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Durham University

Department of Physics

Bridge Project

Introduction

Bridge projects are a week-long unscripted laboratory 'invention' activity which allow students to get used to the change from level 1 to level 2 labs. It is a summative component of the level 2 module Laboratory Skills and Electronics which is completed at the end of your first year in the weeks after exams.

Students will be given a list of projects to choose from, and will spend a full week working on their chosen project in teams of typically four students. Each project is supervised by a member of staff, who will provide the students with help and guidance, and teach any new skills required to complete the project. The projects are designed to be as open ended as possible, so you won't be given a lab script to work from!

During the week the teams of students construct an online one-note document about their project, and each student will write individual journal posts reflecting on their progress. Assessment of bridge projects is by a short group presentation based on their one-note document to their supervisor and another examiner, in addition to a continuously assessed mark from the supervisor. There is no written lab report for bridge projects.

Bridge projects in the two weeks immediately after exams in Easter term. In extenuating circumstances (illness, University-approved sporting commitments etc.) an alternative catch-up project will be run at another point during the year. Please note that holidays, music festivals, etc. do not count as extenuating circumstances!

The bridge project counts towards the total mark for the Laboratory Skills and Electronics module, and is compulsory; any student taking Laboratory Skills and Electronics must complete a bridge project.

For students that need to undertake a bridge project, further information will be made available on DUO nearer to the time.

Fig.1: A bridge project building a motor from paperclips

Past Projects

The following are a selection of previous bridge projects

  • A symphony of salt: the curious Chladni plates
  • Actually, it is rocket science. What are the factors influencing the height of a water rocket?
  • Ball Stuck!
  • Build Your Own Particle Accelerator
  • Can some shampoos really make your hair stronger?
  • Can we transmit a laser beam through a hole with size similar to the wavelength of light?
  • Creating an electronic spectrometer
  • Faster than 'g' free-fall
  • Finite time singularities
  • Fluid dynamics of a chocolate fountain
  • From Pendula to Wobbly Bridges: Investigating Resonance
  • Good Vibrations: Theremins and Tannerins
  • How clean is the washing?
  • Imaging the electromagnetic field inside a microwave
  • Knotted soap films
  • Low Tech Motors: How fast can a motor built out of paperclips actually go?
  • Mapping the Universe at High Redshift
  • Measuring the wavelength of light with a ruler
  • Megapixel or not? – Shining some light on modern electronic components
  • Musical Physics – Beats, Speed and Temperament!
  • Mysterious magnetic hum?
  • Particle physics with a cloud chamber
  • Robot wars!
  • Sunspots: Is a Modern Telescope better than Galileo's?
  • Tearing interleaved books apart
  • The extinction paradox
  • The mass of the Black Hole at the centre of the Milky Way
  • The not-so simple pendulum
  • The Physics of Cooling Coffee
  • Things that go bang in the night
  • Using a Poundland remote to control…
  • What is the penny in your pocket made from? An x-ray fluorescence study
  • World's simplest electric train

Fig. 2: An experiment involving making rockets from bottles