- Learning
about a new area of physics, mastering new equipment or new mathematical
techniques, reading relevant literature, taking data, performing analysis,
understanding your results, organizing and giving three oral presentations,
and writing a thesis is a challenging assignment for one semester. The
15-weeks will go by very quickly. You must get started right away and work consistently if this
project is to be successful. It is important that you become the owner of
your research project and it is up to
**you**(with your advisor’s help of course) to keep your project moving and to give it direction.

- You will give three oral presentations.
- In the first talk you will introduce the audience to your field of research, describe what you have done so far and what you expect to accomplish by the end of the term. This presentation is an opportunity for you to get suggestions from faculty and other students about your research. Plan for a ~12 min talk, and we will have additional time for questions and discussion. End this talk with a ‘timeline’ that shows the audience how you plan to organize your time during the rest of the semester.
- Your second presentation will be a progress report. What have you accomplished? What has gone according to plan and what has surprised you? Again, end with your timeline for the remaining weeks of the semester.
- The organization and content of the final talk will probably be similar to that of your thesis and you will be working on both at the same time. This presentation will be a ~20min formal conference-style talk with emphasis on results and analysis.

- Background section of your thesis is due about mid-way through the semester.
- A written thesis is due during reading period. The organization will depend somewhat on whether you are doing a one-semester or full-year project, and your will work with your advisor to develop an outline for the paper. The lengths of senior theses vary. Typically they are 50±20 pages including figures. Don’t worry about the length very much. If you have done a semester’s worth of work, write about it in detail and your paper will come out to be the right length.
- The final grade for 550 will be decided based on the following measures:
- engagement
- productivity
- independence
- understanding
- oral presentations
- thesis

- Halfway through you will receive a mid-term evaluation from the department based on the criteria listed above and on the first presentation.
- Good luck with your senior project and have fun. This can be one of the most rewarding of your time at Hamilton.