Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description

Spherical Data Display

(supervisor: Tom Knight)

Nature of project: experimental, software

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.

Project description and methodology

Much of the data that we, as physicists, accumulate has to be viewed after it has been projected into 2D. However, some loss of information must occur as a function of these projections in the form of unwanted distortion. This project proposes to utilise a hemispherical surface as a display for the appropriate information. For example, the Cosmic Microwave Background, star-maps, Earths surface maps, spherical wave function solutions, etc.

The prototype combines a projector and fish-eye lens to cast the projected image onto the interior surface of a diffuse domed surface. The student would be required to further develop the prototype's application, passing real-world data into the software and render it to the curved display.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The project can be taken further by further developing the prototype itself, constructing a user-interface to manipulate the displayed data and/or quantify the performance of the display.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: In addition to the expectation of rendering real-world data, students would have to approach the challenge of quantifying the performance of the display.

Please speak to Tom Knight (tmk08) if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. http://eclecti.cc/computergraphics/snow-globe-part-one-cheap-diy-spherical-projection
  2. https://www.pygame.org
  3. https://matplotlib.org/
  4. PM26020 Mathematical Physics

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

Particularly novel application. Difficulty proportional to the extent of application (particularly the software elements). Additional assistance available for component housing prototyping.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Familiarity with python and external librariesend of November
Components setup constructedChristmas
Grid projected into Displayend of February
Simple application to real dataEaster

Students taking this project will have to submit a full risk assessment form