three subcategories for easier navigation:

  • Projectile Motion (e.g., trajectory analysis, range equations, effects of air resistance)
  • Circular Motion (e.g., centripetal force in different systems, banking angles, conical pendulums)
  • Dynamics of Rigid Bodies (e.g., rotational inertia, torque, angular momentum conservation)
  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat Transfer (e.g., efficiency of different materials as insulators, rate of cooling, Newton’s law of cooling)
  • Gas Laws (e.g., pressure-volume relationship, temperature effects, real vs. ideal gases)
  • Phase Changes (e.g., specific heat capacities, latent heat, cooling curves)
  • Waves and Oscillations
  • Harmonic Motion (e.g., pendulums, mass-spring systems, resonance)
  • Wave Properties (e.g., speed of sound in various media, diffraction patterns, polarization)
  • Sound and Acoustics (e.g., Doppler effect, sound intensity, acoustic properties of materials)
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Circuit Analysis (e.g., Ohm’s law, series vs. parallel circuits, Kirchhoff’s laws)
  • Electromagnetism (e.g., Faraday’s law, magnetic fields around conductors, applications of electromagnets)
  • Capacitance and Inductance (e.g., time constants, LC circuits, energy storage)
  • Modern Physics
  • Quantum Phenomena (e.g., photoelectric effect, electron diffraction, energy levels in atoms)
  • Nuclear Physics (e.g., radioactive decay, half-life, nuclear reactions)
  • Special Relativity (e.g., time dilation, length contraction, mass-energy equivalence)
  • Energy and Power
  • Renewable Energy Sources (e.g., efficiency of solar panels, wind turbine performance, biofuels)
  • Energy Conversion (e.g., internal combustion engines, thermal power plants, regenerative braking)
  • Power Transmission (e.g., electrical grid efficiency, power loss, superconductors)
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Aerodynamics (e.g., lift and drag forces, Bernoulli’s principle, airfoil shapes)
  • Hydrodynamics (e.g., flow rate, viscosity effects, Reynolds number)
  • Buoyancy and Density (e.g., Archimedes’ principle, floating and sinking, density stratification)
  • Astrophysics and Cosmology
  • Stellar Physics (e.g., Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, star classifications, blackbody radiation)
  • Cosmological Models (e.g., Big Bang theory, cosmic microwave background, dark matter)
  • Orbital Mechanics (e.g., Kepler’s laws, satellite motion, escape velocity)
  • Optics and Light
  • Reflection and Refraction (e.g., Snell’s law, critical angle, optical fibers)
  • Lens and Mirror Optics (e.g., image formation, focal length, magnification)
  • Interference and Diffraction (e.g., double-slit experiment, diffraction gratings, holography)
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Radio and Microwave Radiation (e.g., antenna design, signal propagation, communication systems)
  • Infrared and Ultraviolet Light (e.g., thermal imaging, UV radiation effects, spectroscopy)
  • X-rays and Gamma Rays (e.g., medical imaging, radiation therapy, nuclear gamma spectroscopy)

Each of these categories and subcategories can be explored through experiments, data analysis, or theoretical investigation, offering a wide range of possibilities for IB students to develop their IB Physics EE topics.

Mechanics Topics and Research Questions

Projectile Motion

Topic:  The effect of launch angle on the range of a projectile.

Research Question:  How does changing the launch angle affect the horizontal distance traveled by a projectile?

Topic:  The impact of air resistance on the trajectory of a projectile.

Research Question:  To what extent does air resistance alter the trajectory of a projectile compared to the idealized motion?

Topic:  The accuracy of range equations in predicting projectile motion.

Research Question:  How accurately do standard range equations predict the motion of a projectile in a controlled environment?

Circular Motion

Topic:  Measuring centripetal force in a rotating system.

Research Question:  How does the centripetal force required for circular motion change with the radius and speed of the rotating object?

Topic:  The physics of banking angles in road design.

Research Question:  What is the optimal banking angle for a curve on a road to maximize friction and safety at a given speed?

Topic:  Investigating the period of a conical pendulum.

Research Question:  How does the length of the string affect the period of oscillation of a conical pendulum?

Dynamics of Rigid Bodies

Topic:  The relationship between rotational inertia and angular acceleration.

Research Question:  How does changing the distribution of mass affect the rotational inertia and angular acceleration of a rigid body?

Topic:  The conservation of angular momentum in a closed system.

Research Question:  How does the angular momentum of a system change when the moment of inertia is altered?

Topic:  The effect of torque on rotational motion.

Research Question:  How does the application of torque affect the rotational motion of a rigid body with a fixed axis?

Mechanics shows us how things move and what affects them, but when we start talking about thermodynamics, we’re dealing with heat and energy.¬†

It’s like going from watching a ball roll down a hill to understanding why it feels warm to the touch on a sunny day.

Thermodynamics Topics and Research Questions

Heat Transfer

Topic:  Comparing the thermal insulation properties of various materials.

Research Question:  Which material provides the best thermal insulation for a given application, and why?

Topic:  The rate of cooling of a liquid in different environments.

Research Question:  How does the rate of cooling of a hot liquid differ between various environmental conditions?

Topic: ¬†Investigating Newton’s law of cooling.

Research Question: ¬†How closely does the cooling of a warm object follow Newton’s law of cooling in a real-world setting?

Topic:  The pressure-volume relationship of a gas at constant temperature.

Research Question: ¬†How does the volume of a gas change with pressure at a constant temperature, and does it align with Boyle’s law?

Topic:  Temperature effects on the pressure of an enclosed gas.

Research Question:  How does the pressure of a fixed amount of gas change with temperature in a sealed container?

Topic:  Real vs. ideal gases under different conditions.

Research Question:  How do the behaviors of real gases deviate from the predictions of the ideal gas law under high-pressure conditions?

Phase Changes

Topic:  Measuring specific heat capacities of different substances.

Research Question:  How do the specific heat capacities of different substances compare, and what implications does this have for their use in heat storage?

Topic:  The energy involved in the phase change of materials.

Research Question:  How much energy is absorbed or released during the phase change of a substance, and how does this relate to its latent heat?

Topic:  Analyzing cooling curves of substances.

Research Question:  What can the cooling curve of a substance tell us about its phase change properties and purity?

After getting a grip on how heat works, it’s pretty cool to see how that energy gets around. Waves are all about energy transfer, whether it’s the sound from your speakers or the ripples on a pond when you toss a stone.

Waves and Oscillations Topics and Research Questions

Harmonic Motion

Topic:  The period of a simple pendulum.

Research Question:  How does the length of a pendulum affect its period, and does this confirm the theoretical model?

Topic:  The behavior of mass-spring systems.

Research Question:  How do different spring constants affect the oscillation of a mass-spring system?

Topic:  Resonance frequencies in mechanical systems.

Research Question:  At what frequencies do various mechanical systems resonate, and what factors influence this?

Wave Properties

Topic:  Measuring the speed of sound in different media.

Research Question:  How does the speed of sound compare in various gases, and what does this tell us about the properties of those gases?

Topic:  Investigating diffraction patterns through different apertures.

Research Question:  How do diffraction patterns change with the shape and size of apertures?

Topic:  Polarization of light by various materials.

Research Question:  How effectively can different materials polarize light, and what does this indicate about their structure?

Sound and Acoustics

Topic:  The Doppler effect and moving sources.

Research Question:  How does the frequency of a sound wave change as the source moves relative to an observer?

Topic:  Sound intensity levels at different distances.

Research Question:  How does the intensity of sound change with distance from the source, and is it consistent with the inverse square law?

Topic:  Acoustic properties of materials in soundproofing.

Research Question:  Which materials are most effective at soundproofing a room, and how do their acoustic properties contribute to this effectiveness?

Each of these topics can be tailored to fit the requirements of an IB Physics extended essay, with the research question guiding the experimental design, data collection, and analysis.

If you are interested, we also have a list of potential  Physics IA topic ideas  for you. Make sure to check them out as well.

Once you’ve got a handle on waves, you’re ready to see how they relate to electricity and magnetism. It’s like connecting the dots between the vibrations in the air and the current in the wires of your headphones.

Electricity and Magnetism Topics and Research Questions

Circuit Analysis

Topic:  The resistance of series and parallel circuits.

Research Question:  How does the total resistance in a circuit vary with the arrangement of resistors in series and parallel configurations?

Topic: ¬†Verification of Kirchhoff’s laws in complex circuits.

Research Question: ¬†How accurately do Kirchhoff’s laws predict the current and voltage distribution in a multi-loop circuit?

Topic:  The temperature dependence of resistivity in conductors.

Research Question:  How does the resistivity of a metallic conductor change with temperature, and what does this imply about electron scattering?

Electromagnetism

Topic: ¬†Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction.

Research Question:  How does the rate of change of magnetic flux influence the induced EMF in a coil?

Topic:  The magnetic field patterns around different conductor configurations.

Research Question:  How do the configurations of conductors affect the shape and strength of the magnetic fields they produce?

Topic:  The efficiency of electromagnets.

Research Question:  What factors determine the lifting power of an electromagnet, and how can its efficiency be maximized?

Capacitance and Inductance

Topic:  Time constants in RC circuits.

Research Question:  How does the capacitance and resistance in an RC circuit affect its charging and discharging time constants?

Topic:  Resonance in LC circuits.

Research Question: ¬†At what conditions does resonance occur in an LC circuit, and how does this affect the circuit’s impedance?

Topic:  Energy storage in capacitors and inductors.

Research Question:  How do capacitors and inductors store energy, and what factors affect their energy storage capacity?

Electricity and magnetism are pretty easy to see in action, but modern physics? That’s where things get wild. You’re not just looking at what’s in front of you anymore; you’re considering what’s happening on a scale so small or so huge that it bends your mind a bit.

Modern Physics Topics and Research Questions

Quantum Phenomena

Topic: ¬†The photoelectric effect and Planck’s constant.

Research Question: ¬†How can the photoelectric effect be used to determine Planck’s constant, and what does this reveal about the nature of light?

Topic:  Electron diffraction and crystal structure.

Research Question:  How does electron diffraction provide evidence for the wave nature of electrons and the structure of crystals?

Topic:  Energy levels in hydrogen atoms.

Research Question:  How do the observed spectral lines of hydrogen correspond to the theoretical energy levels predicted by quantum mechanics?

Nuclear Physics

Topic:  Radioactive decay series.

Research Question:  How does the decay series of a radioactive isotope correspond to theoretical predictions of half-life and decay pathways?

Topic:  The effect of shielding on radiation intensity.

Research Question:  How effective are different materials at shielding against various types of radioactive emissions?

Topic:  Nuclear reaction energy calculations.

Research Question:  How does the measured energy released in a nuclear reaction compare to the values predicted by the mass-energy equivalence principle?

Special Relativity

Topic:  Time dilation observed in cosmic muons.

Research Question:  How does the observed decay rate of cosmic muons provide evidence for time dilation effects predicted by special relativity?

Topic:  Length contraction and high-speed particles.

Research Question:  How can length contraction be demonstrated or inferred from high-speed particle interactions?

Topic:  Mass-energy equivalence in particle physics.

Research Question:  How does the increase in mass of particles at high velocities provide evidence for the mass-energy equivalence principle?

But even with all that mind-bending stuff, physics isn’t just about theory. It’s also about practical stuff, like how we use energy. From solar panels on your roof to the battery in your phone, it’s all about getting the power we need to do what we want.

Energy and Power Topics and Research Questions

Renewable Energy Sources

Topic:  The efficiency of photovoltaic cells under different conditions.

Research Question:  How do factors such as light intensity, wavelength, and temperature affect the efficiency of solar panels?

Topic:  Performance analysis of wind turbines.

Research Question:  How does blade design affect the efficiency and power output of a wind turbine?

Topic:  The viability of biofuels compared to fossil fuels.

Research Question:  How do the energy outputs and carbon footprints of biofuels compare to those of traditional fossil fuels?

Energy Conversion

Topic:  The efficiency of internal combustion engines.

Research Question:  How do variables such as fuel type and engine temperature affect the efficiency of an internal combustion engine?

Topic:  Thermal efficiency of power plants.

Research Question:  What are the main factors that limit the thermal efficiency of modern thermal power plants?

Topic:  The effectiveness of regenerative braking systems.

Research Question:  How much energy can regenerative braking systems realistically recover during vehicle deceleration?

Power Transmission

Topic:  Electrical grid efficiency and power loss.

Research Question:  How does the distance and cross-sectional area of transmission lines affect power loss in an electrical grid?

Topic:  The potential of superconductors in power transmission.

Research Question:  What are the challenges and potential benefits of using superconductors for power transmission?

Topic:  The impact of load balancing on power grid stability.

Research Question:  How does load balancing affect the stability and efficiency of a power grid?

These topics and research questions are designed to inspire a range of investigations for the Physics Extended Essay, allowing students to delve into both experimental and theoretical aspects of physics.

And speaking of practical, fluid dynamics is all about understanding how liquids and gases move. It’s like figuring out why blowing over a hot soup cools it down or how an airplane stays up in the sky.

Fluid Dynamics Topics and Research Questions

Aerodynamics

Topic:  The effect of airfoil shape on lift generation.

Research Question:  How does altering the curvature and angle of an airfoil affect its lift and drag forces?

Topic: ¬†Application of Bernoulli’s principle to various wing designs.

Research Question: ¬†How do different wing designs in aircraft utilize Bernoulli’s principle to achieve lift?

Topic:  Drag force comparison on streamlined vs. bluff bodies.

Research Question:  How does the shape of an object affect the drag force experienced at different flow velocities?

Hydrodynamics

Topic:  The relationship between flow rate and pipe diameter in fluid dynamics.

Research Question:  How does changing the diameter of a pipe affect the flow rate of a fluid within it, given a constant pressure difference?

Topic:  Viscosity effects on fluid flow in channels.

Research Question:  How does the viscosity of a fluid influence its flow characteristics in narrow channels?

Topic:  Analysis of Reynolds number in predicting fluid flow regimes.

Research Question:  How does the Reynolds number determine the transition from laminar to turbulent flow in a pipe?

Buoyancy and Density

Topic: ¬†Investigating Archimedes’ principle for irregularly shaped objects.

Research Question: ¬†How accurately does Archimedes’ principle predict the buoyant force on objects with complex shapes?

Topic:  The stability of floating bodies and the concept of metacentric height.

Research Question:  How does the distribution of mass affect the stability of a floating vessel?

Topic:  Density stratification in fluids and its impact on layered flow.

Research Question:  How does density stratification affect the movement and mixing of different fluid layers?

From there, it’s a big leap to astrophysics and cosmology‚ÄĒliterally. You go from studying the flow of air around a plane to the flow of galaxies in space. It’s about seeing the bigger picture and our place in it.

If you need Physics paper writing help , we have a separate team of experts who can handle almost any tasks.

Astrophysics and Cosmology Topics and Research Questions

Stellar Physics

Topic:  Analyzing the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for star clusters.

Research Question:  What can the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram reveal about the age and composition of a star cluster?

Topic:  Classification and analysis of star spectra.

Research Question: ¬†How does the classification of stellar spectra correlate with a star’s temperature, luminosity, and lifecycle stage?

Topic:  Investigating blackbody radiation in stars.

Research Question:  How well does the blackbody radiation model fit the observed spectral energy distribution of stars?

Cosmological Models

Topic:  Evidence for the Big Bang theory from cosmic microwave background radiation.

Research Question:  What does the cosmic microwave background radiation tell us about the origins and evolution of the universe?

Topic:  The role of dark matter in galaxy formation and rotation.

Research Question:  How does the presence of dark matter influence the rotational speeds of galaxies?

Topic: ¬†Verifying Kepler’s laws through observation of planetary motion.

Research Question: ¬†How accurately do Kepler’s laws describe the motion of bodies in the solar system?

Orbital Mechanics

Topic:  The energy requirements for satellite launch and achieving escape velocity.

Research Question:  What are the energy considerations and optimal conditions for a satellite to achieve escape velocity from Earth?

Topic:  The effects of orbital perturbations on satellite stability.

Research Question:  How do factors such as atmospheric drag and gravitational influences affect the stability of satellite orbits?

Topic:  Analysis of gravitational slingshot maneuvers in space missions.

Research Question:  How can gravitational assist maneuvers be optimized to increase spacecraft velocity?

But even with our heads in the stars, we can’t forget about light. Optics brings it back down to earth, showing us how light works, whether it’s bending through a lens or bouncing off a mirror.

Optics and Light Topics and Research Questions

Reflection and Refraction

Topic:  The efficiency of optical fibers in transmitting light.

Research Question:  How do imperfections in optical fibers affect the total internal reflection and efficiency of light transmission?

Topic: ¬†Investigating Snell’s law at various interfaces.

Research Question: ¬†How accurately does Snell’s law predict the angle of refraction for different transparent materials?

Topic:  The critical angle for total internal reflection in various media.

Research Question:  How does the critical angle for total internal reflection change with the refractive index of different materials?

Lens and Mirror Optics

Topic:  The formation of images by converging lenses under various conditions.

Research Question:  How does the focal length of a lens affect the properties of the image it forms?

Topic:  The magnification power of compound microscope systems.

Research Question:  How do the focal lengths of the objective and eyepiece lenses in a microscope affect its overall magnification?

Topic:  The aberrations in images formed by lenses and mirrors.

Research Question:  What types of optical aberrations are most prevalent in simple lens systems, and how can they be minimized?

Interference and Diffraction

Topic:  The double-slit experiment and wave-particle duality.

Research Question:  How does the double-slit experiment provide evidence for the wave-particle duality of light?

Topic:  Measuring the wavelength of light using diffraction gratings.

Research Question:  How can diffraction gratings be used to accurately measure the wavelength of light?

Topic:  The application of holography in image storage and retrieval.

Research Question:  How does holography utilize the principles of interference and diffraction to store and reconstruct images?

And light’s just one piece of the whole world of Physics. Electromagnetic waves are everywhere, from the microwave that heats your lunch to the X-rays at the dentist. It’s all part of the same big family that keeps our world connected and our lives running.

Electromagnetic Waves Topics and Research Questions

Radio and Microwave Radiation

Topic:  The design and optimization of antennas for radio communication.

Research Question:  How does the geometry of an antenna affect its radiation pattern and signal reception?

Topic:  Signal propagation in different atmospheric conditions.

Research Question:  How do atmospheric conditions affect the propagation of radio and microwave signals?

Topic:  The effectiveness of microwave radiation in communication systems.

Research Question:  What are the advantages and limitations of using microwave radiation in satellite communications?

Infrared and Ultraviolet Light

Topic:  Thermal imaging and the emissivity of different materials.

Research Question:  How does the emissivity of a material affect its detection in thermal imaging?

Topic:  The effects of UV radiation on various substances.

Research Question:  How does exposure to ultraviolet light affect the chemical structure and properties of different materials?

Topic:  Spectroscopy and the identification of chemical compounds.

Research Question:  How can infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopy be used to identify and analyze different chemical compounds?

X-rays and Gamma Rays

Topic:  The application of X-ray imaging in medical diagnostics.

Research Question:  How do different tissues and materials affect the absorption and transmission of X-rays in medical imaging?

Topic:  Radiation therapy and the optimization of gamma ray dosage.

Research Question:  How can the dosage and targeting of gamma rays in radiation therapy be optimized for cancer treatment?

Topic:  Nuclear gamma spectroscopy and nuclear structure.

Research Question:  What can gamma-ray spectra reveal about the structure and energy states of atomic nuclei?

These topics and research questions are designed to guide students in their exploration of advanced concepts in physics, providing a foundation for a thorough and insightful Extended Essay.

Creating an engaging and contemporary Physics Extended Essay can be particularly rewarding when the topic is relevant to modern situations and challenges. 

Fresh Breath Ideas for Physics IB EE in 2023/2024

Here are 12 topics that connect to current events or recent advancements in technology, along with a brief explanation of their relevance:

The Physics of Electric Vehicles

Investigate the efficiency of regenerative braking systems in electric cars and how they contribute to the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle.

Renewable Energy Harvesting

Analyze the potential of piezoelectric materials in converting mechanical stress from human activities into electrical energy, contributing to sustainable power generation.

Smartphone Sensors

Explore the use of gyroscopes and accelerometers in smartphones for navigation and gaming, and how these sensors rely on principles of mechanics and material science.

Wireless Charging Technologies

Examine the electromagnetic principles behind wireless charging pads and the efficiency of energy transfer at various distances and alignments.

Solar Panel Coatings

Research the effectiveness of anti-reflective coatings on solar panels and their role in enhancing the absorption of light and overall energy conversion efficiency.

Aerodynamics of Drones

Study the impact of drone design on flight stability and energy consumption, which is critical for extending their use in delivery systems and aerial photography.

Physics in Sports Equipment

Investigate the materials and design features that contribute to the performance and safety of modern sports helmets, from bicycles to football.

Thermal Imaging and Disease Detection

Explore the use of thermal imaging in detecting fevers and its potential application in managing pandemics by early identification of symptomatic individuals.

Nanomaterials in Electronics

Analyze the electrical conductivity and properties of graphene and other nanomaterials that are revolutionizing the electronics industry.

Physics of Modern Building Design

Investigate how principles of thermodynamics are applied in the design of eco-friendly and energy-efficient buildings.

Quantum Computing

Study the basic principles of quantum computing and the challenges in maintaining quantum coherence in qubits, which are the fundamental building blocks of quantum computers.

SpaceX and Reusable Rockets

Research the physics behind the reusability of rockets, focusing on the landing mechanisms employed by companies like SpaceX and how they conserve momentum and energy.

Each of these topics is not only grounded in physics principles but also has a wealth of information available due to their current relevance and the ongoing research in these areas. 

They offer a chance to combine theoretical physics with practical application in the modern world, which can be particularly engaging for an Extended Essay.

Need a Hand with Your Physics IB EE?

Hey there, IB students! If you’re stuck on coming up with a topic or diving into writing your Physics IB Extended Essay, don’t sweat it. Our team of IB experts at Writing Metier is here to help you write a custom IB EE on this exciting subject .¬†

Whether you need a spark of inspiration for your topic or you want a custom-written EE following the word count , rubric and criteria that hits all the right notes, we’ve got your back.¬†

Reach out to us at Writing Metier extended essay writing service and have a rest while experts are working on your task.

So, that’s the rundown. Physics isn’t just about equations and lab coats; it’s the stuff all around us, from the smallest particles to the vastness of space. It’s about getting to the heart of how things work, from the every day to the extraordinary.¬†

And the more you learn, the more you see how everything’s linked together in one big, amazing picture.

Free topic suggestions

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Vasyl Kafidoff is a co-founder and CEO at WritingMetier. He is interested in education and how modern technology makes it more accessible. He wants to bring awareness about new learning possibilities as an educational specialist. When Vasy is not working, he’s found behind a drum kit.

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Ultimate Guide to a stellar IB Physics Extended Essay (EE): Tips, Tricks and Expert Guidance!

Ib Physics Extended Essay (EE) Thriving Scholars

Ultimate Guide to the IB Physics Extended Essay

Are you preparing to tackle your IB Physics Extended Essay and looking for impactful topics, insightful writing tips, and expert guidance? You've landed in the right place! This post will provide you with essential information and strategies to help you craft a compelling IB Physics EE.

As an IB Physics student, the task of writing a 4000-word extended essay (EE) is an exciting yet formidable challenge. Selecting a topic that is engaging and manageable is crucial to ensuring your EE stands out. In this blog post, I will walk you through a clear, step-by-step method to develop the perfect IB Physics EE research question.

Ib EE Physics contents

Guide to Develop Your IB Physics EE Ultimate Research Question:

Choose a Broad Topic : Begin with a wide-ranging area of interest, such as the physics of sound.

Generate a Starter Question : Use this question to spark ideas for narrowing your focus.

Formulate Your Research Question : Concentrate on one independent variable and one dependent variable.

Sketch Out a Research Plan : Outline the methods you'll use to explore your research question.

Envision a Potential Outcome : Predict the possible results or conclusions of your study.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you will have a comprehensive plan ready to discuss with your Physics EE supervisor. They will offer further guidance on conducting your practical experiments in your school’s lab facilities.

Choosing Your IB Physics EE Topics

The first step in your EE journey is selecting a topic that not only interests you but also allows you to apply the principles of physics. An excellent IB Physics EE topic should challenge you to think critically and apply scientific theories to real-world phenomena. For instance, exploring the relationship between the viscosity of a fluid and its effect on terminal velocity presents a perfect blend of theory and practical investigation.

How to Write an IB Physics EE

Writing an IB Physics Extended Essay involves several key components. Your essay should start with a clear title that encapsulates your research. Following this, your research question should be precise and presented early in the introduction. It is vital to frame this question in a way that invites scientific investigation‚ÄĒask "What is the relationship between X and Y?" rather than simply stating a hypothesis.

Methods of Approach

You have the choice between a theoretical essay or an experimental study. If you decide on an experimental approach, consider whether you will gather primary data or rely on secondary sources. When using secondary data for your IB Physics EE, ensure you critically assess its accuracy and relevance to your research question. This approach will not only enhance the validity of your study but also demonstrate your analytical skills.

Importance of Theory in IB Physics EE

No matter the nature of your experimental work, it should always be grounded in robust theoretical research. This involves detailed exploration of the relevant physical laws and principles that govern the phenomena you are studying. For example, if your topic concerns the acoustics of an exhaust pipe, you should delve into the physics of sound waves and how they interact with different environments.

IB Physics Extended Essay Tips

Here are some quick tips to enhance your IB Physics EE:

- Keep your research question focused and manageable.

- Ensure your experimental methods are clear and replicable.

- Engage with theoretical concepts to deepen your analysis.

- Avoid overly complex apparatus that might obscure the physics concepts you're exploring.

Ultimately, this post aims to provide a launching pad, illustrating the breadth of potential topics within physics that are ripe for a detailed extended essay. With dedicated research and thoughtful analysis, you can craft a compelling, insightful essay that showcases your enthusiasm and understanding of physics.

Ultimate Sample Topic list to the Physics EE:

Topic 1: The Effect of Temperature on the Electrical Resistance of Metals

Begin with a detailed study of electrical resistivity, focusing on how and why different metals respond to changes in temperature. Review academic literature and scientific texts that discuss the principles of electrical conductivity and the impact of thermal energy on atomic structures in metals.

Experimentation

Design an experiment to measure the resistance of several metals (like copper, aluminum, and iron) at various temperatures. This will involve heating metal wires in a controlled environment and using a multimeter to measure changes in resistance.

Data Analysis

Analyze the collected data to determine how the resistance of each metal changes with temperature. Use graphical representations to highlight the relationship and apply statistical tools to validate the findings.

Results and Conclusion

Conclude by summarizing the relationship between temperature and resistance for the metals tested. Discuss the implications of these findings in real-world applications, such as in electrical engineering and materials science. Highlight the limitations of the experiments and suggest areas for further research.

Topic 2: Investigating the Refractive Index of Liquids with Temperature

Explore the theory behind light refraction and how the refractive index of a substance changes with temperature. Gather resources on the molecular dynamics of liquids and how thermal expansion affects optical properties.

Set up an experiment to measure the refractive index of various liquids (such as water, glycerin, and vegetable oil) at different temperatures using a refractometer or a similar device.

Process the experimental data to examine the correlation between temperature and the refractive index. Utilize models to predict changes and discuss the accuracy of these models compared to the experimental data.

Discuss how the refractive index variation with temperature can affect optical applications, like lens design and optical fiber technology. Consider the experimental design's effectiveness and propose modifications for future studies.

Topic 3: The Doppler Effect and Its Applications

Study the Doppler Effect thoroughly, focusing on its theoretical basis and its applications in various fields such as astronomy, radar, and medical imaging. Review historical development and key experiments that have shaped understanding of the phenomenon.

Conduct experiments to observe the Doppler Effect using sound waves. This could involve recording the frequency of a sound from a moving source at various speeds and distances.

Analyze the frequency changes and compare them with theoretical predictions. Use software tools to simulate the effect under different conditions and compare these simulations with your experimental data.

Evaluate how well the experimental and simulated results align with theoretical expectations. Discuss the implications of the Doppler Effect in modern technology and potential areas for future research.

Topic 4: Measuring the Gravitational Constant Using Simple Pendulum

Review the historical context of gravitational studies and Newton’s law of universal gravitation. Study different methods that have been used to measure the gravitational constant, focusing on the role of pendulums.

Design a series of experiments to measure the gravitational constant using a simple pendulum setup. This involves varying lengths of the pendulum and measuring oscillation periods accurately.

Apply mathematical formulas to calculate the gravitational constant from the experimental data. Compare these findings with accepted values and analyze discrepancies.

Summarize the effectiveness of using a simple pendulum to measure gravitational forces. Discuss potential experimental errors or environmental factors that could affect accuracy and suggest improvements for further experiments.

Topic 5: Photovoltaic Efficiency in Different Light Conditions

Investigate the principles of photovoltaic cells and how their efficiency is influenced by different wavelengths and intensities of light. Explore both theoretical perspectives and practical implementations in solar technology.

Set up solar cells under varied lighting conditions to measure output voltage and current. Use different types of light sources, such as LED, halogen, and natural sunlight.

Analyze how light intensity and type affect the efficiency of the solar cells. Use the data to model performance in real-world solar applications.

Discuss how the findings could impact the design and placement of solar panels in different environments. Evaluate the limitations of the current technology and propose future research directions for improving photovoltaic efficiency.

Each of these topics provides a balance of theoretical background and practical experimentation, suitable for an extended essay in IB Physics that includes historical context and offers scope for innovative investigation.

As IB Puts it:

The IB Physics Extended Essay emphasizes several key aspects:

Practical Experimentation : Students apply theoretical physics principles through hands-on experiments, enhancing their understanding of complex concepts.

Simulation Use : Simulations allow exploration of phenomena that are difficult to study directly, enriching students' understanding and equipping them with valuable computational skills.

Interdisciplinary Approaches : Students are encouraged to incorporate knowledge from other sciences, leading to more comprehensive research projects that prepare them for complex problem-solving.

Peer Review : Engaging with supervisors, peers, and external experts through peer review offers diverse perspectives and improves the quality of research.

Preparation for STEM Careers : The extended essay develops critical skills like analytical thinking and problem-solving, providing a strong foundation for future academic and professional pursuits in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

IB Physics tutoring online ThrivingScholars

Finding an IB Physics Extended Essay Tutor

Sometimes, you might find yourself needing extra help. An experienced IB Physics extended essay tutor can provide you with the guidance necessary to navigate complex topics and refine your writing. A tutor can help you develop a strong theoretical foundation and ensure your essay meets all the critical assessment criteria. If you're seeking specialized IB Physics IA or EE help, Rajat Sir offers tailored IB support to guide you through the process.

Personalized Feedback on IAs and EEs:

Rajat Sir has a proven track record of helping students secure perfect 7s on their Math and Physics IAs. The unique approach includes:

Detailed Review: Send your IA/EE/TOK Essay, and Rajat Sir will provide comments and suggestions.

Interactive Sessions: Engage in voice or Zoom calls to discuss feedback and areas of improvement.

Iterative Process: Work on the suggestions and repeat the process until your IA reaches its highest potential.

If you're at the initial stages or struggling with writing, Rajat Sir can assist in topic selection and the writing phase.

Online Personal Tutoring:

Rajat Sir provides the best IB Phsyics IA tutoring support through online personal tutoring sessions. With firsthand experience of the IB process, Rajat Sir focuses on ensuring students grasp the core concepts and develop the skills needed to excel in their exams.

Tutoring Offered For:

Physics HL / SL

Math (all levels)

Best IB Physics Tutor Rajat sir

The IB Physics Extended Essay is an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of physics and your ability to perform independent research. By choosing a compelling topic, employing a robust methodological approach, and applying critical theoretical perspectives, you'll be well on your way to achieving a high score on your EE. Remember, the journey of exploring, writing, and refining your essay is as important as the final product. Good luck!

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Physics Extended Essay: The Complete Guide for IB Students

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by  Antony W

September 3, 2022

physics extended essay

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Physics Extended Essay in IB. We’ll look at:

  • What Physics EE is all about
  • How to choose a topic
  • The right approach to handling your topic and
  • Physics EE assessment criteria

What‚Äôs Physics EE in IB?  

A physics extended essay is an individual assignment that requires you to utilize a variety of abilities while exploring a topic of personal interest in the discipline of physics.

It focuses on physics within a broader set of scientific standards, and it takes the form of a research that incorporates a hypothesis or model, or a critical analysis that displays argumentation, comparison, or the extraction of pertinent information or data.

How to Choose a Physics Extended Essay Topic 

The first rule when it comes to topic selection is that you must put emphasis on a subject within physics.

In other words, IB students have to ground their extended essays in physical theory and underline the subject's essence.

To write a more comprehensive, extended essay in the subject, you should select a focused, practical, and well-defined topic that allows you to conduct an in-depth analysis.

Avoid broad or complicated subjects, because they will not allow you to explore contradictory views and hypotheses.

Also, a broad topic will not allow you to conduct an in-depth, personal interpretation within the word limit recommended for EE .

Additionally, you should avoid investigating issues that extend outside the bounds of mainstream science, such as metaphysics or pseudoscience. Examples include of investigative issues include:

  • Extrasensory experience
  • The relationship between physics and the existence of God
  • The mysterious forces of pyramids

The IB board considers it helpful if you can specify the subject further in the form of a research question, followed by a statement of purpose that indicates the approach you will employ to answer the question.

If you’re going to focus on an experimental essay, you will need to select a more practical experiment that does not need substantial amounts of time for equipment building.

In some instances, more advanced equipment might create constraints and inhibit the comprehension of a phenomenon. Successful trials will generate the data required for a sound analysis reasonably quickly.

Some Physics Extended Essay topics may not be acceptable for examination due to safety concerns.

For example, you need to avoid topics that requires experiments using hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals, radioactive materials, lasers, microwaves, ultraviolet light, noise, or heavy equipment. 

Physics Extended Essay Writing Help

Do you need help with your Physics Extended Essay but have no idea where to get it online? You can contact Help for Assessment right now.

The  EE writers at Help for Assessment   are ready to offer you the kind of writing necessary to complete your Physics Extended Essay homework on time and score good marks. Whether you need help with topic selection and writing or you already have a topic to work on, you can hire one of our top writers to help you get the work done.

Our Physics Extended Essay writing service involves topic selection, development of a research issue, in-depth research, and writing.

We pay close attention to the Extended Essay requirements to ensure the paper we deliver to you meets the assignment’s scope.

Given that Physics is a technical subject, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to start working on it. Get started early with our writing help.

How to Write a Physics Extended Essay

The primary goal of this type of assignment is to demonstrate a clear understanding of the topic you’ve selected to work on. So to ensure you write the best EE in the subject:

1. Choose the Right Angle to Direct Your Assignment

It’s important to note that your Physic extended essay will need to express an in-depth study into the history or theory of the particular topic. However, it’s different for long assignments I the subject.

For long subjects, you may focus on:

  • Experimental physics: This area focuses on the design and execution of an experiment, followed by personal data collecting and analysis.
  • Data based physics: It focuses on location and extraction of non-student-collected raw or processed data, which is subsequently refined and analyzed.
  • Theoretical physic: The focus is on the formulation of a quantitative or semi-quantitative description of a physical phenomenon, the application of the model, and the prediction of its behavior and limitations.
  • Survey: It involves the construction of a coherent, organized, analytic, and supported (qualitative and quantitative) discussion of the issue

All long physics essays should include an overview of the work's scope and limits.

This should always include a study of any experimental design, data uncertainties and accuracy, mathematical approaches, links to theoretical models, and the dependability and quality of sources.

2. Give a Direct Analysis of Your Research Topic

The essay's body and progression should directly analyze the research topic. 

Experimental essays can help students to demonstrate their critical thinking more clearly, but experimental activity aren’t necessary for the assignment.

However, you must provide a clear theoretical component for each empirical inquiry.

If you include any experimental effort in your Physics extended essay, ensure to document it thoroughly so that other researchers can produce it with identical findings and conclusions.

If you’ve opted to collect data from secondary sources, use it with extreme caution.

Ensure you provide a comprehensive evaluation of the location and credibility of the sources required for databased essays at the outset of the planning process.

You should apply the same scrutiny to this data and the experimental design as if you had gathered the data yourself.

3. Examine Your Research Techniques Thoroughly

A thorough examination of research techniques is necessary in a Physics extended essay.

That’s because it might reveal severe problems in experimental design or data collection that invalidate or at least limit the interpretation of the results completely or in part.

A purely empirical inquiry linking two or three variables without a theoretical basis is unsatisfactory.

For example, if you utilize a computer simulation of a theoretical model, you should extensively analyze the methods devised or implemented and you should compare simulated results to actual events to determine their validity.

If you’re going to write an essay that contains a theoretical model that describes a physical occurrence, your planning should include the beginning postulates, the important stages for running the model, and the simulation results collected.

4. Explain Your Literary Sources Thoroughly

In theoretical, data based, or survey extended essay in Physics, you must include an assessment of the quality and dependability of the literary sources.

You have to have sufficient knowledge of the issue to evaluate the credibility of the sources.

You can accomplish this by researching secondary sources or calculating independently.

Also, you should not be hesitant to discuss opposing viewpoints and share your own thoughts with supporting evidence.

In survey or theoretical essays, appropriate preparation requires examining source material in light of the research topic so that you utilize the opinions of other scientists to support your own thesis, rather than as a replacement for it.

5. Make Your Analysis Clear and Concise

An analysis must supplement data or information rather than merely duplicate it. And you need to make sure you derive interpretations logically from facts or information. 

Your essay needs to include the avoidance of unfounded, far-fetched extrapolation and the acknowledgement of flaws.

The commentary should not simply a restatement of the data. It should produce a strong interpretation of the results, which ones can compare to previously published research on the subject.

Related Readings 

  • Your Only Guide to EE in Computer Science
  • Learn About IB Math EE Here
  • About IB Chemistry EE

Physics Extended Essay Assessment Criteria

The following is the assessment criteria used to gauge the depth and comprehensiveness of your Physics Extended Essay:

Criterion A: Research Question

The criterion requires that your research topic must be relevant to physics as a science, centered on physics and not on ancillary problems, and clearly recognized and prominently presented in the introduction.

Criterion B: Introduction

The introduction should tie the research question to the existing body of knowledge on the topic.

You should not include your personal experience or viewpoint here, as it’s highly unlikely to be helpful at this point.

You should place the pertinent physics concepts within the context of the issue. You need to view the introduction as a chance to be more precise rather than appearing bloaty.

Criterion C: Investigation

The strategy you use for investigation should show a clear pertinent theory as well as an understanding of the inherent uncertainties and limits of procedures and equipment used in the Physics Extended Essay.

Criterion D: Knowledge and Understanding of the Research Issue

The knowledge and comprehension exhibited in a physics essay should go beyond the course or laboratory.

You have to demonstrate that you can use the essential information obtained in the classroom in a new physical environment that necessitates its interpretation.

Criterion E: Reasoned Argument

Students should be aware of the necessity to provide a developing argument in the body of their writings.

In order to persuade the reader of the correctness of one's opinions, you have to include logical and helpful arguments in your work.

Criterion F: Use of Analytical and Evaluative Skills

You must demonstrate a comprehension of the mathematical and statistical correlations automatically generated by systems.

It is necessary to have a thorough and firm awareness of the inherent constraints of an inquiry and their consequences for the results obtained.

Criterion G: Use of Language and Terminologies Relevant to the Subject

The usage of scientific terminology is required throughout your Physics Extended Essay.

To understand the right format, structure, and presentation of a scientific paper, you should study articles from reputable scientific journals and periodicals.

The essential quality of the language is exactness and common expressions such as "function of" and "proportional to" must have specific meanings. You should specify any symbols used in context.

Criterion H: Conclusion

Make sure that the conclusion of your Physics EE develops from the argument and not introduce new or irrelevant material.

It should not duplicate the information presented in the introduction, but rather give a new synthesis in light of the conversation.

The conclusion should indicate how uncertainties in experimental data, the constraints of a model or experimental design, or the reliability of sources affected the outcomes of your work.

Criterion I: Formal Presentation

This criterion addresses the extent to which the essay complies with academic norms about the format of research papers.  

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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5 Easy Steps to Writing the Perfect IB Physics EE Research Question (Including Detailed Examples)

Sally Weatherly explaining how to write the perfect IB Physics research question including detailed examples

As an IB Physics student, the prospect of writing a 4000-word extended essay can be both exciting and daunting. Choosing a topic that is both interesting and feasible can be a difficult task, but it's an important first step in ensuring that your EE is a success.

There’s a certain step-by-step approach you can take to write the perfect  IB Physics EE research question and it’s easy once you know what to do!

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the exact steps you should take to create the perfect IB Physics EE research question. 

Then I‘ll suggest different general topics that are suitable for an IB Physics EE and I’ll narrow down each general topic to give you a focussed research question, with a broad approach and potential outcome for each.

Each IB Physics EE research question in this blog post is generated using the following exact steps:

  • Start with a general topic (e.g. the physics of sound)
  • Write a starter question designed to generate ideas for narrowing down
  • Decide on your research question by focussing only on one independent variable and one dependent variable
  • Outline a broad approach to investigating your research question
  • Brainstorm a potential outcome

Once you have followed these steps - you will have a full and detailed plan to take to your Physics EE supervisor. They will be able to guide you on the next steps for carrying out your practical work in your school laboratory.

One of the great things about studying physics is that it is a subject that is all around us, and it impacts our daily lives in many ways. I’ll be diving into topics like how the design and materials of electric motors impact their efficiency, how the launch angle and velocity of a projectile affect its trajectory, and how the design of a solar panel impact its efficiency.

The research questions and statement of purpose will serve as a starting point for you as you begin to narrow down your topic and determine a suitable method of investigation. You may find that one of these topics piques your interest and you'd like to dive deeper, or perhaps they will inspire you to come up with a topic of your own.

In any case, the goal of this post is to provide you with a starting point and to show you that there are many different topics within physics that are suitable for an extended essay. With the right focus and effort, you can create a well-written, insightful and engaging piece of work that will demonstrate your understanding and passion for the subject.

From roller coasters to solar energy, these topics cover a range of interests and offer plenty of opportunities for in-depth investigation and analysis.

Topic: The physics of roller coasters

Starter question: how do the design and motion of roller coasters affect the rider experience.

This starter question is designed to spark some ideas for you to create your own focussed research question. You could analyse the physics of roller coasters by examining the various components of roller coaster design, such as the shape of the track, the use of G-forces, and the positioning of hills and drops. Explore how these design elements contribute to the sensation of thrill and excitement that riders experience on roller coasters.

Research Question 1: How does the track shape affect the rider's experience in terms of G-forces and sensation of thrill?

Broad Approach: This can be approached using a combination of research, data collection, and analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on roller coaster physics, as well as researching the design and engineering of roller coasters.

Data collection: To investigate the relationship between track shape and rider experience, data needs to be collected on both the design and physical characteristics of roller coaster tracks, as well as the perceptions and experiences of riders. This could involve measuring G-forces on riders as they experience different parts of the track, as well as conducting surveys or interviews with riders to gather subjective data on their perceptions of thrill and excitement.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between track shape and rider experience, or using qualitative analysis to identify themes in the subjective data gathered from riders.

Results and conclusion: Based on the analysis of the data, draw conclusions on the research question, and discuss the outcomes. Identify any limitations of the study, and suggest directions for future research.

Note that, it could be beneficial to visit different roller coaster parks and document the track shape and layout and then gather the data from riders after they ride those roller coasters to investigate the relationship between track shape and the rider's experience in terms of G-forces and sensation of thrill.

Potential outcome: The study may find that certain track shapes, such as steep drops and tight turns, lead to higher G-forces and a greater sensation of thrill for riders.

Research Question 2: How does the placement of hills and drops on a roller coaster track affect rider's perception of speed?

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on roller coaster physics, as well as researching the design and engineering of roller coasters, and the psychology of perception and motion.

Data collection: To investigate the relationship between the placement of hills and drops and rider's perception of speed, data needs to be collected on the track layout and design, as well as the perceptions and experiences of riders. This could involve measuring the actual speed of the roller coaster at different points on the track, as well as conducting surveys or interviews with riders to gather subjective data on their perceptions of speed.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the placement of hills and drops and rider's perception of speed, or using qualitative analysis to identify themes in the subjective data gathered from riders.

Note that, it could be beneficial to visit different roller coaster parks and document the placement of hills and drops on the track and then gather the data from riders after they ride those roller coasters to investigate the relationship between the placement of hills and drops and rider's perception of speed.

Potential outcome: The study may find that strategically placed hills and drops can create an illusion of higher speeds, even if the roller coaster is traveling at a lower velocity.

Topic: The Physics of Sound

Starter question: how do different factors affect the propagation of sound waves .

This starter question is designed to spark some ideas for you to create your own focussed research question. You could investigate the physics of sound by studying the properties of sound waves, such as frequency, wavelength, and amplitude. I will also explore how different factors, such as temperature, humidity, and the presence of obstacles, impact the way that sound waves travel. Through a combination of laboratory experiments and research, you will gain a deeper understanding of the physics of sound and how it affects our everyday lives.

Research Question 1:   How does the sound frequency affect the sound quality and clarity?

Broad Approach: This  can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on the physics of sound and the human auditory system. Research on the relationship between sound frequency and sound quality and clarity in different audio recording, mixing and mastering technique will also help in understanding the subject matter.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between sound frequency and sound quality and clarity, a series of controlled experiments need to be conducted. This could involve recording sounds at different frequencies and then playing them back to listeners, who will be asked to rate the sound quality and clarity. This could be done through A/B testing and/or psychoacoustic test, in a sound-proofed room.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between sound frequency and sound quality and clarity, or using qualitative analysis to identify themes in the subjective data gathered from listeners.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research.

Potential outcome: The study may find that certain frequencies, such as those in the mid-range, are more easily perceived by the human ear and lead to better sound quality and clarity.

Research Question 2: How does the temperature of the environment affect the speed of sound waves?

Broad Approach: This can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on the physics of sound waves, as well as researching how temperature affects the properties of air and other media that sound waves travel through.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between temperature and the speed of sound waves, a series of controlled experiments need to be conducted. This could involve measuring the speed of sound waves at different temperatures in a controlled environment, such as a laboratory or anechoic chamber. The temperature can be controlled by either by using a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system or by using heaters or cooling devices.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between temperature and the speed of sound waves, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of sound waves in different temperature conditions.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research. Additionally, one may also include measurement of the temperature and humidity of the environment to gain a better understanding of the effect of environment on the sound waves.

Potential outcome:  The study may find that humidity and temperature have a significant impact on the speed of sound waves and how they propagate through the air.

Topic: The physics of wind power

Starter question: how does the design of a wind turbine impact its efficiency.

Examine the physics behind wind power generation by studying the design and operation of wind turbines. Focus on how the size and shape of the turbine blades, the height of the turbine, and the wind conditions at the site all impact the efficiency of the turbine. Through research and the collection of data from existing wind turbines, you will explore ways to improve the design of wind turbines and increase their efficiency.

Research Question 1:   How does the diameter of the turbine blades impact the efficiency of wind turbines?

Broad Approach: This  can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on wind turbine physics, as well as researching the design and engineering of wind turbine blades and the relationship between blade diameter and wind turbine efficiency.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between blade diameter and wind turbine efficiency, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a set of wind turbine models with different blade diameters, then measuring their power output, torque, and overall efficiency under controlled wind conditions. The turbine can be tested in a wind tunnel or using a wind simulator.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between blade diameter and wind turbine efficiency, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of wind turbine under different blade diameter conditions.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research. Additionally, one may also consider testing the turbine blades with different wind speeds and turbulence conditions, to understand the behavior of the turbine in different weather conditions, or include measurements on the structural design of the blades and the dynamic response to investigate the relationship between blade diameter and efficiency.

Potential outcome: The study may find that larger diameter blades or blades with a particular design shape lead to improved efficiency in wind turbine performance.

Research Question 2:   How does the height of the turbine above ground level impact the turbine's efficiency?

Broad Approach : This can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on wind turbine physics, as well as researching the design and engineering of wind turbine tower and the relationship between the height of the turbine above ground level and wind turbine efficiency.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between the height of the turbine above ground level and wind turbine efficiency, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a set of wind turbine models with different tower heights, and then measuring their power output, torque, and overall efficiency under controlled wind conditions. The turbine can be tested in a wind tunnel or using a wind simulator.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the height of the turbine above ground level and wind turbine efficiency, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of wind turbine under different tower height conditions.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research.  Additionally, one may also consider testing the turbine under different wind speeds, and turbulence conditions, at different heights above ground level, to understand the behavior of the turbine in different weather and terrain conditions. The study could also include measurements of wind speed and direction at different heights to gain a better understanding of how wind patterns change with altitude, and how that affects the efficiency of the turbine. Other considerations include the effect of nearby buildings, trees, and other obstacles on wind flow, which could affect the results. It could also be beneficial to conduct experiments on different types of turbines, such as horizontal-axis and vertical-axis turbines, to compare the effects of height on their efficiency.

Potential outcome: The study may find that turbines located at a higher elevation, where wind speeds are stronger, have a higher level of efficiency than turbines placed at lower elevations.

Topic: The Physics of Electric Motors

Starter question: how do the design and materials of electric motors impact their efficiency.

Investigate the physics behind electric motors by studying the various components that make up the motor, such as the stator, rotor, and windings. Explore how the choice of materials, such as the type of metal used for the windings, affects the efficiency of the motor. Through a combination of laboratory experiments and research, you will gain a deeper understanding of the physics of electric motors and how they can be optimized for increased efficiency.

Research Question 1: How does the number of poles in an electric motor affect its performance?

Broad Approach : This  can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on electric motor physics, and researching the design and engineering of electric motors, specifically the effect of number of poles on their performance.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between the number of poles in an electric motor and its performance, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a set of electric motors with different number of poles (e.g 2, 4, 6, 8) and then measuring their performance such as speed, torque, power, and efficiency under controlled conditions. This can be done by controlling the voltage, current and load applied to the motor.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the number of poles and the motor performance, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of electric motor under different number of poles conditions.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and  the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research. Additionally, other factors that could also impact the performance of the motor, such as the type of winding and the material of the stator and rotor, should also be kept consistent across all the motors used in the experiments. Furthermore, this experiment can be extended by studying the effect of different numbers of pole on the motor's other characteristics such as its power factor, frequency, and so on.

Potential outcome: The study may find that motors with a higher number of poles tend to run at a higher RPM but with lower torque, while motors with a lower number of poles tend to run at lower RPM with higher torque.

Research Question 2:   How does the winding arrangement in an electric motor affect its performance?

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on electric motor physics, and researching the design and engineering of electric motors, specifically the different types of winding arrangements and how they impact the performance of an electric motor.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between the winding arrangement in an electric motor and its performance, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a set of electric motors with different winding arrangements (e.g. series, parallel, delta, wye) and then measuring their performance such as speed, torque, power, and efficiency under controlled conditions. This can be done by controlling the voltage, current and load applied to the motor.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the winding arrangement and the motor performance, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of electric motor under different winding arrangement conditions.

Results and conclusion: Based on the analysis of the data, draw conclusions on the research question, and discuss the outcomes.

P otential outcome: The study may find that certain winding arrangements such as double layer, single layer and distributed winding may lead to improve performance in terms of high torque and low noise level.

Topic: The Physics of Solar Energy

Starter question: how does the design of a solar panel impact its efficiency.

Examine the physics behind solar energy generation by studying the design and operation of solar panels. Focus on how the angle and orientation of the panel, the materials used to create the panel, and the presence of dust and other obstructions affect the efficiency of the panel. Through research and the collection of data from existing solar panels, you will explore ways to improve the design of solar panels and increase their efficiency.

Research Question 1:   How does the angle of incidence of sunlight on a solar panel affect its efficiency?

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on solar panel physics and technology, as well as researching the effect of the angle of incidence of sunlight on the efficiency of solar panels.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between the angle of incidence of sunlight on a solar panel and its efficiency, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a solar panel and measuring its power output, voltage and current at different angles of incidence under controlled lighting conditions. This could be done by building a setup where the angle of incidence of sunlight can be changed by rotating the panel or by using a sun simulator.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the angle of incidence of sunlight and the efficiency of the solar panel, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of solar panel under different angle of incidence conditions.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research. Additionally, other factors such as the type of solar panel, temperature, and weather conditions should also be controlled or recorded during the experimentation to ensure that the results accurately reflect the effect of angle of incidence on the efficiency of solar panels.

Potential outcome: The study may find that solar panels that are angled towards the sun at an optimal degree, known as the "angle of incidence" have a higher efficiency than those that are not optimally angled.

Research Question 2:   How does the concentration of dust and other particles on the surface of a solar panel affect its efficiency?

Broad Approach: 

can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on solar panel physics and technology, as well as researching the effect of dust and other particles on the efficiency of solar panels.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between the concentration of dust and other particles on the surface of a solar panel and its efficiency, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a solar panel and measuring its power output, voltage and current before and after exposing it to different levels of dust and other particles, under controlled lighting conditions. This could be done by building a setup where dust and other particles are controlled and can be added to the solar panel in controlled amounts.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the concentration of dust and other particles on the surface of the solar panel and its efficiency.

It's important to note that the above approach is a broad outline, and the specific methods used for experimentation, data collection and analysis may vary depending on the resources available and the focus of the research. Additionally, to ensure that the results accurately reflect the effect of dust and other particles on the efficiency of solar panels, it is important to keep the other environmental factors such as temperature and humidity controlled during the experimentation.

Potential outcome : The study may find that a build-up of dust and other particles on the surface of a solar panel can greatly decrease its efficiency, which may require regular cleaning to maintain optimal performance.

Topic: The physics of buoyancy

Starter question: how does the density and shape of an object affect its buoyancy.

  I nvestigate the physics of buoyancy by conducting experiments to study the effect of density and shape on the buoyancy of objects. Analyse how various factors such as temperature, pressure and the properties of the fluid affect buoyancy. Through laboratory experiments and mathematical analysis, gain a deeper understanding of the physics of buoyancy and its applications in everyday life such as in ships and submarines.

Research Question 1: How does the shape of an object affect its buoyancy?

Broad Approach: This can be approached using a combination of research, experimentation, and data analysis.

Research: Before beginning any experiments or data collection, it would be beneficial to conduct extensive research on the subject. This can include reading scientific studies and articles on the physics of buoyancy and fluid mechanics, as well as researching the relationship between the shape of an object and its buoyancy.

Experimentation: To investigate the relationship between the shape of an object and its buoyancy, a series of controlled experiments can be conducted. This could involve building or procuring a set of objects with different shapes (e.g. spheres, cylinders, cones, cubes, etc.) and then measuring their buoyancy by observing how they float in water or other fluids, under controlled conditions. The weight and volume of each object can also be measured to compare the densities as well.

Data analysis: Once data has been collected, it needs to be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. This could involve using statistical analysis to identify correlations between the shape of an object and its buoyancy, or using mathematical models to predict the behavior of an object under different shape conditions.

Potential outcome: The study may find that the shape of an object plays an important role in its buoyancy, and that objects with a more streamlined shape tend to be more buoyant than those with a less streamlined shape.

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I started as a Physics Teacher back in 2004, but soon became obsessed with the possibilities of online learning. I teach everything I know.

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IB Extended Essay Topics: Physics

extended essay topics physics

Stepping into the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program is a significant milestone, and choosing the right Extended Essay topic in Physics can be exciting and daunting. From my years of experience as an IB educator and essay advisor, I’ve seen firsthand how the choice of topic can affect a student’s research. Therefore, in this article, I aim to share insights and ideas on topics for the IB DP Physics Extended Essay.

Understanding the IB Physics Extended Essay

The IB Physics Extended Essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research that culminates in a 4,000-word paper required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

According to the IB criteria, this significant academic task involves students independently researching a topic that sparks their interest in IB DP Physics. It’s an excellent opportunity to investigate a question that captivates you and apply theoretical concepts to practical situations.

The primary aim is not merely to produce an essay but to engage in an exhaustive study showcasing your grasp of physics and enthusiasm for the subject. Now, let’s consider the following aspects of the IB Physics Extended Essay:

  • Scope of Research . It’s essential to select a topic that allows for an in-depth investigation within the constraints of the available resources and the word limit.
  • Application of Theory . The essay should demonstrate how physics theories and concepts can be applied to analyze a specific problem or question.
  • Methodology . A clear and systematic approach to conducting your research is critical. It involves choosing appropriate methods for data collection and analysis.
  • Critical Thinking . Throughout your essay, you should critically evaluate the information, data, and methodologies used.
  • Creativity and Originality . Finding innovative ways to approach your topic can set your essay apart. It’s about posing new questions, exploring novel perspectives, or applying theories in unique contexts.
  • Structured Argument . Your essay should present a coherent argument supported by evidence, leading the reader through your findings to a logical conclusion.
  • Reflection . Reflecting on what you have learned from the research process and how it has affected your understanding of the subject area is a valuable component of the essay.

Remember, the goal is not just to write an essay but to engage in a thorough investigation demonstrating your understanding and passion for the Physics course.

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Physics Extended Essay Topics and Research Questions

Let’s talk about some potential extended essay topics in –óhysics. Quantum mechanics, with its paradoxes and mysteries, offers a rich vein of questions to explore. Additionally, investigating the principles of relativity in everyday phenomena can provide a relatable yet profound topic. Renewable energy projects are increasingly relevant and offer a plethora of research opportunities. Lastly, the vastness of astrophysics allows for endless curiosity and exploration, from black holes to the cosmic microwave background.

IB DP Physics

The best topics for an IB Physics Extended Essay allow you to explore areas where you can apply physical principles, theories, and experimental investigations to answer complex questions. Here are some ideas:

  • The Effect of Winglet Angles on Aircraft Efficiency . How do variations in winglet angles on a model aircraft wing affect its lift-to-drag ratio during flight?
  • Investigating Solar Panel Orientation for Optimal Power Generation . How do different solar panel orientations and angles impact power output in a specific geographic location?
  • Analyzing the Efficiency of Magnetic Levitation in Reducing Friction . How does the use of magnetic levitation affect the frictional forces on a miniaturized model of a maglev train?
  • The Physics of Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change . How do different carbon dioxide concentrations affect infrared radiation absorption in a controlled environment?
  • Exploring the Properties of Non-Newtonian Fluids under Stress . How does the application of varying stress levels affect the viscosity of a non-Newtonian fluid, such as a cornstarch and water mixture?
  • The Role of Antenna Design in Enhancing Wireless Communication . How does the design of a DIY antenna affect the strength and range of wireless signals it receives?
  • The Impact of Crater Size on Meteorite Impact Simulations . What relationship exists between the size of a projectile and the crater it creates in sand, simulating meteorite impacts?
  • Studying the Effects of Temperature on the Elasticity of Rubber Bands . How does changing the temperature affect rubber bands’ elasticity and tensile strength?
  • Investigation into the Optimal Conditions for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Efficiency . Under what conditions does a homemade hydrogen fuel cell operate most efficiently in terms of voltage output?
  • Analyzing the Effectiveness of Different Types of Insulators in Minimizing Heat Loss . How do various household materials compare to thermal insulators in preventing heat loss from a container?
  • The Physics Behind Efficient Bicycle Gear Ratios . How do different gear ratios affect cyclists’ efficiency and energy expenditure under various conditions?
  • Exploring the Influence of Mirror Shape on the Focal Point of Solar Collectors . How does altering the shape of reflective mirrors affect the concentration and temperature at the focal point of a solar collector?
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Electric Motor Speed and Load . What is the relationship between the load applied to an electric motor and its rotation speed?
  • The Effect of Blade Design on Wind Turbine Efficiency . How does the blade design of a model wind turbine affect its power output under controlled wind conditions?
  • Studying the Propagation of Sound Waves in Different Mediums . How do sound waves propagate in various mediums, and how does the medium affect the speed and attenuation of sound?
  • The Dynamics of Pendulum Motion in Non-Uniform Gravitational Fields . How does the length of a pendulum affect its period in regions with varying gravitational strengths?
  • Investigating the Effects of Surface Roughness on Solar Panel Efficiency . How does the surface roughness of photovoltaic solar panels impact their efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity?
  • The Physics of Ice Skating: Friction and Temperature . What is the relationship between the ice’s temperature and the friction coefficient encountered by an ice skate?
  • Evaluating the Impact of Air Resistance on Projectile Range . How do the shape and size of projectiles affect their range in the presence of air resistance?
  • The Efficiency of Piezoelectric Materials in Energy Harvesting . How effective are different piezoelectric materials in generating electricity from mechanical stress?
  • Thermal Conductivity and Building Materials: A Comparative Study . How do different building materials compare in terms of thermal conductivity and energy efficiency in a model house?
  • The Effect of Altitude on the Boiling Point of Water . How does changing altitude affect the boiling point of water, and what implications does this have for cooking at high elevations?
  • Optimizing the Design of a Parabolic Solar Heater . What is the most efficient design for a parabolic solar heater when considering the focal point and surface area?
  • The Role of Resonance in Bridge Oscillations: A Historical Analysis . How have instances of resonance-induced oscillations in bridges influenced modern bridge design?
  • Investigating the Photoelectric Effect in Different Metals . How does the photoelectric effect vary across different metals, and what does this reveal about their electronic structure?
  • The Physics of Musical Instruments: String Tension and Pitch . How does the tension of strings on different musical instruments affect the pitch and quality of the sound produced?
  • The Efficiency of Vertical vs. Horizontal Wind Turbines . Which vertical or horizontal orientation is more efficient for wind turbines in urban settings?
  • The Impact of Battery Temperature on Electric Vehicle Performance . How does the operating temperature of batteries affect the performance and range of electric vehicles?
  • Studying the Refractive Index of Various Liquids Under Temperature Changes . How does changing the temperature of different liquids affect their refractive index?
  • The Physics of Archery: Arrow Dynamics and Material Science . How do an arrow’s material properties and design affect its flight dynamics and accuracy?
  • Analyzing the Radiation Shielding Properties of Martian Regolith . Could Martian regolith be effectively used to shield habitats on Mars from radiation?
  • The Influence of Magnetic Fields on Plant Growth . How do varying magnetic field strengths affect certain plants’ growth rate and health?
  • The Acoustic Properties of Concert Halls . What architectural features contribute most significantly to the acoustic quality of concert halls?
  • The Effectiveness of Heat Sinks in Electronic Devices . How do different materials and designs of heat sinks affect the thermal management of electronic devices?
  • The Correlation Between Solar Flare Activity and Earth’s Climate . Is there a significant correlation between periods of increased solar flare activity and changes in Earth’s climate patterns?
  • The Impact of Wind Turbine Design on Bird Populations . How does the design of wind turbines affect bird mortality rates, and what design modifications can reduce these impacts?
  • The Physics of Long-Distance Space Travel: Propulsion Systems . What are the most promising propulsion systems for long-distance space travel, and how do they compare in terms of efficiency and feasibility?
  • Optimizing Refrigeration Techniques Using Thermoelectric Coolers . How effective are thermoelectric coolers in small-scale refrigeration applications compared to traditional cooling methods?
  • The Physics of Glaciers: Understanding Ice Flow and Melting Patterns . How do the physical properties of glacier ice influence its flow and melting patterns in response to climate change?
  • Electromagnetic Interference in Medical Devices . What levels of electromagnetic interference can disrupt the operation of common medical devices?
  • Light Absorption and Energy Efficiency in Smart Windows . How does varying the light absorption properties of smart windows affect their energy efficiency in different climates?
  • The Dynamics of Satellite Orbits: Stability and Perturbations . What factors most significantly affect the stability of satellite orbits, and how can perturbations be minimized?
  • Physics of Firefighting: Water Stream Dynamics and Heat Absorption . How do the dynamics of water streams from firefighting equipment impact heat absorption in different fire scenarios?
  • Biophysics of Human Circulation: Arterial Blood Flow Analysis . How does arterial stiffness affect blood flow dynamics, and what implications does this have for cardiovascular health?
  • The Role of Physics in Optimizing Solar Cooker Designs . What design elements are crucial for maximizing the efficiency of solar cookers in various environmental conditions?
  • The Efficacy of Anti-Reflective Coatings in Optical Devices . How do different anti-reflective coatings improve the performance of optical devices under various light conditions?
  • Physics in 3D Printing: Material Properties and Layer Adhesion . How do the physical properties of materials affect layer adhesion and the structural integrity of 3D-printed objects?
  • The Efficiency of Different Types of Insulators in High Voltage Applications . What types of insulators offer the most effective performance for minimizing energy loss in high-voltage power lines?
  • The Impact of Sound Frequency on Material Fatigue . How do different frequencies of sound waves accelerate material fatigue in metals and polymers?
  • The Physics of Virtual Reality: Improving Motion Tracking Accuracy . What key physical principles can improve motion-tracking accuracy in virtual reality systems?

These topics and questions provide a starting point for an in-depth exploration of physical concepts, encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the context of real-world applications.

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Writing an IB Physics extended essay is both challenging and enjoyable. Choosing a good topic, completing comprehensive research, and writing a well-structured paper may greatly influence your IB Diploma experience. Remember, this is your chance to demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge of Physics.

By the way, our dedicated team of IB experts can guide students who need help with Extended Essay writing. Contact us for personalized essay assistance.

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extended essay samples physics

A Primer on the IB Extended Essay in Physics

A Primer on the IB Extended Essay in Physics

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), with its high academic standards, has three core components, i.e., EE, CAS, and TOK. Each component has its own challenges. IB Extended Essay in Physics (EE) is a 4,000-word essay-based project that allows students to delve deep into a topic of their choice within the parameters of the IB syllabus.

For those who are passionate about the physical realm of the world, the IB extended essay in Physics provides an opportunity to make an in-depth exploration of a complex physical scientific phenomenon. The following article offers a comprehensive primer on the IB extended essay in physics so that students can streamline their journey without any hassle or bewilderment.

  • Choosing a suitable physics topic

The first and foremost step in this research project on physics is selecting a topic that genuinely interests you. This will keep you motivated throughout the process. It is imperative to choose a topic of your choice, as you will be spending a sufficient amount of time on this particular topic. As physics, as a discipline, comes with a vast variety of topics, it is important to take some time to explore topics that pique your interest.

The key to selecting a suitable topic lies in maintaining a balance between interest and the availability of research and experimental resources. For example, if you are choosing to base your study on MRI scanning in the field of quantum mechanics, you should have relevant equipment to conduct your experiment and research.

  • Formulating a focused research question

After selecting a suitable topic that is also practically feasible, the next step is to formulate a single, focused research question that will become the basis for your entire study. Your research question should be broad enough to allow research and specific enough to be unique and new. A well-drafted research question further helps in formulating clear and concise arguments. With an ambiguous research question, the coherency of the entire essay might be compromised.

  • Conducting experiments and research

This is an action stage. After formulating a research question, the next step is to conduct relevant research and experiments to ensure the authenticity of the extended essay. Gathering information involves reading relevant books, academic journals, scholarly articles, online databases, and interviews with experts in the field. The more you develop your research portfolio, the more diverse your extended essay will be. Research is important to collect evidence for your specific research question and thesis statement.

If your research requires conducting experiments in a laboratory, you should plan and execute them properly and meticulously. You must be aware of the proper methodologies, safety protocols, and control variables. The experiments should be conducted in accordance with established rules and regulations and should involve the collection and recording of empirical data with precision.

  • Structuring Your IB Physics Extended Essay

Presenting the subject matter is as important as the subject matter. Thus, the structure of your extended essay is vital for its presentation. It should follow an unambiguous and logical format.

  • Title Page : The title page should include the title of your essay, your full name, the IB candidate number, and the date.
  • Abstract : A clear and concise summary of your research question and the main argument, i.e., thesis statement, methodologies used, key findings, and conclusion, is to be stated here.
  • Table of Contents : This is the index page where all sections and sub-sections with corresponding page numbers should be written.
  • Introduction : Under this, your thesis statement for your particular research question should be articulated clearly. This section should also include the historical background and relevance of your research question. You should also mention the significance of choosing a particular research topic.
  • Literature Review : A review of existing literature should be stated under this heading, which will demonstrate your understanding of the field.
  • Methodology : A detailed description of all the techniques and methodologies employed in experiments and research. For example, what data collection methods and analytical techniques are used will be mentioned.
  • Results : Articulating your interpretations and analysis by presenting them in a well-organised manner. Students should include visual representations, such as bar graphs and pie charts, to make their extended essay impressive.
  • Discussion : This section states the interpretation of your results, the analysis of their significance, and discusses how they relate to a particular research question.
  • Conclusion : A brief summary of your findings and how they relate to your research question is to be stated here.
  • References : A list of all the sources to which you have referred while conducting your research. Academic style should be used while referencing and citing.

Tips for Success

  • Early bird approach: The Extended Essay requires months of planning and execution, so it‚Äôs imperative to begin early in order to avoid any last-minute hassles. If anything goes wrong early on, you can begin again, which becomes difficult when you already started late.
  • Seek guidance: Keep in touch with your IB supervisors for guidance and criticism. They know what is expected in an extended essay, so you can live up to those expectations under their guidance.
  • Stay organised: Organise your research and writing process by making proper notes and a plan chart.
  • Edit and proofread: After finishing your first draft, take time to review your extended essay. This will help to remove ambiguity and inconsistency in your extended essay. See for grammatical errors, clarity of arguments, etc.

Pro Tip: Take a little break before you start reviewing your first draft. This will give you a fresh perspective on your research.

  • Stay True to Your Research Question: Throughout the essay, you should ensure that your entire essay is relevant to your research question.

Conclusion The IB Extended Essay in Physics is a challenging yet rewarding endeavour. As it explores the physical realm of our known universe, there are ever-so-many intricacies involved. It exposes students to the highly sought-after research skills required in high-level education. This independent research helps students develop a critical and logical way of seeing things.

Happy Researching!

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The Extended Essay guide is the ultimate place to go for all official IB information on this aspect of the Diploma. This gives information about what your responsibilities are as an advisor, the assessment criteria and their clarifications for physics essays. On this site we summarise the requirements and reflect on some physics-specific requirements.

As a quick rule of thumb, remember 4 4 4:

  • 40 hours of work
  • 4 hours of meeting time

extended essay samples physics

The basic requirements of a physics essay make sense:

  • Develop an area of interest
  • Research a framework on which to conduct an investigation (e.g. an equation or law)
  • Data analysis

However, it is important to familiarise yourself and your student with other key aspects of the Extended Essay before kicking off.

Introduction

Towards the end of the first year of their Diploma Programme, all IB students at your school will start to choose their Extended Essay (EE) subject. Some of them might choose physics, which is where you come in! Your supervisee should already be familiar to you as a student of physics already (probably at Higher Level). Regardless of the subject chosen, the essay has a 4000 word limit and should conduct approximately 40 hours of research. This is the time when students get the chance to go deeper into a subject giving you the supervisor the chance to work on a more individual level with the keenest students (in theory!).

Having supervised about 100 essays in 20 years' of teaching the IB, Chris took up the challenge to have a go at doing one himself!  Here are his thoughts...

Although I didn't use the whole 40 hours the experience has given me a new insight into the process that I hope will be useful. Maybe my first piece of advice should be "go write one", its the best way to learn what it's about. My students thought it was pretty cool but wanted to know why I'd waited until they had submitted theirs. Anyway I submitted it to an experienced marker and got an A , now I feel ready to give advice to both supervisors and students. The essay used the same research question that an ex-student of mine had used, I remembered it to be a neat idea so thought I'd have a go at doing the experiments myself. Recently I met the student and he sent me his original essay and gave me permission to post it ( Dusan's essay ). Unfortunately a couple of the images are missing but it still makes sense. He also got an A and I have to admit that his analysis was more thorough than mine.

extended essay samples physics

This will take the form of 3 formal interviews:

  • The first will be early in the process, perhaps during the first hours of data collection and with a sample of writing. This is also to point to check that your supervisee has all the necessary skills for their project (ICT, data collection, research, referencing, writing).
  • The second is an interim meeting, in which you should be intellectually critical of the students' decisions to date and to advise them on the final steps to making a valid conclusion. However, it will probably be too late at this stage to amend the methodological approach.
  • The last is a viva voce, when the student has submitted a final draft of their work.

A written report must be completed by the student after each interview. These reports are signed by the supervisor with brief comments and are submitted to the IB along with the essay. They will be assessed and evidence of a good process with growth in sophistication can get the student 6 out of 34 marks.

Between meetings 2 and 3, you will formatively mark a near-complete draft of the student's work, but without being too prescriptive - there is exemplar guidance in the Guide on the sort of feedback permitted.

Ensure that you liaise regularly with your school's Diploma Coordinator for their in-house supervisor training or to agree to your local procedures (e.g. timing, deadlines).

There are five separate aims that are listed in the IB guide; these are what the student will gain by doing an EE. Essentially an Extended Essay provides the student with the opportunity to:

  • engage in independent research with intellectual initiative and rigour
  • develop research, thinking, self-management and communication skills
  • reflect on what has been learned throughout the research and writing process.

Tthe extended essay should be an opportunity to develop certain skills and experience what it is like to take part in research. It's an introduction to the sort of work that they will be involved in at university. The rest of the IB physics programme is focussed around passing the exam and learning how to fulfil assessment criteria, so this is a brilliant opportunity to go a bit beyond the constraints of the course (but not beyond the constraints of the EE criteria).

Many students will comment on how writing an EE has given them an advantage at university. They already know how to structure an essay, make references, insert diagrams, etc. The process of writing an EE enables the student to develop along the lines of the official aims although not all get to "experience the thrill and excitement".

Interestingly enough there is no mention in the aims of "giving the brilliant student the chance to excel" or "enabling the student to go way beyond the realms of the syllabus" but this is how the EE is sometimes portrayed and that misconception may even have found its way into the minds of some markers. Why would we expect students to be able to write an essay on topics not even touched on in class? The point is they are supposed to use the knowledge they possess to investigate something new. Of course there is nothing wrong with the brilliant student being able to extend their knowledge but this shouldn't be the norm.

There are 10 objectives required in order to meet the aims:

  • To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topic chosen and the research question posed.
  • To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of subject specific terminology and/or concepts.
  • To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant and/or appropriate research sources and/or methods used to gather information.
  • To select and apply research that is relevant and appropriate to the research question.
  • To analyse the research effectively and focus on the research question.
  • To be able to discuss the research in terms of a clear and coherent reasoned argument in relation to the research question.
  • To be able to critically evaluate the arguments presented in the essay.
  • To be able to reflect on and evaluate the research process.
  • To be able to present information in an appropriate academic format.
  • To understand and demonstrate academic integrity.

One thing to note about the aims and objectives is that they are very much about what skills the student is going to develop and what they are expected to do. The job of the supervisor is to give advice and encouragement when needed. The supervisor may meet with the student for 4 of the 40 hours, but most of the time the student is alone. This is deliberate: the student should show initiative and experience what it is like to work independently on a big project. If the supervisor gets too involved then the aims will not be met.

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Physics Extended Essay

extended essay samples physics

I got a B for my extended essay on Physics in 2020. The topic was “ Re-evaluation of the validity of Equal Transit Theory based on empirical data and the specification of commercial aircraft”

[Table of contents]

extended essay samples physics

[Sample excerpts]

1. Introduction

During my participation in a physics summer course, I created a self-designed aircraft and utilized various theories and principles including the Equal Transit Theory in order to calculate the minimum and maximum specifications for the aircraft. The result of calculations based on the Equal Transit Theory seemed strangely large, which led me to reconsider the validity of the theory and its application. After more investigation revolving around the forces that act on a flying body, I found out that the theory was ruled incorrect on NASA education website and decided to further investigate this topic with a simple experiment. Therefore, this essay will focus on the following research question: ‚Äúhow valid is the Equal Transit Theory in comparison to calculations based on commercial aircraft specification and empirical data?‚ÄĚ The relationship between the dimensions of the airfoil and the generated lift force was examined experimentally using a wind tunnel with the hypothesis that the calculated lift force will not equate with the theoretical value of the Equal Transit Theory. First, it is important to examine some key concepts regarding the subject of the essay…

  • Total number of pages : 36 pages
  • Topic : Re-evaluation of the validity of Equal Transit Theory based on empirical data and the specification of commercial aircraft
  • Subject : Extended Essay (Physics)
  • The file is in PDF format.

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Tips on writing an EE in Physics

Tiffany Yang

To help get you started with your Physics EE, here are tips on how I structured mine. Psst..this is quite a long post so bear with me ūüôā

While some would advise staying away from science subjects for your Extended Essay (EE), I feel that if you are interested in pursuing science-related majors in university, it is a rewarding experience. As long as you have a solid plan of what you are going to do and coherently analyze your results, it is definitely NOT impossible to get an A. In fact, to make it seem less daunting, just think of it as an extended IA!

Introduction: Set-Up and Background Information

-Background Information on Problem:  Start with a concise explanation of what inspired you to do this Physics EE. My tip is to relate your experiment to existing problems in your home country. For instance, my EE had the research question ‚ÄúHow does the turbine radius affect the efficiency of a horizontal axis wind turbine?‚ÄĚ and I linked it to Indonesia’s newly inaugurated wind farm, which at the moment, has limited efficiency. My EE could, in theory, be a stepping stone in helping Indonesia have increased turbine efficiency and spend less money on blade material.

I would also recommend writing about your problem’s financial or social factors to show more depth behind your “personal motivation”. Afterwards, slowly build up to your research question. This should take up from ¬Ĺ to 1 page.

-Background information on Idea:  Write about the background information you have found regarding your topic and experiment, including its advantages and drawbacks. Add pictures, if possible, to give examiners a better understanding of what you are doing. Then, relate to how your research can add to the current knowledge of the topic.

-Define and clarify the terms and formulas you are using throughout your EE: Specify what each symbol in the formula means and have their units written.

-Hypothesis: Add necessary scientific information to back up your claims, and don’t forget to cite your sources!

-Set-Up: The set-up can be divided into two sections: Construction & Operation. The “Construction” section is about how you will create your set-up for the experiment, whereas the “Operation” section should be about how you will collect your data. Make sure to be specific and add diagram/ reference photos for more clarity. 

The Experiment

-Technical Data:  Write down all the lengths and measurements of the setup and any other additional information that you think is essential for your report. 

-Experiment Variables:  ‚ÄĘ Independent Variable (IV): You would typically have more IV increments than in your average IA. I had a total of 9 increments. However, you can have more or fewer increments, depending on your experiment’s difficulty and the aim of your analysis.  *Tip: Explain why you chose the specific interval between your increments for more in-depth analysis ‚ÄĘ Dependent Variable (DV): Write what your DV is and how you would measure them ‚ÄĘ Controlled Variables (CV): Write your controlled variables, possible impact on results if not controlled, and plan to control them. Four variables would generally be appropriate since they will be complete enough but not waste too many words.

-Data Collection: Talk about the specifications and details of how you collected data. This is when you will be doing the actual experiment for your EE. Make sure to compile your results into your raw and processed data table (Add sample calculation to your appendix so you won‚Äôt waste words). 

Analysing the Data

-Graphs:  I highly recommend more than one graph. However, try not to exceed four graphs to make sure that you have enough words to explain each graph in detail.

– Analysis: While the analysis portion would differ from person to person, some ideas on how to analyze would be to write about:

– What is the general trend + Possible explanation (Scientific reason)

– Outliers + Error bars + Possible factors that contributed to outlier/ error 

– R 2 value 

– Agree/ Disagree with the hypothesis (To what extent)

To wrap up your Physics EE, summarise your findings: trends, possible reasons for the trend and deviations from the trend. Relate it back to the problem you mentioned in the background information section and what suggestions you have for that problem based on your results.

Have at least five systematic and random errors (combined). Write about what the error was, how it affected your data and suggestions to improve.

Lastly, what experiments can be done to further support or test your data results in the future?

Whew… That was quite a lot of information to take in. Have fun with your extended essay, and though it takes up a lot of your time, you will undoubtedly learn new things from it. Good luck!!

You might also like…

  • More IBlieve insights into the EE are available here
  • R ead Nikki’s overview of Physics HL here .
  • Find samples of Physics EEs with scores & annotations here .

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How many pages should the EE be?

Hello Aariz! The EE is a 4000-word essay, so word count is more of a priority compared to page number!

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  • Problem of the Week

During each week from 2002 to 2004, I posted a problem on this page. Some problems are new, and some are classics. Half of them are physics (the odd weeks), and half are math (the even weeks). In most cases they're quite difficult. After all, I call them "Problems of the Week," and not "Problems of the Hour"! Many of the math problems can be found in my book: The Green-Eyed Dragons and Other Mathematical Monsters . And many of the physics problems can be found in my classical mechanics textbook  for the Physics 16 course here at Harvard.

-  David Morin

Week 90 (5/31/04) (The game of NIM)
Week 89 (5/24/04) (Rope between inclines)
Week 88 (5/17/04) (Ladder envelope)
Week 87 (5/10/04) (Leaving the hemisphere)
Week 86 (5/3/04) (Shifted intervals)
Week 85 (4/26/04) (Tower of cylinders)
Week 84 (4/19/04) (Poisson and Gaussian)
Week 83 (4/12/04) (The brachistochrone)
Week 82 (4/5/04) (Standing in a line)
Week 81 (3/29/04) (Rainbows)
Week 80 (3/22/04) (Nine divisible by 9)
Week 79 (3/15/04) (Propelling a car)
Week 78 (3/8/04) (Infinite square roots)
Week 77 (3/1/04) (Relativistic momentum paradox)
Week 76 (2/23/04) (Crawling ant)
Week 75 (2/16/04) (Hanging chain)
Week 74 (2/9/04) (Comparing the numbers)
Week 73 (2/2/04) (Chain on a scale)
Week 72 (1/26/04) (Find the foci)
Week 71 (1/19/04) (Maximum trajectory length)
Week 70 (1/12/04) (Painting a funnel)
Week 69 (1/5/04) (Compton scattering)
Week 68 (12/29/03) (Tower of circles)
Week 67 (12/22/03) (Inverted pendulum)
Week 66 (12/15/03) (Bowl of spaghetti)
Week 65 (12/8/03) (Relativistic cart)
Week 64 (12/1/03) (Attracting bugs)
Week 63 (11/24/03) (Minimal surface)
Week 62 (11/17/03) (Leftover dental floss)
Week 61 (11/10/03) (Falling rope)
Week 60 (11/3/03) (Cereal box prizes)
Week 59 (10/27/03) (Getting way ahead)
Week 58 (10/20/03) (Coins and Gaussians)
Week 57 (10/13/03) (Throwing a beach ball)
Week 56 (10/6/03) (Stirling's formula)
Week 55 (9/29/03) (Fixed highest point)
Week 54 (9/22/03) (Rolling the die)
Week 53 (9/15/03) (Circles on the ice)
Week 52 (9/8/03) (Construct the center)
Week 51 (9/1/03) (Accelerating spaceship)
Week 50 (8/25/03) (Equal segments)
Week 49 (8/18/03) (Falling chimney)
Week 48 (8/11/03) (The hotel problem)
Week 47 (8/4/03) (Sliding ladder)
Week 46 (7/28/03) (The birthday problem)
Week 45 (7/21/03) (Sliding along a plane)
Week 44 (7/14/03) (Relatively prime numbers)
Week 43 (7/7/03) (Infinite Atwood's machine)
Week 42 (6/30/03) (How much change?)
Week 41 (6/23/03) (Speedy travel)
Week 40 (6/16/03) (Staying ahead)
Week 39 (6/9/03) (Viewing the spokes)
Week 38 (6/2/03) (Sum over 1)
Week 37 (5/26/03) (Bouncing down a plane)
Week 36 (5/19/03) (Monochromatic triangle)
Week 35 (5/12/03) (Rising hoop)
Week 34 (5/5/03) (Counterfeit coin)
Week 33 (4/28/03) (Ball rolling in a cone)
Week 32 (4/21/03) (The game show)
Week 31 (4/14/03) (Simultaneous claps)
Week 30 (4/7/03) (Difference of powers)
Week 29 (3/31/03) (Balls in a semicircle)
Week 28 (3/24/03) (Rectangle in a circle)
Week 27 (3/17/03) (Relativistic cookies)
Week 26 (3/10/03) (Drunken walk)
Week 25 (3/3/03) (Maximum deflection angle)
Week 24 (2/24/03) (Verifying weights)
Week 23 (2/17/03) (V( ) versus a hill)
Week 22 (2/10/03) (Trading envelopes)
Week 21 (2/3/03) (Ball on turntable)
Week 20 (1/27/03) (Collinear points)
Week 19 (1/20/03) (Block and bouncing ball)
Week 18 (1/13/03) (Distribution of primes)
Week 17 (1/6/03) (Icosahedron of resistors)
Week 16 (12/30/02) (Letters in envelopes)
Week 15 (12/23/02) (Maximal gravity)
Week 14 (12/16/02) (Find the angles)
Week 13 (12/9/02) (Unchanged velocity)
Week 12 (12/2/02) (Decreasing numbers)
Week 11 (11/25/02) (Break or not break?)
Week 10 (11/18/02)   (Product of lengths)
Week 9 (11/11/02)   (Fractal moment)
Week 8 (11/4/02)   (Sub-rectangles)
Week 7 (10/28/02)   (Mountain climber)
Week 6 (10/21/02)   (Flipping a coin)
Week 5 (10/14/02)   (The raindrop)
Week 4 (10/7/02)   (Passing the spaghetti)
Week 3 (9/30/02)   (Balancing a pencil)
Week 2 (9/23/02)   (Green-eyed dragons)
Week 1 (9/16/02)   (Basketball and tennis ball)

© 2004 by David Morin 

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Purdue University Graduate School

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Constraining Explosion Physics and Progenitors of Transients via Statistical Inferencing of All Sky Survey Data Streams

Advancements in astronomical imaging all-sky surveys are revolutionising the field of time domain astronomy. However, the immense volume of alert data presents a critical bottleneck in maximizing scientific returns from these surveys. Effectively analyzing alert streams to discover transients in unexplored physical parameter spaces is crucial for enhancing scientific output. Building robust infrastructure to identify, prioritize, and execute efficient follow-up strategies on alert streams from all-sky surveys becomes critical. My thesis confronts this challenge through a multidisciplinary approach, by integrating statistical methods, machine learning algorithms, and hydrodynamical simulations to constrain transient explosion properties and motivate effective follow-up initiatives.

I analyze a sample of 45 Type II supernovae from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) public survey using a grid of hydrodynamical models in order to assess whether theoretically driven forecasts can intelligently guide follow-up observations supporting all-sky survey alert streams. I estimate several progenitor properties and explosion physics parameters, including zero-age main-sequence (ZAMS) mass, mass-loss rate, kinetic energy, 56 Ni mass synthesized, host extinction, and the time of the explosion. This work involves simulations of real-time of evolving incomplete light curves of the sample (‚ąÜt < 25 days, ‚ąÜt < 50 days, all data) leading to the conclusion that certain physical parameters exhibit greater reliability as indicators of true values during early epochs. This study emphasises the vital role of real-time modeling of transients, supported by multi-band synthetic light curves tailored to survey passbands, for identifying interesting transients based on their progenitor and explosion properties and determining critical epochs for follow-up observations.

In my thesis, I report multi wavelength observations and characterization of the ultraluminous transient AT 2021lwx (ZTF20abrbeie; aka‚ÄúBarbie‚ÄĚ) identified in the ZTF alert stream, that was flagged as an anomaly by the Recommender Engine For Intelligent Transient Track-ing (REFITT). From a spectroscopically measured redshift of 0.9945, and slowly fading g and r light curves spanning over 1000 observer-frame days that peak with an absolute magnitude of Mr = ‚ąí25.7 mag, AT 2021lwx has an extraordinary peak pseudo-bolometric luminosity of log (Lmax/[erg/s]) = 45.7. The total radiative energy is over 10 53 erg, and as of today, the transient continues to decline slowly following a t ‚ąí5/3 power-law. Modeling available photometry with MOSFiT suggests that AT 2021lwx is a tidal disruption event (TDE) candidate involving a ‚Čą 14 or 15 solar mass star accreting onto a supermassive black hole (SMBH) with mass M BH ‚Čą 10 8 solar mass. But, intriguingly, no host galaxy associated with the theorized SMBH is detected yet. The Pan-STARRS non-detections do not definitively exclude the existence of a galaxy hosting AT 2021lwx. Utilizing EzGal, upper limits on the stellar mass for different stellar population models were determined. These upper limits suggest that a 10 10 solar mass host galaxy cannot be ruled out.

The enhanced sensitivity of upcoming large-scale all-sky surveys enables the early detection of transients, providing unique insights into their progenitor systems, an example being detection of shock cooling emission (SCE) in light curves of stripped-envelope supernovae(SESNe). Leveraging a statistically significant sample of these events with early detections from all-sky surveys presents an invaluable opportunity to constrain their environments, pro-genitors, and explosion properties. In my final study contributing to this thesis, I analyze a sample of 16 SESNe identified from the ZTF survey, characterised by prominent shock cooling emission features in their light curves. By modeling the SCE and the radioactive peak in these transients, I derive estimates of progenitor radius, mass of the extended envelope and explosion properties of SESNe. This analysis yields upper limits and ranges for the compactness and envelope structures of the SESN progenitors that exhibit SCE in their light curves. I conclude my thesis with a summary of the findings and their future applications.

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  • Physics and Astronomy

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  • West Lafayette

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  • Stellar astronomy and planetary systems

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China Becomes First Country to Retrieve Rocks From the Moon’s Far Side

The Chang’e-6 mission’s sample, which might hold clues about the origins of the moon and Earth, is the latest achievement of China’s lunar exploration program.

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By Katrina Miller

Katrina Miller reported on China’s launch of the Chang’e-6 mission in May.

June 28, 2024: This article was updated to add details about the lunar sample that were announced after its original publication date.

China brought a capsule full of lunar soil from the far side of the moon down to Earth on Tuesday, achieving the latest success in an ambitious schedule to explore the moon and other parts of the solar system.

The sample, retrieved by the China National Space Administration’s Chang’e-6 lander after a 53-day mission, highlights China’s growing capabilities in space and notches another win in a series of lunar missions that started in 2007 and have so far been executed almost without flaw.

‚ÄúChang‚Äôe-6 is the first mission in human history to return samples from the far side of the moon,‚ÄĚ Long Xiao, a planetary geologist at China University of Geosciences, wrote in an email. ‚ÄúThis is a major event for scientists worldwide,‚ÄĚ he added, and ‚Äúa cause for celebration for all humanity.‚ÄĚ

Such sentiments and the prospects of international lunar sample exchanges highlighted the hope that China’s robotic missions to the moon and Mars will serve to advance scientific understanding of the solar system. Those possibilities are contrasted by views in Washington and elsewhere that Tuesday’s achievement is the latest milestone in a 21st-century space race with geopolitical overtones.

In February, a privately operated American spacecraft landed on the moon . NASA is also pursuing the Artemis campaign to return Americans to the lunar surface, although its next mission, a flight by astronauts around the moon, has been delayed because of technical issues .

China, too, is looking to expand its presence on the moon, landing more robots there, and eventually human astronauts, in the years to come.

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Fernández Blanco, A.; Moreno, Y.; García-Hernández, J.; Hernández, M. A Photonic Immunosensor Detection Method for Viable and Non-Viable E. coli in Water Samples. Microorganisms 2024 , 12 , 1328. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms12071328

Fernández Blanco A, Moreno Y, García-Hernández J, Hernández M. A Photonic Immunosensor Detection Method for Viable and Non-Viable E. coli in Water Samples. Microorganisms . 2024; 12(7):1328. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms12071328

Fernández Blanco, Ana, Yolanda Moreno, Jorge García-Hernández, and Manuel Hernández. 2024. "A Photonic Immunosensor Detection Method for Viable and Non-Viable E. coli in Water Samples" Microorganisms 12, no. 7: 1328. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms12071328

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    The Extended Essay guide is the ultimate place to go for all official IB information on this aspect of the Diploma. This gives information about what your responsibilities are as an advisor, the assessment criteria and their clarifications for physics essays. On this site we summarise the requirements and reflect on some physics-specific requirements.As a quick rule of thumb, remember 4 4 4:

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    Discover How Hong Kong's 2022 E-Cigarette Ban Impacts Public Health And Economy In This Insightful IB Economics HL Extended Essay Sample. Dive In For Key Insights! Economics HL. A. 116 Likes. ... And Learn How To Measure Planck's Constant In This Sample IB Physics SL Extended Essay. Physics SL. B. 141 Likes. 20 mins read. 3996 words. English.

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  23. Problem of the Week

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  24. Constraining Explosion Physics and Progenitors of Transients via

    In my final study contributing to this thesis, I analyze a sample of 16 SESNe identified from the ZTF survey, characterised by prominent shock cooling emission features in their light curves. By modeling the SCE and the radioactive peak in these transients, I derive estimates of progenitor radius, mass of the extended envelope and explosion ...

  25. Tanglin LibGuides: IB Extended Essay (EE): Physics

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