2,893 Inspirational Research Project Ideas

Turn inspirations into your passion project.

This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Modeling trends in bat populations

Which states have the highest bat biodiversity? Are bat fatalities due to white nose syndrome more prevalent in New York or Pennsylvania? Is there a significant correlation between bat population declines and areas with wind turbines as the primary energy source? Similar questions about any number of species could be explored using open-source data and a coding platform for exploratory data analysis and visualization.

Biology, Physics, Fluid Dynamics

Brooke
Brooke

The Rebel Project

Have you ever wondered why we do things the way we do them? Why we drive on the left seat while riding on the right lane? Why we call it "going off" when the alarm sound is actually "going on"? It seems like we do certain things just because everybody does them in a standardized way. Well, no more! We are going rogue on these problems! \m/ @[email protected] \m/ While these are just silly examples, there are real questions and learning opportunities around using the "wrong" solution for a given problem. In this project, you'll pick a task in machine learning, scientific computing, programming, math, physics, or something else, that you'll solve using some unconventional approach, and we'll try to get an answer as to why a solution you propose may not be the best approach. Who knows? Maybe you'll find a better way to solve the problem in the end. Here are some examples, with varying degrees of difficulty. You can also propose your own problem: - How many components can we remove before a physics equation becomes useless (e.g., removing wind resistance in free-fall motion) - Arithmetic procedures using different approaches (e.g., multiplication starting with the most significant digit as opposed to the least significant digit) - Passing by reference vs passing by value for primitive values - Representing numbers in IEEE format with varying mantissa and exponent sizes - Using spheres for collision detection as opposed to cubes - Evaluating mathematical expression (e.g., sin, cos, exp, etc.) directly, as opposed to using series expansions

Math, Physics, Comp Sci, Fluid Dynamics

Pedro
Pedro

Characterizing gait types of household pets

At what point does a dog's movement transition from a walk to a run? What stride length and frequency do they use when walking vs. when running? For what portion of a single gait cycle are just two limbs on the ground? Questions like these could be explored with household pets or insects from your backyard using your phone's camera, some motion tracking software, and some practice coding.

Biology, Physics, Fluid Dynamics

Brooke
Brooke

Manufacturing Methods

Students will explore the trade offs between traditional methods and additive methods for complex parts from a variety of fields (with an emphasis on aerospace). Students will develop intuition for choosing methods of manufacturing based on trade offs and engineering requirements.

Physics, Engineering, Fluid Dynamics

Hannah
Hannah

Mechanical testing of various knit architectures

Students will understand the differences between knit architectures and relate these architectures to knit patterns. Students will learn the basics of mechanical/structural testing and understand mechanical property evaluation. Students will gain experience in designing experiments. Students will have the option to extend their study to pattern optimization.

Physics, Engineering, Fluid Dynamics

Hannah
Hannah

Mathematical Modeling Drug Elution from Nanocarriers

Comply resources to describe drug elution, a crucial field of research in drug delivery today, from nanocarriers injected directly in the bloodstream.

Engineering, Physics, Math, Fluid Dynamics

Martín
Martín

Building a resilient water supply for the future

The vast majority of our water supply is reliant on rainfall. as freshwater consumption increases and rainfall becomes more uncertain, more people and places will face extreme drought. How can we utilize alternative sources of water (desalination, water recycling) to build a resilient water supply? You might pick a city of interest and predict how often it will face drought given different water supply portfolios and under various patterns of rainfall and water consumption.

Creative Writing, Physics, Fluid Dynamics

Quantum
Quantum

Tactical Urbanism in your Community!

With Covid19's global impact, the desire for outdoor, socially distant spaces and activities continues to grow. Let's design an outdoor recreation area that educates users on sustainable construction and allows for a variety of socially distant activities in an outdoor setting. Depending on your interest of architectural or civil engineering (or both), we can tackle this problem and incorporate unique urbanizing techniques while addressing sustainable development concerns. We can compile these findings and pitch a project proposal presentation as a deliverable

Engineering, Physics, Creative Writing, Ethics, Music, Fluid Dynamics

Karilin
Karilin

Comparing muscle functions across species

How large is the pectoralis in humans for their body size, and how does that compare to the size of the pectoralis in frogs? Monkeys? Bats? What function does the muscle serve in each species? Why would muscle size vary between species? Do the attachment points vary as well? These are some possible questions that could be explored in a comparative study on any muscle of interest in any species of interest.

Biology, Physics, Fluid Dynamics

Brooke
Brooke

Interactive Shockwave Calculator

When an aircraft is moving at supersonic speeds (i.e., moving faster than the speed of sound), a shockwave forms in front of the aircraft, producing a sonic boom. This shockwave causes a lot of heating, a rise in pressure, and energy to be lost. Because of this, it is important to know how the temperature and pressure rise. This project would be to create a simple, interactive calculator to see how much the pressure and temperature change depending on the speed of your aircraft, and also depending on which atmosphere you are flying in, such as Earth, Mars, or more.

Physics, Engineering, Fluid Dynamics

Raymond
Raymond

Life Cycle Design using 3D, 4D, and 5D Analysis

We can select a project of your choice and move through the projects life cycles using different civil/ construction engineering software to identify, analyze, and propose solutions to potential project challenges. The project can be as small (e.g., your house) or as large (e.g., SF Museum of Modern Art) as the student would like! For every session, we may focus on a unique aspect of the design or construction in chronological order that may include 3D modeling, 4D scheduling, or 5D estimations (note: software is available free of charge to students through Autodesk student licenses). We can work together to determine action items and scheduling impacts of needed work flexible to the students interest/availability. Ultimately, we can compile these findings and pitch a mock project proposal presentation as a deliverable not limited to drawings, models, animations, and other components.

Engineering, Physics, Creative Writing, Ethics, Music, Fluid Dynamics

Karilin
Karilin

Design of a Reconfigurable UAV Test Bed

Students will learn the basics of aerospace structural design. Students will understand the trade offs made in air vehicle design. Students will design a vehicle capable of meeting customer requirements that serves as a multifunctional "flying experiment lab", where various equipment can be tested under flight conditions.

Physics, Engineering, Fluid Dynamics

Hannah
Hannah

Mirror Neutron Stars

Mirror matter is dark matter candidate and one possible way to detect it is if it binds gravitationally with regular nuclear matter to form neutron stars. This project would involve computing the gravitational interaction between the regular and mirror matter components of the neutron star, and making predictions for the star's mass-radius relationship, which can be confirmed observationally.

Fluid Dynamics, AI/ML

Debora
Debora

Impacts of widespread desalination use

Water desalination allows us to turn the oceans and underground aquifers into freshwater sources. There are fears that widespread use of water desalination will irreparably alter local ecosystems and deplete aquifers. Which of these fears are unfounded and which should policy makers be cognizant of? This problem might be approach from two ends. Using mass balance models, calculate how much desalination would be needed to significantly alter the salt content within a particular region. This number can then be compared to projected freshwater use within the same region.

Creative Writing, Physics, Fluid Dynamics

Quantum
Quantum

Mission to Mars

The year is 2028, and just next year the very first team of astronauts is boldly going into the unknown - the first manned mission to the surface of Mars. But how are they going to get there? How long will it take? When should they leave? You'll have to figure all of this out! In this project you will develop a basic model for how a vehicle can get from Earth to Mars (and hopefully back!), figuring out some orbital mechanics, physics, and rocket science along the way. What you focus on is up to you, as this project has many avenues to explore, lending itself rather nicely to a number of optimization problems (e.g. minimum flight duration or minimum fuel burn to name two).

Fluid Dynamics

Christopher
Christopher

Intro to Astronomical Imaging

A huge part of astronomy is working with pictures taken from telescopes! The projects goal is to retrieve archival data, learn how to handle fits images, and derive cloud and/or star information. This project would be a helpful introduction to any aspiring astronomer. Astronomical images would be retrieved from Hubble, Herschel, and Spitzer.

Physics, Fluid Dynamics

Sophia
Sophia