Physics 3333/ CFB 3333 Research Paper Topics

These are only suggestions. Feel free to submit your own topic for approval.
  • Claims thatColon Flow is a good colon cleanser.
  • Stanislaw Burzynski and the Burzynski Clinic. Claims of cancer cure.
  • Profiles in pseudoscience: Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya). Islamic claims of creationism.
  • Profiles in pseudoscience: Konstantin Meyl. Claims of alternative physics.
  • Profiles in pseudoscience: Randell Mills (the crackpot behind hydrinos, which do not exist). Claims of a so far unobserved energy state of hydrogen.
  • Profiles in pseudoscience: Duane Gish. Claims of Creationism.
  • Profiles in pseudoscience: Gary Null. Claims of alternative medicine, AIDS denial, anti-vaccination and dubious treatments.
  • Profiles in pseudoscience: Joseph Mercola. Claims of alternative medicine and dubious supplements and deviced he sells.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and XMRV
  • hCG Diet. Claims about a diet involving injections of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
  • Bigfoot. Claims about the existence of a previously unknown creature.
    • The Making of Bigfoot, Greg Long
  • Claims that a mistletoe extract can cure caner.
  • Claims about effectiveness of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
  • Claims that it is useful to inflate your tires with pure nitrogen.
  • Claims that phthalates are dangerous.
  • Health effects of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in polycarbonate bottles and other places
  • Health effects of carbon-fiber nanotubes
  • Chiropractic claims that spinal subluxations cause most diseases.
  • The Feingold Diet. Claims that things eaten can cause hyperactivity.
  • Claims that HIV does not cause AIDS.
  • Holocaust denial. Claims that the Holocaust (Nazi slaughter of Jews) actually did not occur.
  • Faith Healing. Claims that faith and prayer, etc can cure diseases without medical treatment.
    • The Faith Healers; James Randi
    • When Prayer Fails; Shawn Peters
  • Safety of meat and milk from cloned animals. Claims about dangers.
  • Genetically modified (GM) foods. Claims that they are dangerous.
  • Claims that even a small amount of wine during pregnancy harms the fetus.? Alcohol and Pregnancy
  • Claims that secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau can find the number of people in the USA much more precisely through statistics than by actually counting each person. Why isn't this done?
  • There is no such thing as a perfect voting system. What options are available? What are the advantages and disadvantages of punch cards, paper ballots, electronic voting, etc?
  • Whatever happened to Bob Lazar of Area 51 (actually S-4) fame?
  • The Hafnium Bomb - the brainchild of UTD's Carl Collins.
  • Claims that Morgellonsis a real disease.
  • Fibromyalgia - real disease or not?
  • Claims that the death penalty deters crime, is cheaper than prison, and is never used in error. Wrong..
  • Is a little radiation good for you? Explore hormesis.
  • There is a collection of prophecies about popes and the end of the world. They are called "Saint Malachy's Prophecies" and are discussed in "An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural" by James Randi, ISBN:0-312-13066-X.

    According to that source, the prophecies appear in a book published by Benedictine friar Arnold Wion (or de Wyon) in 1590. The prophecies are named for St. Malachy (1094-1148), an Irish Benedictine bishop, but historians suspect that the prophecies were written in Wion's time (not necessarily by Wion) five hundred years after Malachy lived because the ones before Wion are detailed and accurate while the ones after Wion are vague and could apply to any pope.

    Wion's book calls for pope number 112 in Wion's list, Peter of Rome, to be the last to reign. After that, it says, Rome "will be destroyed and the awful judge will pass judgement on his people." Wion's #1 in the prophecies is Celestine II (1143-1144), pope #165; and Wion's #111 in the prophecies is the previous pope, Benedict XVI, pope #265. (That is, Benedict XVI is the 265th pope since the first pope, Peter.) Francis is number 266.

    Here is a listing of the prophecies:

    Another problem is the count. These sites say that Benedict XVI is #265 (or #266 if you count Stephen II, who died before being consecrated).

    Other sites list different numbers of popes. And then there are all the antipopes included in Wion's list.

    It should be noted that true believers already have an excuse prepared when the world does not come to an end.

      "There is nothing that says there will be no popes between Benedict XVI and Peter II. It may be that there will be a long line of popes between them!"
  • Radiation and Food Safety: Why do people fear radiation that is used to sterilize food when no radiation remains in the food? What food-borne diseases could be eliminated?
  • John Stoll from Bakersfield, California, served 20 years in prison for sexually molesting children as part of Satanic ritual abuse before his conviction was overturned. He and 45 others were the victims of a modern witch hunt. (
  • Is speed-reading for real?
  • What is the latest word on the Alan Sokal hoax and the Bogdanov affair?
  • Claims that "psychics" have helped solve crimes.
  • Is there any connection between salt and hypertension (high blood pressure)? Is there any connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's Disease? Why does the public perception persist?
  • Does asbestos in buildings cause lung cancer? Should it be removed?
  • Are silicone breast implants safe?
  • Do cell phones and power lines cause cancer?
  • Recycling. Does paper and plastic actually hurt the environment?
  • Mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - BSE) does not cause Kreutzfeld-Jacob disease in humans.
  • Claims that Global Warming is a hoax.
  • People Fooling Themselves: Threshold Phenomena; Element 118
  • People Fooling Themselves: Cold Fusion
    • Voodoo Science; Robert Park
    • Bad Science, Gary Taubes
    • Yes, We Have no Neutrons; A.K. Dewdney
    • Too Hot to Handle; Frank Close
    • The Scientific Fiasco of the Century; John Huizenga
  • People Fooling Themselves: N-rays.
  • Statistics and Coincidence: Pyramidology; Hidden Bible Codes, the Cabala
  • Flying Saucers, Alien Abductions, Area 51, Extraterrestrial Life, SETI
  • UFOs
  • "End of the World" Prophecies
    • "When Prophecy Fails"; Festinger
    • "William Miller and the Advent Crisis"; William Dick
    • Harold Camping's 1994 prophecy
  • Intentional Hoaxes: Crop Circles; Piltdown Man; the Cardiff Giant; Vitamin O; the Loch Ness Monster; Schoen at Bell Labs; Psychic Surgery; the Cottingley Fairies; the Vinland Map
  • Flying Saucer Hoaxes
  • Astrology
  • Cold Reading: Fortune Telling; Astrology; Tarot Cards; Palmistry
  • Paranormal Phenomena: ESP; Psychics; Telekinesis; Remote Viewing; Spoon Bending; Transcendental Meditation; Ghosts; Reincarnation
  • Alternative Medicine: Magnetotherapy; Biofields; Homeopathy; Chiropractic; Acupuncture; Reflexology
    • Trick or Treatment, Ernst & Singh
  • Religion Intruding on Science: Biblical Literalists; Creationism; Noah and the Flood, Gilgamesh, and the Eridu Genesis; the Book of Mormon's Testable Statements
  • Violation of Physical Law: Perpetual Motion Machines - Type 1 and Type 2; Free-Energy Devices; Over Unity Devices; the U.S. Patent Office
  • Evolution and Creationism, Intelligent Design; Court Cases
    • Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin
    • Kitzmiller et all vs. Dover Area School District et all
    • The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
  • Soviet Biology, Lysenkoism
  • The Crackpot Index, the Flat Earth Society; the Saturn Myth (Saturn Hypothesis); Immanuel Velikovsky's Venus from Jupiter hypothesis; Hans Hörbiger's fire and ice hypothesis

Some Topics to Avoid

There are some topics which, although interesting in themselves, should be avoided in 3333. They can and will get you into trouble. Here are some of them.

  • Anything based on fiction (vampires, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.)
  • Pure mythology (Atlantis, etc.)
  • Anything based on pure religion (angels, resurrection, existence of God, etc.)
  • Purely historical reviews of a topic (e.g. phrenology) with no new analysis and no new testing.
  • Topics that are now of a purely scientific nature.
    • Thorium reactors. This has been done commercially and does work.
  • Subjects for which little information is available. If you have trouble finding references, try another topic.
  • Memetics. Past efforts have not been successful. Avoid this.
  • Art fraud. The only possible claim is that authentication is 100% accurate.
You can't apply the scientific method to these things. Papers on fictional subjects can degenerate into a survey of mythology descended from the original work. If there is a factual underpinning for the story, the paper can wind up as a historical summary. Mythology concerns something that never existed, so it's going to be hard to apply science to it, given total lack of evidence. Finally, as we have said, religion and science are to be kept separate here.

Also avoid the following UNLESS you are willing to read extensively all the sources with which your professors are familiar and you have a new angle on the topic. Remember that your professors want to learn something while reading your paper. We will cover these topics in lecture.