Suggested Topics for Astronomy Research Paper

Astronomy quite literally puts the entire universe at your disposal when you are assigned a research paper. Picking a topic can be overwhelming when you look up into the sky and think of the billions of star and dollars that have been spent on astronomical research. That research provides valuable access to your own inquiry into multiple topics and ideas that were not even known about half a century ago. 

The astronauts and the historically significant unmanned missions may get all the glory and fame, but much of what is known about the universe among astronomers has been gleaned not from what was found off the globe, but right here on earth. Thousands of meteors fall to earth every year and these specimens provide a wealth of information about the materials created billions of years ago that formed the planets and satellites studied by astronomers. 

Pluto may have been officially disqualified as a planet a few years ago, but debate still exists over this decision. A research paper into astronomy could attack this topic from the angle of whether the International Astronomical Union’s decision to downgrade Pluto was correct scientifically speaking or whether it was a questionable decision based upon its impact on the educational system. Since the decision was made, thousands of school supplies have become obsolete. 

Astronomers have been looking toward the skies and consulting their star maps for centuries to try to find a correlation between an astronomical event and the Star of Bethlehem. This research paper could cover the history of these attempts, try to find a possible explanation by itself or examine the larger philosophical issue of whether a science like astronomy should be used to prove issues of faith. 

The media attention given the Mayans and their calendar spelling out worldwide doom in 2012 means a likely increase in research papers on astronomy that delve into that pre-Columbian civilization. The Mayans were not alone in studying the cosmos and that provides an ample opportunity to turn in a paper that covers the same territory without being too similar to another person’s. Research papers could focus on Incan, Chinese and Egyptian astronomy.  

The Hubble Constant measures the rate of expansion of the universe. Ultimately, what the Hubble Constant accomplishes is to provide a measurement of the fractional increase for the scale of the universe in unit time. The problem is that the precise value of this measurement is still being debated and remains uncertain. A research paper could examine the topic of uncertainty in astronomy or it could merely provide an extensive explanation for why the Hubble Constant is such a vitally important element in astronomical study.  

Ideas for an Academic Research Paper

College classes range from broad-based undergraduate requirements to very specific electives that may focus on anything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to sexual reproduction of single-cell organisms found only in freshwater. Research paper topics follow this top-down approach to give you the opportunity to write about a topic so broad that it is impossible to cover in just 10 pages or a topic so precise that you may have trouble finding resources to cover a 5 page paper.

Standardized Testing

Standardized testing assumes a general line of knowledge at certain age for all students regardless of social background and individual development. An interesting topic for a research paper on education would be to examine how effects other than age contribute to intellectual development to analyze whether standardized testing is an inherently unfair method of testing.

Cosmetic Addition

It sometimes seems as there is an addiction out there for everybody. One of the most recent additions to the long list is makeup addiction. A research paper into this topic could begin by questioning whether spending more money than you need on cosmetics actually qualifies as an addiction. If your research leads you to agree that this is an actual disorder, you could delve into the causes of makeup addiction. A more expansive research paper could analyze whether this type of addiction is another symptom of adverse reactions on women’s self-esteem by the advertising industry.

Ahhh! Real Life Zombies

The Night of the Living Dead and 24 _____ Later movies have created a new concept of the zombie as a dead person rising from the grave to eat brains. The real life inspiration for zombies paints a much different story and it is a story that is considered intensely real and authentic. This research paper topic will take you into the strange world of voodoo as well as the almost mundane world of using neurotoxins derived from the puffer fish.

How NASCAR Evolved from Regional to National Obsession

NASCAR stock car racing is a national sport today that enjoys lucrative television contracts and produces millionaire races. As recently as the early 1990’s, NASCAR was still very much a regional sport enjoyed mostly in the southern US. You could write a research paper that seeks to explain exactly how NASCAR became such an enormous sport in America almost overnight after languishing in relative isolation for decades. Focus on the marketing strategies and seek to draw a parallel to the collapse of national interest in Indy-style racing during the 1980’s.

How to Write a Marxist Critique: Jaws

It may strike some people as amazingly at how easy it is to apply a Marxist critique to any text.  What those people don’t seem to get—and will probably never get—is how right on the target Karl Marx was in his critique of capitalism.  And that’s why it’s ridiculously easy to apply Marxist principles to literature and film.  If you are going to write a Marxist critique as a college term paper the overriding thing you must remember is in a Marxist paper everything can be boiled down to how economics drives the plot. Many works of literature lend themselves easily to a Marxist interpretation, but by way of example I shall use a text not normally associated with something as profound as a Marxist critique. 

Steven Spielberg burst onto the theatrical film scene with the original summer blockbuster, Jaws.  When one normally reads a review of that movie, it is framed—for reason I simply do not get—in terms of a horror movie.  I’ve never really gotten why Jaws makes list of scariest movies ever.   Of course, that famous movie about the shark attacking Amity Island also lends itself quite well to a psychological reading of the text, placing the shark within its confines as a horror movie character as the Other that must be destroyed or annihilated before its threat to the normalcy of society succeeds in tearing it apart.  But I reject that reading as being far too facile. 

Better, I think, is to take the shark at its most contemporary symbolic.  What do we call a salesperson who preys upon the witless dupes who don’t know any better?  Yeah, a shark.  A shark is someone—often a lawyer—who has no scruples and looks out only for himself.  In other words, join me now: a capitalist!  But a Marxist critique of Jaws must dig much deeper than mere symbolism. How?  By coming up on shore to look for sharks.  Let’s face facts, the real villain—the truly frightening creature—in the movie isn’t the shark.  The shark, after all, isn’t acting out of malice, but only survival.  He is pure instinct, going to where the food is.  On the other hand, take the Mayor.  This guy is the real shark here; he cares not a wit about the fact that a man-eating shark is terrorizing the island, gobbling up naked girls here and little boys there (even the death of a little dog doesn’t bother this dude).  What is really at stake for the Mayor in Jaws isn’t the loss of population, but the loss of summer profits.   I come from an area where it’s summer ten months out of the year.  It always amazed me that the summer season on Amity Island didn’t even seem to start until July 4th.  But now, of course, I realize that winter weather presents a very small window of opportunity that far north.  You either make your money during that window or you die.   

That small window for profits is all-important to the Mayor in Jaws.  His job depends upon getting re-elected and in turn that chance for re-election depends not upon keeping the population at full number, but on making sure those cash register ring and ring throughout the summer season.  That, in a nutshell, is what Marxist critique is all about; following the money and finding how economics drives the narrative.  A shark in the water doesn’t make for a great movie; witness the multiple sequels.  Yes, there is much to be said for the fact that the original bears the talents of Spielberg, Dreyfuss, and Shaw, but ultimately what turns the original from a rather mindless updating of the 1950s style beast from the fathoms type movie is the introduction of a dramatic dialectic that posits two opposing interests against each other.  There is the humanistic concern of Chief Brody and Matt Hooper and then there is the capitalist interests of the business owners and the Mayor.  It is here where the true genius of Jaws lies.  

One of the film’s audience members who recognized the Marxist critique of capitalist interests that drive the conflict at the center of Jaws was Fidel Castro himself.  It is said that Castro told Francis Ford Coppola that Jaws was one the best American movies he’d ever seen, containing as it did a strong indictment of the moral chasm at the heart of the free enterprise system.  Even the ending presents a celebration of liberalism over conservativism.  In the end it isn’t the capitalist entrepreneur Captain Quint who kills the shark and saves the town, it’s slightly more liberal Chief Brody and the seriously more liberal Matt Hooper who swim triumphantly toward the shore as they wonder what day it is. 

That day, in fact, is one of reckoning.  Jaws contains the irony of being one of the most commercially successful films ever while condemning the very excesses for which it is celebrated.