*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
Math is used by many different types of scientists to model phenomenon and evaluate data from an experiment. By building mathematical models scientists can understand how different physical, chemical, and biological processes are affected by different variables. The most important tools are: making a graph to give a visual representation of the relationships between your variables and making an equation to give a way of computing the relationships between your variables. Find a source of data, either from an online database or from your own experiment, and make a mathematical model. Try to make a graph and an equation for your data. How good is it at predicting additional results? Is the relationship linear, dynamic, or exponential? Is your data positively or negatively correlated? Are there any outliers and how do you decide if you should get rid of them? Can you show how to use a graph to evaluate sources of error in an experiment? Can you use your model to propose a hypothesis or theory for the relationship? (Wattenburg, 1998)
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If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Climate Change Analyst
How is climate change affecting Earth? What will the changes mean for society? If these are questions that peak your curiosity, then you might be interested in a job as a climate change analyst. Climate change analysts evaluate climate data and research to determine how shifts in the climate will affect natural resources, animals, and civilizations. They use this information to make suggestions about what individuals and governments can do to ensure a higher-quality life for everyone in the face of a changing environment.
Every country has resources—people, land, raw materials, capital, and machinery—and economists study how those resources are distributed to create the goods that people buy, and the services people need or want. In their studies, economists monitor economic trends and collect data on things like energy costs, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, business cycles, taxes, and employment levels. Based on their analysis of this data, they develop forecasts of economic activity so that businesses and governments can better plan for the future.
Do you like a good mystery? Well, an epidemiologist's job is all about solving mysteries—medical mysteries—but instead of figuring out "who done it" like a police detective would, they figure out "what caused it." They find relationships between a medical condition and things like human behavior, environmental toxins, genes, medical treatments, other diseases, and geographical location. For example, they ask questions like what causes multiple sclerosis? How can we prevent brain cancer? What is the "vector" or animal that is transmitting the hantavirus? Which populations are most at risk from a new flu virus? Epidemiologists work to answer these and thousands of other questions in an effort to reduce public health risks. Their work has the potential to save millions of lives.
Do you watch the news and wonder why and how the governments of different countries make decisions, especially decisions that seem contrary to what you'd expect? You might be a political scientist in the making! Political science is the study of governments, public policies and political processes, systems, and political behavior. Political scientists use both humanistic and scientific perspectives and tools to examine the processes and political dynamics of all of the countries of the world.
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