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PX424 Physics Group Project

Organiser: Geetha Balakrishnan

Weighting: 15 CATS

The researching, evaluation and presentation of scientific information are important skills that you used in the 2nd year Physics Skills module. This project is designed to further develop these skills.

Your class will be divided into groups each of about six members. Each group will then be assigned a topic to be researched and reported on, and they will also each be allocated a member of Academic Staff who will act as a both a mentor and an assessor. The group will then meet regularly (at least weekly on a formal basis but probably more regularly informally) to assign individual tasks and collate information. Towards the end of the ten weeks you will give an oral presentation on the part of the problem you have investigated to the rest of your group (and perhaps others). The group will then organise the production of the final written report which will be assessed.

The overall assessment will be based on the oral presentation and the report mark, as apportioned by the group members.

This module is available only to MPhys students.


This module should provide experience of working as a member of a team, of taking responsibility for a component of a team activity and acting as chairperson and secretary, all of which can be important skills in future careers. The project will also provide the chance of studying in-depth some particular field of physics at the research level.


At the end of this module you will have developed skills in:

  • working as a member of a group to assess a complex task and divide the work required between the members of the group
  • achieving competence in a specialised topic (outside the lecture modules) by reading relevant background and research material
  • discussing the relationship of the results of your investigations with those of your group colleagues
  • expressing your results in a written form, which integrates with the contribution of your colleagues, to give a unified report
  • giving a formal presentation of your work to the other members of your group


The class will be divided into groups with about six members. Each group will be allocated a topic which should be wide-ranging and include sub-themes. A member of Academic Staff will act as group mentor. Each group will appoint, in rotation, a chairman and a secretary from among their number, and will have a formal meeting (with their group mentor) once each week. They may also decide to meet informally (perhaps in sub-groups) if they wish. Having obtained any necessary preliminary information, the group will allocate tasks to the individual members, and review progress on the problem at the subsequent weekly meetings.

Towards the end of the ten weeks each member of the group will give a formal presentation on their part of the problem to the other group members. The group mentor, with one other group mentor, will award a mark for this presentation (25%). The group will then arrange for the production of a joint Report of a maximum of 30 typed pages in which the contributions of the group members are combined together. The Report itself will be assessed by the group mentor and one other group mentor (50%). The group mentor will also award a mark for each student's contribution to the group activities (25%).

The primary function of the mentor (as well as assessing the work done by the individual members and by the group as a whole) will be to provide, when asked, general advice on the group's strategy for producing the oral presentations and the final report.

Staff Contact: Weekly meetings during term 2

Student Commitment: Approximately 150 hours including additional meetings and researching and writing time.

Assessment: Oral presentation 25%, Group Contribution 25%, contribution to formal report 50%.

This module has a home page.