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4
votes
8answers
618 views

Is relativity necessary for the existence of life?

If the universe didn't have the relativity principle, would it be able to support life? Life consists of very complicated organisms. The operation of these organisms depends on the laws of physics. ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How are the calories in food calculated?

This is intended to be a fun question. Calorimetry used for calculating the heat generated from chemical changes has been around for centuries, however, I suspect the process for calculating food ...
3
votes
1answer
284 views

Entropy of a polymer contained in a sphere with infinitely thin chords

Imagine that I have a polymer (approximated as a freely diffusing, freely jointed chain with some number of subunits 'N'), and I place this polymer into a sphere of some volume 'V'. Next, I proceed to ...
6
votes
0answers
229 views

Predicting the ratio of translational diffusion coefficients for a sphere and a sheet

Imagine that I have a spherical particle of molecular weight $M$, volume $V$, and some experimentally observed center-of-mobility translational diffusion coefficient $D_{sphere}$ in water. I take ...
5
votes
4answers
786 views

A quantitative explanation of EM coherence domains in liquid with DNA

I've been looking with interest at a recent biology paper claiming that DNA molecules give off electromagnetic signals which can cause the same types of molecules to be reconstructed at a remote ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What happens to light after it enters an eye

What happens to the light [energy] after it enters an eye and hits the rods and cones? I presume the energy becomes electrical, and it must be near 100% perfect, else our eyes would heat up? Or am I ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why can you see a light in the location that the light source just left?

This is my first question on this site so forgive me for the awkward wording of the question. Basically, my question is why does light from, say, a sparkler, seem to remain where it just came from to ...
44
votes
8answers
8k views

Why does holding something up cost energy while no work is being done?

I read the definition of work as $$W ~=~ \vec{F} \cdot \vec{d}$$ $$\text{ Work = (Force) $\cdot$ (Distance)}.$$ If a book is there on the table, no work is done as no distance is covered. If I ...
13
votes
1answer
483 views

Is colour, as represented using primary colours, accurate only to humans?

Slightly biological, hopefully physical enough to be answered. Suppose a magenta hue is represented by a mix of red and blue pigment. This is all very well for a creature with red and blue ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

What's the difference between running up a hill and running up an inclined treadmill?

Clearly there will be differences like air resistance; I'm not interested in that. It seems like you're working against gravity when you're actually running in a way that you're not if you're on a ...
7
votes
2answers
763 views

What physical forces pull/press water upwards in vegetation?

Each spring enormous amounts of water rise up in trees and other vegetation. What causes this stream upwards? Edit: I was under the impression that capillary action is a key factor: the original ...