Classical mechanics refers to the classical (i.e., non-relativistic, non-quantum) study of physics. Three major formulations of classical mechanics are newtonian mechanics, lagrangian mechanics, and hamiltonian mechanics. The latter two are rather useful in extensions to Classical Mechanics; ...

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Can we quantize Aristotelian physics?

Aristotelian physics, shorn of whatever the historical Aristotle actually believed, is pretty similar to Newtonian physics. Instead of "An object in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an ...
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Why does a cuboid spin stably around two axes but not the third?

Let $C$ be a cuboid (rectangular parallelepiped) with edges of lengths $a < b < c$. Consider an axis that passes through the centers of two opposite faces of $C$. There are three such axes, ...
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Book about classical mechanics

I am looking for a book about "advanced" classical mechanics. By advanced I mean a book considering directly Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation, and also providing a firm basis in the geometrical ...
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1k views

Is it possible to recover Classical Mechanics from Schrödinger's equation?

Let me explain in details. Let $\Psi=\Psi(x,t)$ be the wave function of a particle moving in a unidimensional space. Is there a way of writing $\Psi(x,t)$ so that $|\Psi(x,t)|^2$ represents the ...
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431 views

Why does vibration loosen screws?

I am trying to figure out why vibrations (say, from an engine) loosen screws. It seems to me that there is evident symmetry between loosening and tightening a screw. I am wondering what breaks this ...
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Are there examples in classical mechanics where D'Alembert's principle fails?

D'Alembert's principle suggests that the work done by the internal forces for a virtual displacement of a mechanical system in harmony with the constraints is zero. This is obviously true for the ...
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Google interview riddle and scaling arguments

I am puzzled by a riddle to which I have been told the answer and I have loads of difficulties to believe in the result. The riddle goes as follows: "imagine you are shrunk to the size of a coin ...
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How to sail downwind faster than the wind?

Recently a group set a record for sailing a wind-powered land vehicle directly down wind, and a speed faster than wind speed. Wikipedia has a page talking about it, but it doesn't explain exactly how ...
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A problem inspired by the ice hockey game

Question shortly: How far would a hockey puck slide in two different cases: The puck is sliding (translation) on ice and spinning on its flat surface. The puck is sliding on ice without spinning. ...
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449 views

Non-linear systems in classical mechanics

In general, what is meant by non-linear system in classical mechanics? Does it always concern the differential equations one ends up with (any examples would be greatly appreciated)? If so, is it ...
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Imagine a long bar floating in space. What force does it exert on itself in the middle due to gravity?

Problem If you had a long bar floating in space, what would be the compressive force at the centre of the bar, due to the self-weight of both ends? Diagram - what is the force at point X in the ...
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256 views

What could cause an asymmetric orbit in a symmetric potential?

My question can be summarized as: Given a potential with a symmetry (e.g. $z\rightarrow-z$), should I expect orbits in that potential to exhibit the same symmetry? Below is the full motivation for ...
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In the Lennard-Jones potential, why does the attractive part (dispersion) have an $r^{-6}$ dependence?

The Lennard-Jones potential has the form: $$U(r) = 4\epsilon\left[ \left(\frac{\sigma}{r}\right)^{12} - \left(\frac{\sigma}{r}\right)^{6} \right]$$ The (attractive) $r^{-6}$ term describes the ...
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544 views

Car accident, put in park or neutral?

I was waiting on a red light the other day and was wondering. If I'm in my car, not moving and I see a car that's going to hit me from behind. Would I (my body) be safer if I put on the break or if ...
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634 views

Why does the classical Noether charge become the quantum symmetry generator?

It is often said that the classical charge $Q$ becomes the quantum generator $X$ after quantization. Indeed this is certainly the case for simple examples of energy and momentum. But why should this ...
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Basic mechanics problems, unsolvable by brute-force numerical integration

I'm looking for simple problems in theoretical mechanics that are impossible or unreasonably difficult to solve by means of "brute-force" numerical integration of Newton or Euler-lagrange equations. ...
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What exactly is a virtual displacement in classical mechanics?

I'm reading Goldstein's Classical Mechanics and he says the following: A virtual (infinitesimal) displacement of a system refers to a change in the configuration of the system as the result of any ...
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What is the difference between translation and rotation?

What is the difference between translation and rotation ? If this were a mathematics site, the question would be at best naive. But this is physics site, and the question must be interpreted as a ...
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2answers
991 views

How to model/simulate pressures and flows in a network of pipes

I'm having a hard time finding information on how to model/simulate this. I attached a couple files, both of which show an example tank & pump network. It's just nonsense that I made up for this ...
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Why do we use operators in quantum mechanics?

In classical mechanics, physical quantities, such as, e.g. the coordinates of position, velocity, momentum, energy, etc, are real numbers, but in quantum mechanics they become operators. Why is this ...
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404 views

What makes a Lagrangian a Lagrangian?

I just wanted to know what the characteristic property of a Lagrangian is? How do you see without referring to Newtonian Mechanics that it has to be $L=T-V$? People constructed a Lagrangian in ...
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1answer
199 views

Theorems on instability of classical systems of charged particles?

Classically, a hydrogen atom should not be stable, since it should radiate away all its energy. I remember hearing from my favorite freshman physics prof ca. 1983 about a general theorem to the effect ...
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695 views

Which direction will Coriolis forces deflect a bubble?

If I throw a ball straight up, it deflects slightly to the west due to Coriolis forces. If instead I watch a bubble float up in water, is the bubble deflected west, east, or neither? I think the ...
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473 views

Small oscillations of heavy string

I'm solving problem in classical field theory and I have some difficulties. I'm trying to study small oscilations of heavy string with fixed points. First of all I wrote down this Lagrangian: ...
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2answers
518 views

Essential background for QFT study

The preface to Mark Srednicki's "Quantum Field Theory" says that to be prepared for the book, one must recognize and understand the following equations: $$\frac{d\sigma}{d\Omega} = ...
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395 views

Lagrangian Mechanics - Commutativity Rule $\frac{d}{dt}\delta q=\delta \frac{dq}{dt} $

I am reading about Lagrangian mechanics. At some point the difference between the temporal derivative of a variation and variation of the temporal derivative is discussed. The fact that the two are ...
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539 views

Question about canonical transformation

I was going through my professor's notes about Canonical transformations. He states that a canonical transformation from $(q, p)$ to $(Q, P)$ is one that if which the original coordinates obey ...
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If the Earth didn't rotate, how would a Foucault pendulum work?

How does the Foucault pendulum work exactly, and would it work at all, if the Earth didn't rotate?
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Meaning of the Poisson bracket as a coordinate transformation

Well, the Possion bracket: $ \{ A(q,p),B(q,p) \} \equiv \sum_{s} \left( \dfrac{\partial A}{\partial q_{s}} \dfrac{\partial B}{\partial p_{s}} - \dfrac{\partial A}{\partial p_{s}} \dfrac{\partial ...
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235 views

The most stable way of standing in a bus

Here's what's bugging me for quite a long time. Imagine the every day situation, that you are standing in a bus with your back on wall having only limited space on the floor and no handle to hold. You ...
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4answers
3k views

Why does my door shut faster when the window is open?

I've noticed that if I shut my door when the window is open in a room, the door will tend to shut faster. If I shut the door when the window is closed with a normal force it will not fully close as if ...
10
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1answer
427 views

D-brane Lagrangian?

As I understand it from the threads I read, D-branes are viewed as somewhat secondary to strings: If I know what all the open strings do, then I know what the D-branes do as well. But if the D-brane ...
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139 views

Is there a trajectory which is not a solution of the equation of motion but satisfies all conservation laws?

I'm wondering whether conservation laws are sufficient to imply equations of motions. Specifically: 1) In classical mechanics of point particles, are conservation of energy, conservation of momentum ...
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Driving on snowy roads

'tis the season as they say! It seems to me obvious that it's better to drive in high gear on snowy roads to reduce the torque. However, there are completely opposite advices being given on ...
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236 views

Conservation of phase space volume in Rindler space-time

Let us consider Rindler space-time, i.e. Minkowski space-time as seen by a constantly accelerating observer. My question is, does Liouville's theorem, i.e. the conservation of phase space volume in ...
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396 views

What's the physical intuition for symplectic structures?

I always thought about symplectic forms as elements of areas in little subspaces because of the Darboux theorem, however I cannot get the physical intuition for it and for the hamiltonian vector ...
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Which is easier, pushing or pulling?

It is generally assumed, from a person's perspective, that pushing a cart is more easier than pulling one. But why? Is there any difference in terms of force required to achieve the same amount of ...
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Hamilton-Jacobi Equation

In the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, we take the partial time derivative of the action. But the action comes from integrating the Lagrangian over time, so time seems to just be a dummy variable here and ...
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Classical limit of quantum mechanics

I have heard that one can recover classical mechanics from quantum mechanics in the limit the $\hbar$ goes to zero. How can this be done? (Ideally, I would love to see something like: as $\hbar$ ...
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4answers
887 views

Is there a proof from the first principle that the Lagrangian L = T - V?

Is there a proof from the first principle that for the Lagrangian $L$, $$L = T\text{(kinetic energy)} - V\text{(potential energy)}$$ in classical mechanics? Assume that Cartesian coordinates are ...
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Deriving the action and the Lagrangian for a free point particle in Special Relativity

My question relates to Landau & Lifshitz, Classical Theory of Field, Chapter 2: Relativistic Mechanics, Paragraph 8: The principle of least action. As stated there, to determine the action ...
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How does the period of an hourglass depend on the grain size?

Suppose I have an hourglass that takes 1 full hour on average to drain. The grains of sand are, say, $1 \pm 0.1\ {\rm mm}$ in diameter. If I replace this with very finely-grained sand $0.1 \pm 0.01\ ...
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421 views

When “unphysical” solutions are not actually unphysical

When solving problems in physics, one often finds, and ignores, "unphysical" solutions. For example, when solving for the velocity and time taken to fall a distance h (from rest) under earth gravity: ...
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446 views

Is the quantization of the harmonic oscillator unique?

To put it a little better: Is there more than one quantum system, which ends up in the classical harmonic oscillator in the classial limit? I'm specifically, but not only, interested in an ...
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572 views

How do we explain accelerated motion in Newtonian physics and in modern physics?

Maybe my question will seem stupid, but I am not a physicist so I have some problems understanding a classic Newtonian experiment: in the bucket experiment, why does he have to introduce the absolute ...
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Fractal nature of turbulence

Someone described to me the difficulty of numerically simulating turbulence as that as you look at smaller length scales you see more structure like you do in a fractal. Searching on google for ...
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1answer
642 views

Coriolis force and Newton's third law

I would like to ask a stupid question here. If a body 'b' moving downward with a velocity v in a rotating frame of reference with angular velocity w, and w and v not being parallel and anti parallel. ...
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761 views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory

I wondered if someone could help me understand spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. Consider a Higgs-like potential, with a local ...
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307 views

Understanding Poisson brackets

In quantum mechanics, when two observables commute, it implies that the two can be measured simultaneously without perturbing each other's measurement results. Or in other words, the uncertainty in ...
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224 views

Cutting a circle and moving endpoints

A metal (or otherwise, suitably elastic) circle is cut and the points are slid up and down a vertical axis as shown: How would one describe the resultant curves mathematically?