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12
votes
2answers
4k views

How is the Saddle point approximation used in physics?

I am trying to understand the saddle point approximation and apply it to a problem I have but the treatments I have seen online are all very mathematical and are not giving me a good qualitative ...
8
votes
8answers
783 views

Why do physicists believe that particles are pointlike?

String theory gives physicists reason to believe that particles are 1-dimensional strings because the theory has a purpose - unifying gravity with the gauge theories. So why is it that it's popular ...
8
votes
3answers
643 views

Special Relativistic approximation to GR

Some time ago I was talking to a professor in college about some of the fundamental aspects and origin of General Relativity. I was surprised to learn, in fact, that a pretty good approximation to GR ...
6
votes
3answers
167 views

Finding the energy eigenvalues of Hydrogen using WKB approach

I need help to find the energy eigen values of Hydrogen atom using WKB approach. So far I know, the radial equation is given by $$\frac{1}{r^2} \frac{\partial }{\partial r} \left( r^2 \frac{\partial ...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

Can a very small portion of an ellipse be a parabola?

We consider that when a body is projected from any height from the earth surface with a speed lesser than the orbital speed ( tangentially to the earth surface at that point.) it follows an elliptical ...
5
votes
1answer
183 views

Hawking Radiation from the WKB Approximation

Reading this paper which is itself an exposition of Parikh and Wilczek's paper, I get to a point where I fail to be able to follow the calculation. Now this is undoubtably because my calculational ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

What kinds of contributions can be neglected in the leading logarithmic approximation?

I'm looking for some good explanation on leading logarithmic approximation (LLA) in QCD; in particular, what types of contributions can be neglected while assuming LLA?
4
votes
1answer
290 views

Born-Oppenheimer Approximation equivalent to Tensor-product ?

If you have a wave function $\Psi$ of a system consisting of an electron and the vibrational modes of the crystal, THEN we represent the wavefunction $\Psi%$ to be in the Hilbert Space formed by the ...
4
votes
2answers
375 views

WKB method of approximation

Would it be legitimate to use the WKB approximation for a particle in a spherically symmetric Gaussian potential? $$V(r)~=~V_0(1-e^{-r^2/a^2}).$$ I'm not sure when to use which approximation ...
4
votes
1answer
270 views

Problem in Youngs double slit experiment

This is from Young Double slit experiment. But How to prove the the two $\theta$ are equal, I meant, how $\angle EAD= \angle PEC$? I see from the both triangle have $90^0$ but what about others?
3
votes
3answers
303 views

Can a wavefunction be solved to any arbitrary precision, given enough computer time?

I learned that the wavefunction for the hydrogen atom can be solved analytically (we did the derivation in class), but that for more complicated atoms it is "impossible" to solve and that only ...
3
votes
2answers
539 views

Why are continuum fluid mechanics accurate when constituents are discrete objects of finite size?

Suppose we view fluids classically, i.e., as a collection of molecules (with some finite size) interacting via e&m and gravitational forces. Presumably we model fluids as continuous objects that ...
3
votes
2answers
60 views

Can I alternate between notes really fast and have it sound like a chord?

The question basically amounts to whether I can construct the illusion of superposition with adjacent sine waves of varying frequency. Context I'm trying to play music on a Tesla Coil (like OneTesla ...
3
votes
1answer
133 views

Are energies non-transferable in the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, and when does it apply?

Adiabatic approximation or the Born-Oppenheimer approximation is used whenever the electronic motion is too fast that the electrons effectively see static nuclei and the nuclei, in turn, see an ...
3
votes
2answers
478 views

Small oscillations of the double pendulum

From the Lagrangian I've got the following equations of motion for the double pendulum in 2D. (The masses are different but the lengths of the two pendula are equal.) Let $m_2$ be the lowest-hanging ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

A problem of approximation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are continuum fluid mechanics accurate when constituents are discrete objects of finite size? When we apply differentiation on charge being conducted with respect to ...
3
votes
1answer
568 views

Time-Dependent Potentials in Quantum Mechanics

A potential that depends on time is usually solved using the time dependent perturbation theory in standard undergraduate textbooks in quantum mechanics. The reason usually mentioned is that time ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Does effective theory have the same meaning in particle and condensed matter physics

I have a naive question about the meaning of effective theory in particle physics and condensed matter physics. In particle physics, from what I know, the effective theory comes from the Wilsonian ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

Neglecting second order differentials

I am currently doing some Lorentz invariance exercises considering infinitesimal Lorentz transformations, and have been told to neglect second order differentials. It's not the first time I have come ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

Self-consistent field approximation and uniform field approximation?

Can anyone give me explanation of self-consistent field approximation and uniform field approximation? I know self-consistent as when we write the Schrödinger equation as $$[ -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} ...
3
votes
0answers
87 views

Born approximation to Lippman-Schwinger integral equation

I am having the following problem understanding the Born approximation in the case of the Lippmann-Schwinger equation. This exercise is for something which is entitled "computational physics lab ...
3
votes
0answers
116 views

Approximations in simple pendulum

In the approximation $$-(g/ \ell) \sin \theta \approx -(g/ \ell) \theta $$ we make an error $R$ which is $O(\theta ^3)$. If i did well my calculations it is estimated by $$R\leq|(g / ...
3
votes
1answer
183 views

'Validity' of QED/QCD/Electroweak interaction

I am currently attending a course on Quantum Field Theory and I got into thinking how valid these theories are. As the theory attempts to describe reality only far above the Planck (length) scale, ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Are Quantum Physics and statistical theory always the same as semiclassical approximations?

Quantum Mechanics and Statistical physics is a bit hard , could we then study only the WKB approximation ? In the form: replace $ \sum_{n=0}^{\infty}exp(- \beta E_{n})=Z(\beta)\sim\iint ...
2
votes
1answer
127 views

Finding the approximate solution for Schrodinger equation by using variational method [closed]

I need to find the approximate solution of nonlinear Schrodinger equation $$ i\hbar \partial_{t} \Psi + \frac{\hbar^{2}}{2m}\Delta \Psi - g |\Psi|^{2}\Psi - \frac{m\omega^2 (x^2 + y^2 + z^2)}{2}\Psi = ...
2
votes
1answer
315 views

Proof of adiabatic theorem on Wikipedia

I'm having trouble following the proof of the adiabatic theorem (apparently due to Messiah) on Wikipedia. At one stage we have: $U(t_1,t_0)=1+{1\over i}\int_{t_0}^{t_1}H(t)dt+{1\over ...
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Computing microstate probabilities based on Boltzmann distribution for chemical systems - Is it rigorous?

One approach to predicting the folded structure of a polymer (DNA, RNA, protein) is to compute the probability that any particular part of the polymer $x_i$ is "paired" with another part of the ...
2
votes
1answer
155 views

Zero entropy change

If you put a object in contact with a heat reservoir that is infinitesimally higher in temperature than the object and allow equilibrium to be reached the entropy change is zero right?
2
votes
3answers
226 views

Slow thermal equilibrium

I have a question which is inspired by considering the light field coming off an incandescent lightbulb. As a blackbody radiation field, the light is in thermal equilibrium at temperature $T$, which ...
2
votes
1answer
199 views

A missing factor of 2 in the standard Hartree-Fock mean field?

Let's start from a very simple argument: If $A$ and $B$ are some operators, then I can write their product as $$AB = (A-\langle A\rangle)(B - \langle B \rangle) + \langle A \rangle B + A \langle B ...
2
votes
1answer
248 views

Using the Scalar Electrostatic Potential to Calculate Transition Probabilities

transition probabilites of atomic systems prone to some time-varying electromagnetic field are very often calculated using perturbation theory leading to expressions including the vector potential ...
2
votes
0answers
41 views

Limits of integration for the radial wave function of the Hydrogen atom in the WKB approximation

I am working a problem where we have to find the energy eigenvalues for the radial wave function of the hydrogen atom for $\ell=0$ using the WKB approximation. I am sure that I set up the integral ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Index of Refraction in Metal: Approximating Complex Perturbation

If you consider waves in a metal, you can write the index of refraction for the metal as, $$ n^2 = 1 - \frac{\omega_p^2}{\omega^2} $$ I am interested in what will happen if the index is perturbed by ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Particles scattering on fluids: breakdown of the effective continuum description

When does the macroscopic continuum description of a medium like a fluid break down? Say I'm interested in a scattering process of some particles with momentum $p$ and energy $E$ off a fluid of ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Why does a difference in approach to projectile motion yields different results?

A body is projected vertically upwards from the surface of the earth with a velocity equal to half the escape velocity. If $R$ is the radius of the earth, then find the maximum height attained by the ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

Linearized equations

What is $V_{\alpha\beta}$? And what is a symmetric, positive definite potential energy matrix? And why is there a linearized equation like this?
1
vote
3answers
142 views

Why is current not 0 in a regular resistor - battery circuit immediately after you closed a circuit?

In regular open circuits with either a capacitor or inductor element, (when capacitor is uncharged) with a battery, when a switch is closed to complete the circuit the current is said to be 0 because ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

How can we consider charge to be continuous? [duplicate]

In electrostatics, we usually consider charge to be continuous on any body, to calculate the electric field of the body. For eg. I had proved the Shell Theorem taking an infinitesimal charge of $dq$ ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

Schrödinger equation for many body systems

$$H_{tot}=\sum \dfrac{p_i^2}{2m}+\sum\dfrac{p_I^2}{2M_I}+\sum V_{nucl}(r_i)+\dfrac{1}{2}\sum_{i\ne j} \dfrac{e^2}{|r_i-r_j|}+\dfrac{1}{2}\sum_{I\ne J}\dfrac{z_Iz_Je^2}{|R_I-R_J|} $$ with: ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

How to use the WKB approximation to find wave functions?

I'm trying to learn how to apply WKB. I asked a similar question already, but that question was related to finding the energies. Here, I would like to understand how to find the wave functions using ...
1
vote
1answer
331 views

How to apply the WKB approximation in this case?

I'm trying to learn how to apply the WKB approximation. Given the following problem: An electron, say, in the nuclear potential $$U(r)=\begin{cases} & -U_{0} \;\;\;\;\;\;\text{ if } r < ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

Discrete approximation of charge density

Given the electric potential $\Phi(r)$ and the Poisson's equation: $$ \nabla^2 \Phi(r) = - 4\pi \rho(r)$$ Consider the 2-dimensional case and let's say that I want to discretize this using a square ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Reference for understanding characteristic length and time scales in a system (in particular electronic transport)

I am working on the transport properties of two dimensional electron gas in semiconductor heterostructures and am interested in the characteristic length and time scales of the system like elastic ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Field from non-conducting plate?

For a non-conducting sheet, the electric field is given by: $$E = \frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}$$ where $\sigma$ is the surface charge density. This equation holds well for a finite ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

The Holstein-Primakoff Representation (approximation)

I have a question regarding the Holstein-Primakoff representation. In the HP-representation we define the spin operators in terms of bosonic creation and annihilation operators. $$ S_j^+ = \sqrt{2S ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

A sphere, a simple object?

In this video, the woman says that a sphere is a pretty simple object. What intrigues me is the use of a sphere for such a calculation. First of all, the sphere wouldn't be perfect as a perfect sphere ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Franck Condon Principle and Born Oppenheimer approximation

My question here is purely fundamental. I am confused with the concept in Franck Condon (FC) principle and Born Oppenheimer (BO) approximation. The FC principle is in accordance with the BO ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

semiclassical exact expression (in one dimension only)

let be $ N(x)= \sum_{n} H(x-E_{n}) $ the eingenvalue 'staircase' function and let be a system so $ V(x)=V(-x)$ and $ V^{-1}(x)=\sqrt \pi \frac{d^{1/2}}{dx^{1/2}} N(x) $ then would it be true that ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

Adiabatic approximation and time-dependent problems

I am an undergraduate physics student. I have a question in approximation methods for time-dependent problems in quantum mechanics. I read the proof of the adiabatic theorem but I didn't understand ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Can anyone outline the theory of plane wave Born approximation for direct nuclear reactions in detail?

Can anyone outline the theory of plane wave Born approximation for direct nuclear reactions in detail? Also What are the modification introduced in the distorted wave Born approximation? I was ...