I was done with my second semester examinations in the end of May and with that my first year at the University of Hong Kong had come to an end. I was back home in Mumbai since classes and exams had been moved online as a result of the ongoing pandemic. It was summer and I neither had a research project to work on nor an internship. My friend Soumil, who studies physics with me at HKU, was in the same boat.
We thought that rather than waste away the summer, it would be fun to work on a tough physics problem and possibly write our results in the form of a paper. For the problem itself, we got our inspiration from one of the homework problems from our mechanics class. The problem was related to a system of two particles connected by an elastic string and is projected upwards. We wanted something a little more challenging, so we created our own variation of the problem. Two particles are connected by an elastic string/spring. The system is given an angular velocity and it rotates about its centre of mass. It is then thrown into a projectile path. Our goal was to model the path taken by each of the particles.
We decided that we would start on June 30, which was the date of our second semester results (I did quite well in case you were curious). In the meantime, I did a course on Coursera titled ‘An introduction to numerical analysis’. As the name suggests, it was a course in numerical analysis and methods which proved immensely useful in the project we did.
Overall, it was a really fun experience. I learned quite a lot and was able to apply many of the things I had learned, at university as well as outside. If you are interested in learning more about our results, check it out here.