Each paper should be about 2 pages long, double spaced. This is about ~600 words (anywhere between 450 and 1,000 is fine). You should be answering the paper topic question to someone who isn’t taking the class (no jargon). No citations! Use your own words (do not cite the book or anything else) and be careful not to use phrases from the book (TurnItIn will notice those). Only use information from the book; no extra information from the web should be added. You shouldn’t have quotes.
The text should be professional and follow a specific format, described in Section 5.1. You are a “trusted guide,” (like a lawyer) not a “buddy” or “comedian.” We don’t need history, or want history, nor do we need any of the names of the people who helped make the discoveries. Just the evidence. Make sure you don’t have your name on your paper.
Overview of Paper 3: Senator Ted Cruz is scheduled to meet with the Subcommittee for Science and Funding Policy next month. His goal is to persuade the subcommittee to provide more funding for physicists at Texas A&M to study Cosmology. The Senator realizes that he doesn’t know enough about the Big Bang and why scientists think it is the best description of the origin and evolution of the universe. In effect, he expects to be asked the question, “In plain language, what is the evidence for the Big Bang?” and he needs to be able to summarize the answer quickly and succinctly. He has asked his Chief of Staff to help him prepare for this question.
The Assignment: You are working in the Chief of Staff’s office as a summer intern. Because you have taken a course that discusses this question you are tasked with this assignment. Your job is to create a “short and sweet” paper that summarizes and explains these the reasons/evidence in plain language so that both the Chief of Staff and the Senator can understand them. Said differently, based on your report, both need to be able to answer this important question quickly and intelligently.
Big Picture of how your paper should be organized (Note: This portion is identical for all assignments):
• Your document needs to include the important pieces of evidence, follow the above and below instructions about what structure it needs to be in as well as include the things we are explicitly requiring for this paper (see below). You will be graded on your ability to do it all.
• Your introduction must make it clear what it is really about, mention the evidence/talking points to be discussed as well as outline the argument that will be used in the paper.
• The paper must be clear and concise, with a proper essay format. It should be between 400-750 words, although you are allowed to make it longer, more is unlikely to be short and sweet. While it needs to touch on the major “big picture” issues and use plain language, it obviously can’t go into too much detail on any one topic.
• It must have proper paragraph structure including topic sentences for each paragraph.
• Use only language that can be understood by a lay-person who has NOT taken the class (no buzz words!).
• It must be easy to read.
• You may choose the number of pieces of evidence (and number of evidence/talking point paragraphs), but this is NOT an independent research project. You are to use only evidence explained in class and in the textbook. You should *not* assume you need to have three and only three pieces of evidence nor do you need three and only three evidence paragraphs. While you may choose your number of evidence paragraphs, the typical writer will choose one paragraph per piece of evidence. Additional paragraphs may be used to explain any physics concepts that are required to understand the evidence as long as you stay on-topic.
• It must also have a conclusion paragraph that ties the pieces of evidence/talking points together and wraps up the argument. It should be like the closing argument from a lawyer. If you just restate the evidence, that isn’t a conclusion/summary arugement
• This is NOT an opportunity for you to show off your creative writing skill. You are being asked to write using a specific format and you will be evaluated on your ability to read instructions and follow directions. For example, did you submit your paper to turnitin.com
• Your information (for example your name and UIN) should not be on the paper itself.
We understand that this is a tough assignment and are happy to discuss the issues and the structure of the document with you at any time before you turn it in. There are lots of people out there who can help you. We encourage you to discuss the issues with them before writing your paper, and have them, the TA for the course and/or the Writing Center if necessary, help you make the text clear and understandable to the lay person before turning it in. For example, turning in a rough draft by the Friday deadline will get you feedback from the TA before the paper is due. We warn you that it will be embarrassing if it appears you have plagiarized (either from others in the class, others who have taken the class or the textbooks themselves) – make sure your work is your own.
Some additional comments particular to this assignment: