Welcome to the Physics department's Journal Club, a weekly discussion of a scientific paper starting on Monday 20th April! This is aimed at people aged 16-18 who are studying physics and want to learn more about research within physics. Every Monday, we'll look at a different scientific paper covering completely different aspects of physics to attempt to understand some of the ideas and thoughts at the forefront of scientific thinking.
Once scientists have completed a piece of research (either after finishing an experiment, or by completing a theory, or by establishing a new model or idea), they write up their findings in an article and submit it to a scientific journal. Here it is reviewed by a panel of scientists who would be in some way familiar with the work in order to question its findings and suggest where it could be improved. Once accepted, the research is then published in the journal for the wider scientific community to read.
Our aim here is to showcase some of these papers that have been published over the years. The articles have been hand-picked by researchers at the University of Warwick on the basis of the impact they've had on their careers and how accessible it is to people who are still relatively new to their own explorations of physics.
Reading a paper is a skill, and not like reading a piece of fiction or a newspaper article. To help you, each paper will come with a list of questions to guide your thinking as you read it. You can simply answer the questions from the web page, or print off the downloadable template of Cornell notes for the paper. More information on the Cornell Note Taking System is available. Try and answer the questions as you go along to make sure you understand what's being said. You may need to stop every so often and check what a certain term or theory is all about. That is absolutely fine and should be encouraged! You should be thinking hard about the writing to assess for yourself whether you agree with it, whether it makes sense and whether it is useful. You may not read a paper in one sitting, in spite of them being only a few pages long, because it might take you some time to mull over the implications of what's being said. This is completely normal too! I, for one, still have a pile of research papers that I'm thinking about and haven't quite finished yet.
At the end of each paper, there'll be a chance to summarise what you think are the main ideas of the paper. Each Monday, when a new paper is released, we'll also release the answers to the comprehension questions of the previous week's paper and a few examples of the best summaries that have been written.
We hope you get a lot out of this and enjoy reading about some of the greatest scientific ideas and discoveries first-hand!
Journal Club Resources
- Week 11: Sophia Chen (2018), Kilogram Redefined. The Metric System Overhaul Is Complete