2,893 Inspirational Passion 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.
- Comp Sci
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Game Design
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
Cultural Differences in Self-Control Capabilities
Self-control is an ability to change one's behavior according to standards or norms, and individuals seem to differ in the amount of self-control they possess. One open question is how culture may intersect with self-control capabilities, as some cultures are regarded as "looser" or "tighter" than others with respect to the rules or norms that govern acceptable behavior.
Neuroscience, Social, Psychology, Quantitative, Social Science
Earth's Health Gauges
Develop a set of metrics for understanding how Earth is doing with regards to environmental factors, human rights fulfillment, and other key wellness criteria.
Comp Sci, Economics, Quantitative, Social Science
Real Effects of Environmental Disclosures
An important strain of accounting research examines whether accounting has "real effects". For example, researchers may investigate whether accounting regulations affect firms' investment decisions, employees' career decisions or consumers' purchasing decisions. Many accounting regulations require firms to disclose additional information about their operations in the financial statements. For this reason, accounting researchers are particularly interested in the real effects of disclosures. Recently, Google started disclosing the carbon dioxide emissions for flights in its search engine results, as well as whether those emissions are above or below average for a flight with that departure airport and destination. In this research project, I examine whether this environmental disclosure effects individual's flight choices.
Quantitative, Business, Organizational Leadership
Data journalism is a type of reporting and policy analysis that draws extensively on data science and statistical methods in order to conduct policy analysis and make a persuasive argument (For examples, see FiveThirtyEight and The New York Time's Upshot). In this project, I would mentor the student in selecting a topic, crafting an argument, finding suitable data sources, researching relevant academic literature, conducting a statistical analysis, compiling attractive data visualizations and infographics, and writing a persuasive, well-argued article. The final product would be a journalistic product suitable for publication on a personal blog or website, sharing on social media, or even submission to a local newspaper or magazine.
Biology, AI/ML, Quantitative, Medicine
The Life and Death of the Special Attack
One common trend among light novels is the use of special attacks, as the main character progresses older techniques fall out of favor, especially in longer titles with hundreds of chapters. A simple project would be to process a light novel and count the frequency of a special attack. Then we can answer some simple questions: -What is their most-used attack? -What is the longest span of chapters a given technique is used for? -Do technique names become more extravagant as the story progresses? -Do any of the above change between different authors (or maybe the same author but different titles)?
Comp Sci, Quantitative, Math
How social interactions and social networks increase subjective well-being
In this project, we test for underlying mechanisms that galvanize the benefits of social interaction. Across our studies, we ask participants to report how they feel before and after every single social interaction they had over the course of a week. We also ask them to report why they feel the way they did after the interaction. Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, we find evidence that helps understand the benefits to social interactions and can inform interventions in future studies.
Social, Psychology, Quantitative, Social Science
Neuroimaging Classification: a machine learning approach for glioma detection
Given brain MRI scans, the student will apply image processing techniques to get usable black-and-white image image objects and feed them into a classifier to automatically extract tumor information from the scans, thus reducing the burden on imaging specialists by augmenting the task of medical diagnosis with AI and technology.
Comp Sci, Sports Analytics, Quantitative, AI/ML
In this project, I would work with the student to craft their own bioinformatics analysis using biological data - for example, open-source genetic and physiological data, or data from their own wearable device (Fitbit, Apple Watch etc.). I would mentor the student in identifying a topic and hypothesis to research, reading relevant scientific literature, learning new techniques, implementing the analysis, and crafting a final paper. For students with more coding experience, this analysis could incorporate advanced machine learning and predictive modeling techniques, while students with less coding experience could focus on statistical comparisons and correlations. The final product would likely be a scientific report and/or documented software to be shared on GitHub. In addition to bioinformatics, this project would provide the opportunity to learn about preparing a formal scientific article and writing publishable code.
Biology, AI/ML, Quantitative, Medicine
Can you always verify whether a Geometric Mean of a finite collection of numbers equals to one of them?
Constructive Real Numbers CRNs were introduced by the founder of Computer Science Alan Turing. Essentially a CRN is a computer generated sequence of rational numbers about which you know how fast it converges. Constructive Mathematics was developed in two schools founded by Bishop in the USA and by Markov and Shanin in Russia. You are give a finite set of numbers. The easy part of the project is to show that when the numbers are rational it is easy to create an algorithm that verifies if the geometric mean of these numbers equals to one of them. The challenging part is to show that such an algorithm does not exist in general when the numbers are CRNs.
Economics, Quantitative, Math
Sentiment analysis of COVID-19 vaccine tweets
Apply data mining to query and synthesize hundreds of thousands of tweets and perform sentiment analysis to compare which COVID-19 vaccine is most promising in different geographic regions. Compare which side effects are most predominant among Pfizer vaccine recipients versus Moderna vaccine recipients. This project would likely culminate in a Medium article which takes the reader through the project from exploratory data analysis to code implementation, and finally a well-articulated discussion of research findings and limitations.
Comp Sci, Sports Analytics, Quantitative, AI/ML
Can you always verify whether the arithmetic mean of a finite set of numbers equals to its geometric mean?
Constructive Real Numbers CRNs were introduced by the founder of Computer Science Alan Turing. Essentially a CRN is a computer generated sequence of rational numbers about which you know how fast it converges. Constructive Mathematics was developed in two schools founded by Bishop in the USA and by Markov and Shanin in Russia. You are give a finite set of numbers. It is well known that the geometric mean of them does not exceed the arithmetic mean. The easy part of the project is to show that when the numbers are rational it is easy to create an algorithm that verifies if the arithmetic mean equals to the geometric mean. The challenging part is to show that such an algorithm does not exist in general when the numbers are CRNs.
Economics, Quantitative, Math
Using Social Media to Expand Access to Mental Health Support for Teens
About 20% of people will develop mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression, that require mental health care before adolescence. However, more than 80% of these teens will never access the mental health care that they need. Indeed, mental health care is highly inaccessible for teens, as a result of logistical (e.g., cost, transportation) and societal (e.g., mental health stigma) barriers. One solution may be integrating mental health supports into environments within which teens spend a lot of their time. Currently, particularly popular environments for teens are social media platforms, such as Instagram. Thus, there may be benefits to incorporating mental health supports within these platforms. In this research project, your mission is to... (1) Conduct a literature review that covers existing research on efforts to integrate mental health supports within social media platforms (2) Explore the top priorities of social media platform companies and design a proposal for persuading these companies to promote mental wellness among teen users (3) Propose content for the mental health supports based on your review of scientific data (4) Test the effectiveness of a mental health support integrated within a social media platform
Neuroscience, Psychology, Quantitative, Public Health
Spectral graph theory
A graph is just a finite set of vertices, with some pairs of vertices connected by edges. Graphs can be described using matrices. What can the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of these matrices tell you about the graph? A lot, as it turns out! Students will need to know some linear algebra for this project.
Stress and Strain Sensor Design
Sensors that measure forces and change in dimensions are ubiquitous in our day-to-day life, from use in airplanes and cars to monitor the tires and wings to your phone which uses them to enable technologies like Touch ID. All of these complicated sensors, however, boil down to the same set of sensor design principles and physics. In this project, you will learn about these mechanisms and how sensors transform mechanical signals to electrical ones. The project will culminate in designing your own sensor to measure stress or strain and wiring it up to collect the data.
Engineering, Comp Sci, Quantitative
Chicago Food Health Inspection
For all the foodies out there, this is a great dataset to learn more about local and chain restaurants in Chicago. You can stratify the dataset and review inspection infractions based on your interests (like fast food chains). We can even feature engineer additional predictors to help predict whether or not a restaurant will have a violation. If you're not up for model building, we could even create an interactive dashboard solution to help visualize and better understand groups and patterns in the data. It really is all up to you! Dataset: https://data.cityofchicago.org/Health-Human-Services/Food-Inspections/4ijn-s7e5
Comp Sci, Sports Analytics, Quantitative, Statistics
Rent Control in Los Angeles: Past, Present, and Future
This projects explores the development of rent control policy in the City of Los Angeles and how it impacts housing stability and community integration. Students will research the historical root and current discourse on rent control, identify issues in the policy implementation process, and put forward recommendations on how to effectively address the housing needs for people at all income levels.
Quantitative, Social Science
Changes in Well-being Awareness and Health Behaviors in the time of a Global Pandemic
This project seeks to explore how the widespread COVID-19 has changed people's perception of both physical and mental well-being, and whether such changes in attitude has led to changes in health-related behaviors in the daily life.
Scientific Literature Review
Do you want to know what the scientific literature says about somethingyou are interested in? Let's review the scientific literature to support your project with a review of current research of a topic of your interest.
Neuroscience, Quantitative, Linguistics
"Your zip code matters more than your genetic code"
Place matters for your health. Where you grow up, live, work, and play are important predictors of long-term health. In this project, you'll explore how neighborhoods (e.g. economic resources, access to healthy food, green spaces, and education) impact risk for cardiovascular disease AND racial and ethnic disparities. You will learn about public health theories and frameworks, social determinants of health, and health disparities. Students can explore this topic using quantitative or qualitative methods, or both! Quantitative methods include utilizing publicly available, nationally representative surveys such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Qualitative methods include conducting go-along interviews in which students go on a walking tour in neighborhoods with individuals living in that neighborhood.
Quantitative, Social Science, Public Health
A knot is simply a closed loop of string. You'll learn about: How to represent knots on a page. How knots can be combined, and how to find knots that can't be created by combining other knots. Techniques for determining whether or not two knots are distinct, in the sense that neither can be deformed to match the other. Related objects such as links and braids. Applications of knots in physical sciences.