The conserved quantity arising from a rotational invariance. Combine with rotational-dynamics for the classical mechanics approach and quantum-mechanics for the QM interpretation

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57
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4answers
10k views

What is spin as it relates to subatomic particles?

I often hear about subatomic particles having a property called "spin" but also that it doesn't actually relate to spinning about an axis like you would think. Which particles have spin? What does ...
41
votes
7answers
5k views

Why does everything spin?

The origin of spin is some what a puzzle to me, everything spin from galaxies to planets to weather to electrons. Where has all the angular momentum come from? Why is it so natural? I was also ...
43
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer?

I always see pictures of the solar system where our sun is in the middle and the planets surround the sun. All these planets move on orbits on the same layer. Why?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Do mankind and manmade activities/constructions have any effect on the rotation of the Earth?

We walk or ride on our vehicles to our destinations daily. Does our movement have any effect on the rotation of the earth according to Newton's law? What will be the effect if we move all the peoples ...
36
votes
3answers
7k views

Why the galaxies form 2D planes (or spiral-like) instead of 3D balls (or spherical-like)?

Question: As we know, (1) the macroscopic spatial dimension of our universe is 3 dimension, and (2) gravity attracts massive objects together and the gravitational force is isotropic without ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

How does one experimentally determine chirality, helicity, spin and angular momentum of a fundamental particle?

If I've got an instance of a fundamental particle, how can I separate out the measurements of these four quantities? (I think) I understand the theory behind them, and why the particles in the ...
72
votes
10answers
7k views

Is Angular Momentum truly fundamental?

This may seem like a slightly trite question, but it is one that has long intrigued me. Since I formally learned classical (Newtonian) mechanics, it has often struck me that angular momentum (and ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do all the planets of the solar system orbit in roughly the same 2D plane?

Most images you see of the solar system are 2D and all planets orbit in the same plane. In a 3D view, are really all planets orbiting in similar planes? Is there a reason for this? I'd expect that the ...
33
votes
5answers
6k views

What if the universe is rotating as a whole?

Suppose in the milliseconds after the big bang the cosmic egg had aquired some large angular momentum. As it expanded, keeping the momentum constant (not external forces) the rate of rotation would ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Apparent violation of Newton's 3rd law and the conservation of angular momentum for a pair of charged particles interacting magnetically

Consider a system of the two identical point positive charges situated in free space (isolated from influence of any other external fields) as shown in the figure below. Particle 1 is at $(a,a,0)$ and ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial spin?

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation? Why do Venus and Mercury rotate so slowly compared to other planets? Why does Venus rotate in a different direction to Mercury, Earth and Mars?
10
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3answers
3k views

How does Newtonian mechanics explain why orbiting objects do not fall to the object they are orbiting?

The force of gravity is constantly being applied to an orbiting object. And therefore the object is constantly accelerating. Why doesn't gravity eventually "win" over the object's momentum, like a ...
20
votes
1answer
5k views

How to define angular momentum in other than three dimensions?

In classical mechanics with 3 space dimension the angular momentum is defined as $\mathbf{L} = \mathbf{r} \times \mathbf{p}$ In relativistic mechanics we have the 4-vectors $x^{\mu}$ and $p^{\mu}$, ...
9
votes
2answers
889 views

Lie bracket for Lie algebra of $SO(n,m)$

How does one show that the bracket of elements in the Lie algebra of $SO(n,m)$ is given by $$[J_{ab},J_{cd}] ~=~ i(\eta_{ad} J_{bc} + \eta_{bc} J_{ad} - \eta_{ac} J_{bd} - \eta_{bd}J_{ac}),$$ ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

Why does Venus spin in the opposite direction?

Given: Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Reverse spinning with dense atmosphere (92 times > Earth & CO2 dominant sulphur based). Surface same degree of aging all over. Hypothetical large ...
24
votes
7answers
10k views

Why don't spinning tops fall over?

One topic which was covered in university, but which I never understood, is how a spinning top "magically" resists the force of gravity. The conservation of energy explanations make sense, but I don't ...
10
votes
1answer
893 views

Effect of the tail of the cat in the falling cat problem

To explain why a falling cat can turn by 180 degree without external torque and without violation of the conservation of angular momentum, one usually models the cat as two cylinders as in http://en....
2
votes
2answers
466 views

Angular Momentum of a rigid, extended object

Angular momentum of an object is a physical quantity that depends on the chosen point about which to calculate the angular momentum. It is often said that an object that has been thrown up in the air ...
14
votes
3answers
784 views

Why does spin have a discrete spectrum?

Why is it that unlike other quantum properties such as momentum and velocity, which usually are given through (probabilistic) continuous values, spin has a (probabilistic) discrete spectrum?
9
votes
4answers
13k views

What determines the direction of precession of a gyroscope?

I understand how torque mathematically causes a change to the direction of angular momentum, thus precessing the gyroscope. However, the direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise, of this ...
10
votes
4answers
8k views

What causes a soccer ball to follow a curved path?

Soccer players kick the ball in a linear kick, though you find it to turn sideways, not even in one direction. Just mid air it changes that curve's direction. Any physical explanation? Maybe this ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What causes matter to initially rotate/spin/orbit?

What causes matter to initially rotate/spin/orbit? All I can find is the statement that in space particles of dust/gas/matter contract into a spinning disk due to gravity (to form stars, solar systems,...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Angular momentum of a translating and rotating body

If a rod is rotating about one end, does it have pure rotation or do you also consider the translation of centre of mass when calculating its angular momentum? Also, how would one calculate the ...
15
votes
4answers
9k views

Adding 3 electron spins

I've learned how to add two 1/2-spins, which you can do with C-G-coefficients. There are 4 states (one singlet, three triplet states). States are symmetric or antisymmetric and the quantum numbers ...
11
votes
2answers
840 views

The secret behind the spinning, asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top?

When you spin an asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top, the heavy part actually rises to the top. Why is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0SZZTBQmEs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
12
votes
9answers
12k views

How do you explain spinning tops to a nine year old?

Why don't spinning tops fall over? (The young scientist version) My nine year old son asked me this very question when playing with his "Battle Strikers" set. Having studied Physics myself, I am very ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Spin - where does it come from?

I study physics and am attending a course on quantum field theory. It is hard for me to draw connections from there to the old conventional theories. In quantum field theory spin originates from the ...
5
votes
1answer
981 views

Is all angular momentum quantized?

Angular momentum is definitely quantized in elementary particles and electrons in atoms. Molecules also have characteristic rotation spectra. Is it true that all angular momentum is quantized, ...
6
votes
1answer
623 views

Why is the value of spin +/- 1/2?

I understand how spin is defined in analogy with orbital angular momentum. But why must electron spin have magnetic quantum numbers $m_s=\pm \frac{1}{2}$ ? Sure, it has to have two values in ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

$\hbar$, the angular momentum and the action

Is there anything interesting to say about the fact that $\hbar$, the angular momentum and the action have the same units or is it a pure coincidence?
8
votes
5answers
30k views

Why does a ballerina speed up when she pulls in her arms?

My friend thinks it's because she has less air resistance but I'm not sure.
38
votes
5answers
9k views

Why aren't there spherical galaxies? [duplicate]

According to the Wikipedia page on Galaxy Types, there are four main kinds of galaxies: Spirals - as the name implies, these look like huge spinning spirals with curved "arms" branching out ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Quantization of a particle on a spherical surface

Suppose we have a particle of mass $m$ confined to the surface of a sphere of radius $R$. The classical Lagrangian of the system is $$L = \frac{1}{2}mR^2 \dot{\theta}^2 + \frac{1}{2}m R^2 \sin^2 \...
3
votes
1answer
234 views

What is the physical importance of the commutation relations of angular momentum?

What is the physical meaning of these commutation relations: $$[L_{z},L_{\pm}]=\pm\hbar L_{\pm}\tag{1}$$ and $$[L_{+},L_{-}]=2\hbar L_{z} ~?\tag{2}$$
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Huge buildings affect Earth's rotation?

Does constructing huge buildings affect the rotation of the Earth, similar to skater whose angular rotation increases when her arms are closed comparatively than open?
4
votes
2answers
299 views

Spin, orbital angular momentum and total angular momentum

If I understand correctly, spin is an intrinsic property of particles, which follows the algebra of angular momentum, but has nothing to do with an "orbital angular momentum" in that the particle is ...
6
votes
1answer
214 views

How much effort would be required to fix the Earth's rotation?

Given that the earth's rotation has been slowing down by very slight amounts over time, forcing us to introduce leap seconds and so forth into our clocks and calendars, I would like to ask if this ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Why is orbital angular momentum quantized according to $I= \hbar \sqrt{\ell(\ell+1)}$?

I simply have no idea how this result is found $$I=\hbar \sqrt{\ell(\ell+1)}.$$ The result seems to just be dumped in textbooks rather than explained. I can get the result that $I_z=\hbar m_j$. ...
3
votes
1answer
359 views

How does $SU(2)$ group enters quantum mechanics?

What is the reason that $SU(2)$ group enters quantum mechanics in the context of rotation but not $SO(3)$? What really rotates and which space it rotates? It cannot be the physical electron that ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

What is the initial angular momentum of a rigid body given an offset impulsed force?

What is the imparted angular momentum to a rigid body if the impulse force is offset by a distance $h$ from the center of mass and the imparted momentum from the center of mass is $mv$? For a ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Effect on length of day as the polar ice caps melt

If the polar ice caps of the Earth melt, how will the length of the day be affected?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Ice skater increase of energy

This may be a very basic question but I am not seeing how it works. Consider the standard example of an ice skate rotating about his/her center of mass and pulling in his/her arms. The torque is zero ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

Why Silver atoms were used in Stern-Gerlach experiment?

For the Stern-Gerlach experiment done in 1922: Why were silver atoms used? Silver atoms contain many electrons in different shells (with different angular momemtum quantum numbers. Why are those not ...
7
votes
3answers
503 views

What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
5
votes
6answers
996 views

Half integer eigenvalues of orbital angular momentum

Why do we exclude half integer values of the orbital angular momentum? It's clear for me that an angular momentum operator can only have integer values or half-integer values. However, it's not clear ...
15
votes
4answers
16k views

Why are some galaxies flat?

What is the explanation for the flatness of some galaxies? (If it's due to their rotation then why they are rotating, why some other galaxies are not flat etc., I would like to hear a nice and ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Photons with half integer angular momentum - what's happening?

I have just read this article - what is happening? Analysing these beams within the theory of quantum mechanics they predicted that the angular momentum of the photon would be half-integer, and ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Accretion disk physics - Stellar formation

I was going through the Wikipedia page for Accretion disks, and I couldn't comprehend what the meaning of this is: "If matter is to fall inwards it must lose not only gravitational energy but also ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

An electron has no known internal structure, does that imply it has an unknown one?

I'm currently reading Alonso and Finn's Electromagnetism book. It explains that the spin contributes to the magnetic moment and is somewhat comparable to a rotation of the particle around its own ...