Details on Structure of Physics 596

Writing Assignments

Common features of all three papers.

  1. double-spaced text with 12 point type.
  2. numbered pages.
  3. references: cited by first entry -- number or author/title -- of list at end of paper.
  4. consistent style of references; see Guide to Scientific Referencing.
    1. Jounals and books.
    2. Internet references.
  5. Deadlines are 5:00 pm of the day on the assignment sheet. See also deadlines below for short, medium and long papers.

General features of each assignment.

  1. Careful selection of topic. See comments below on each paper: short, medium and long. See also web link for possible topics.
  2. Draft is reviewed by peers (medium paper), grader and instructor. Late drafts will be penalized for lateness and also by excluding author from credit from participating in refereeing process. See article on importance of refereeing in publishing science articles.
  3. Final version should incorporate both the suggestions arising from the reviews and the results of additional study and reflection by the author.
  4. Grade reflects all three processes (see grading policy).

Short paper

  1. Topic must be suitable for short paper and 10-minute talk.
  2. Paper audience is non-technical peers. Technical jargon must be avoided.
  3. Paper should have no equations; however talk should contain one.
  4. 2 pages plus references on a third page if necessary.
  5. Abstract, 4-6 paragraphs text and conclusion.
  6. Deadlines:
    1. Topic: 9:00 am Friday 24 September by email
    2. Draft: In class Wednesday 29 September
    3. Final version: 5:00 pm Thursday 7 October
  7. Short meeting with instructor to discuss graded paper and draft of viewgraphs for short talk.

Medium paper

  1. Topic must be suitable for medium paper and 10-minute talk.
  2. Paper audience is non-technical peers. Technical jargon must be avoided. As in short paper, no equations are allowed, although talk may contain them.
  3. Length: 4-5 pages with one captioned figure plus references.
  4. Abstract and conclusions are mandatory.
  5. Figure: original with a suitable caption. It can be included in the text, but that is not necessary.
  6. Deadlines:
    1. Topic: 9:00 am Tuesday 12 October by email
    2. Draft: 5:00 pm Monday 18 October
    3. Review of peer paper: 10:00am Friday 22 October
    4. Final version: 5:00 pm Wednesday 27 October
  7. Short meeting with instructor to discuss graded paper and draft of viewgraphs for medium talk.

Long paper

  1. Topic: science or technology policy.
  2. Audience: your classmates. So technical level is that of talks. In particular, equations are acceptable. See guidelines on how to write equations.
  3. Purpose: advocate, attack or defend some specific policy or point of view that leads to an action.
  4. Length: 6-8 pages with some illustrations plus references. Abstract and conclusions are mandatory.
  5. Illustrations: original tables and/or figures, each with a suitable caption. They can be included in the text, but that is not necessary.
  6. Deadlines:
    1. Topic: 9:00 am Monday 1 November by email
    2. Sentence outline: 5:00 pm Thursday 4 November (See sample sentence outline.)
    3. Draft: 5:00 pm Wednesday 10 November
    4. Review of peer paper: 5:00 pm Tuesday 16 November
    5. Final version: 5:00 pm Wednesday 1 December

Speaking Assignments

Common features of both talks.

  1. Must use viewgraphs, see guide.
  2. Meet with instructor before talk to discuss draft of viewgraphs and graded paper. This appointment will be scheduled.
  3. Must supply one copy of the viewgraph for the instructor to consult during the talk.
  4. Peer review will be used to assess the grade.
    1. Question/answer session will immediately follow the talk.
    2. The talk and subsequent question session will be assessed by questionnaire filled in by each member of the audience.
    3. Grade reflects both processes and, of course, the talk. See grading policy.
  5. Viewgraph masters supplied even shortly before talk will be quickly transferred to transparencies. Free candy will be given to students providing the viewgraph masters the night before.

10-minute talk

  1. Topic: the same as that of the short paper
  2. Audience: your classmates. So technical level and aim of the talk is different from paper on same topic.
  3. Talk should include one equation. See guidelines on how to write equations. equations.
  4. Schedule: there will be two 10-minute talks per class period.
  5. The actual schedule may be adjusted when the enrollment is stable.

20-minute talk

  1. Topic: the same as that of the medium paper
  2. Audience: your classmates. So technical level and aim of the talk is different from paper on same topic. Talk may contain equations. See guidelines on how to write equations.
  3. Schedule: there will be one 20-minute talks per class period.
  4. The actual schedule may be adjusted when the enrollment is stable.

Requirement to take course and Textbooks

Seminar on selected topics in physics and astronomy; training in written and oral presentations; third writing course.

Au, Sp Qtrs. 4 cl. Prereq: 262 or equiv, Math 255 or 415, second writing course, and jr or sr standing. Not open to students with credit for 595. GEC/LAR course.

Suggested texts: Click on author to see guide to book.
"The Craft of Scientific Writing" by Michael Alley , Springer
"Dazzle 'em with Style" by Robert R H Anholt, Freeman
See Books on Reserve for suggestions of other places to look.


Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
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Edited by: perry@mps.ohio-state.edu on