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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Why is tunneling not a classical idea?

There is no tunneling in the case of infinite potential barrier, but there is when we have a finite well. In the classical analog, in the first case we have a particle bouncing between to infinitely ...
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How can you solve this “paradox”? Central potential

A mass of point performs an effectively 1-dimensional motion in the radial coordinate. If we use the conservation of angular momentum, the centrifugal potential should be added to the original one. ...
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Reason for different type of energy transfer for two kinds of collisions

According to my physics book, if an electron were accelerated with 15 MeV of (kinetic?) energy and collided into a 100g thermally insulated copper block (not sure if the fact it is thermally insulated ...
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How is angular momentum conserved when a spinning top finally stops spinning?

Where does the top's angular momentum get transferred to? Does it very slightly change the angular momentum of the table, and then the angular momentum of the Earth?
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174 views

Why isn't $F = \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial q}$?

If momentum is, $$p = \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{q}}$$ and force is, $$ F = \frac{dp}{dt}$$ and by Euler-Langrange equations, $$ \frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial ...
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Is instantaneous velocity an abstraction?

In introductory analysis, the discussion the derivative emphasizes that while average rates of change are measurable, instantaneous rates of change are a "limiting abstraction". While this makes ...
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Why are infinitesimal rotations commutative, whereas finite rotations are not?

Infinitesimal rotations commute and every finite rotation is the composition of infinitesimal rotations which should logically mean they also commute; but they don't. Why?
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774 views

Invariance of Lagrangian in Noether's theorem

Often in textbooks Noether's theorem is stated with the assumption that the Lagrangian needs to be invariant $\delta L=0$. However, given a lagrangian $L$, we know that the Lagrangians $\alpha L$ ...
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251 views

Is it normal for physical functions to lack a 2nd derivative?

My question is about the appearance of a non-analytic function in the formula for the resistive force in air or other medium. Considering the 1-dimensional case as covered by Walter Lewin in his 8.01 ...
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586 views

What's the importance of Noether's theorem in Physics

The Noether's theorem that I want to mention is the following: Noether's theorem. I know the importance of Noether's contribution to modern algebra. Can anyone write about Noether's theorem in ...
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423 views

What are the normal modes of a vertical rope?

Closely related to this question on traveling waves on a hanging rope, I would also like to know what the normal modes are on a rope that hangs vertically, fixed at both ends. Tension in the rope ...
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200 views

Formalism to deal with discontinuous potentials in classical mechanics (hard wall, hard spheres)

It seems to me that Hamiltonian formalism does not suit well for problems involving instantaneous change of momentum, like particle collisions with hard wall or hard sphere gas model. At least I could ...
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143 views

Quantum version of the Galton Board

If classical particles fall through a Galton Board they pile up in the limit of large numbers like a normal distribution, see e.g. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GaltonBoard.html What kind of ...
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152 views

Elementary derivation of the motion equations for an inverted pendulum on a cart

Consider a cart of mass $M$ constrained to move on the horizontal axis. A massless rod is attached to the midpoint of the cart, having a mass $m$ on its endpoint. See wikipedia for a picture and for a ...
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948 views

Classical Limit of Schrodinger Equation

There is a well-known argument that if we write the wavefunction as $\psi = A \exp(iS/\hbar)$, where $A$ and $S$ are real, and substitute this into the Schrodinger equation and take the limit $h \to ...
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945 views

Two spheres (A physics olympiad problem)

Browsing an archive of problems of a local physics olympiad, i stumbled upon a problem which seems not a very trivial. Given two identical metal spheres in vacuum, with mass $m$ and radius $R$. One ...
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840 views

How the Lagrangian of classical system can be derived from basic assumptions?

It is well known that the Lagrangian of a classical free particle equal to kinetic energy. This statement can be derived from some basic assumptions about the symmetries of the space-time. Is there ...
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116 views

Why must allowable physical laws have reversibility?

I'm watching Susskind's video lectures and he says in the first lecture on classical mechanics that for a physical law to be allowable in classical mechanics it must be reversible, in the sense that ...
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Noether Theorem and Energy conservation in classical mechanics

I have a problem deriving the conversation of energy from time translation invariance. The invariance of the Lagrangian under infinitesimal time displacements $t \rightarrow t' = t + \epsilon$ can be ...
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190 views

Classically efficient universal quantum computation (P=BQP) with magic and bound states

$\text P$ vs $\text {BQP}$ is an open question. That is, "can systems which require a polynomial number of qubits in the size of an input be described with only a polynomial number of bits?" If the ...
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Difference between torque and moment

What is the difference between torque and moment? I would like to see mathematical definitions for both quantities. I also do not prefer definitions like "It is the tendancy..../It is a measure of ...
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362 views

Some questions on observables in QM

1-In QM every observable is described mathematically by a linear Hermitian operator. Does that mean every Hermitian linear operator can represent an observable? 2-What are the criteria to say whether ...
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Maximum speed of a rocket with a potential of relativistic speeds

Ultimately, the factor limiting the maximum speed of a rocket is: the amount of fuel it carries the speed of ejection of the gases the mass of the rocket the length of the rocket ...
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636 views

Equilibrium and movement of a cylinder with asymmetric mass centre on an inclined plane

A cylinder whose cross section is represented below is placed on an inclined plane. I would like to determine the maximum slope of the inclined plane so that the cylinder does not roll. The mass ...
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158 views

Why is classical mechanics determinism based on position and momentum only and not forces and scattering rules?

Consider a closed system (say a box) of $n$ particles. There is a well-known idiom/meme/law in classical mechanics that says that the position and momentum of those $n$ particles is all that is needed ...
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772 views

Physical interpretation of Poisson bracket properties

In classical Hamiltonian mechanics evolution of any observable (scalar function on a manifold in hand) is given as $$\frac{dA}{dt} = \{A,H\}+\frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$$ So Poisson bracket is a ...
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260 views

What is the Quantum equivalent of chaos on a classical system? (if there's any)

This is a question that bugging me around for some time now. It is not clear to me what is the meaning of a chaos if we consider a quantum system. What is the mathematical formalism (or the quantum ...
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74 views

Pendulum with a rotating point of support from Landau-Lifschitz

I found this problem in Landau-Lifschitz vol.1 (Mechanics) A simple pendulum of mass $m$, length $l$ whose point of support moves uniformly on a vertical circle with constant frequency $\gamma$. ...
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368 views

How to derive relation for time derivative in a rotating reference frame

I am looking for an appropriate derivation of the $(\frac{d}{dt})_{\text{laboratory}} = (\frac{d}{dt})_{\text{rotating}} + \omega \times $ relationship that enables one to calculate all desired ...
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743 views

Meaning of negative frequency of sound wave

Suppose that Alice and Bob are both holding speakers emitting sound at a frequency $f$. Alice is stationary while Bob is moving towards Alice at twice the speed of sound. In the case of Alice, if I ...
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219 views

Does a straight water hose issue water at a greater pressure than a Coiled water hose of same diameter and length?

I have a one BHP water pump, the water pressure of a coiled hose connected to the water pump output side was not that great. Would an unwound water hose produce greater water pressure? [Friction ...
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608 views

What does it mean, when one says that system has N constants of motion?

For example for an isolated system the energy $E$ is conserved. But then any function of energy, (like $E^2,\sin E,\frac{ln|E|}{E^{42}}$ e.t.c.) is conserved too. Therefore one can make up infinitely ...
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Including air resistance, what is the escape velocity from Earth?

Including air resistance, what is the escape velocity from the surface of the earth for a free-flying trajectile?
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Why don't clouds fall? [duplicate]

Well I do know that they sometimes fall as rain, but my question is why don't the droplets fall as soon as they condense from steam to cloud. Clouds are white by the process of Mie scattering so the ...
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270 views

What is Maupertuis' principle good for?

The strength of Hamilton's principle is obvious to me and I see the advantage. Now, for conservative systems we also have Maupertuis' principle that says: $$ \delta \int p dq =0$$ and I am not sure ...
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98 views

Calculating how a polygon bounces off a plane

I'd like to calculate how polygons bounce off a plane. In this picture, the square doesn't bounce straight up, but instead it bounces somewhat to the right and starts spinning. But I have no idea ...
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315 views

Row of pivoted magnets and energy scale

This question is about a system involving a horizontal row of length L of equally spaced pivotable magnets, each with a pole at either end. These magnets will often be referred to as units. So each ...
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170 views

Rolling a deformed ring

Consider a ring rolling without slipping along a horizontal surface. Regardless of the speed of the ring, it is continuously in contact with the surface. Let's deform the ring slightly so that it ...
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220 views

What shape of track minimizes the time a ball takes between start and stop points of equal height?

I was at my son's high school "open house" and the physics teacher did a demo with two curtain rail tracks and two ball bearings. One track was straight and on a slight slope. The beginning and end ...
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266 views

Why are the solution coefficients for a harmonic oscillator proportional to minors of the determinant?

I'm studying the oscillations of systems with more than one degree of freedom from Landau & Lifshitz's Mechanics Third Edition (for those who have the book, my question corresponds roughly to ...
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752 views

Canonical momentum in different coordinate system

The canonical momentum is defined as $p_{i} = \frac {\partial L}{\partial \dot{q_{i}}} $, where $L$ is the Lagrangian. So actually how does $p_{i}$ transform in one coordinate system $\textbf{q}$ to ...
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181 views

Why can you assume that the angular momentum vector of a top will always track its axis of rotation?

My favorite physics 101 textbook (Giancoli) explains precession in terms of a spinning top whose axis is tilted from the vertical. The way the book sets things up, $L$ (angular momentum) points along ...
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Equivalent spring-constant for infinite square grid of springs

Consider an infinite square grid, where each side of a square is a spring following Hooke's law, with spring constant $k$. What is the relation between the force and displacement between two points? ...
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96 views

Is there a systematic way to derive constraint equations?

There's this problem in Goldstein's (Classical Mechanics) derivations section: 5. Two wheels of radius $a$ are mounted on the ends of a common axle of length $b$ such that the wheels rotate ...
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A column falls, how will it break?

I'm not expecting a definitive answer. But I would like someone to explain which are the main forces that interact in this situation: An ideal cylindrical column that is at first vertical is pushed ...
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701 views

Conservation of linear and angular momentum

Suppose I have two rigid bodies A and B and they are connected by a spring which is attached off-center (thus possibly causing torques). Due to the spring a force $f$ acts on A and a force $-f$ acts ...
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683 views

What are examples of classical physical systems having polynomial observables of degree greater than 2?

Specifically: What are empirically well-understood examples of (integrable) Hamiltonian systems whose Hamiltonians include polynomial expressions, in the canonical coordinates $\{q^i,p_i\mid ...
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230 views

Tracking photon color in Bell experiments

In parametric down-conversion, it is said that a driving photon is converted into two entangled photons whose frequencies add up to the driving frequency. Yet in discussions about entanglement ...
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Constraint force on a rod

I really hope someone will take a quick look at the following, I would just love to better understand it... This exercise is from Arnold's "Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics", p. 97 in the ...
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Fresco in his “Future By Design” introduces drawing of underwater vessel and its front system of generating air bubbles. Is idea energy efficient?

I recently saw Fresco's Future By Design and noticed something miniature to investigate. My notice regards about one of his illustration he describes in the documentary. Here is the link on youtube, ...