The statement that a property of a system does not change if the system is isolated.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
3answers
2k views

In general, why do smaller guns have more felt recoil?

Why is recoil easier to control on a more massive gun compared to a smaller gun with the same bullet. Presumably the bullet leaves both guns with the same momentum, but the larger gun seems easier to ...
5
votes
2answers
523 views

Would a sneeze by a cosmonaut in a spacesuit affect his movement?

Naive question; feel free to shoot me down It is a truism that any motion in space would continue indefinitely unless it is opposed by an external force. If a cosmonaut were to sneeze within his/her ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
431 views

Why can't Compton scattering happen in leading order of perturbation theory?

Why is the matrix element of Compton scattering in leading order of perturbation theory equal to zero? Why can this process only be described in second order of perturbation theory, i.e. with exchange ...
5
votes
1answer
331 views

In QED, why is the $e^- + e^+\leftrightarrow\gamma$ process forbidden on-shell?

QED has a vertex that couples a single photon to two fermions. This vertex describes the annihilation of an electron-positron pair into a photon. Why is this process forbidden for all three particles ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

The momentum of a swinging sword

Suppose you are faced with a zombie, and the only way to kill it and save yourself is to chop its head off with your sword. However, you are very weak from illness, and can only afford to strike once. ...
5
votes
1answer
234 views

How does one account for the momentum of an absorbed photon?

Suppose I have an atom in its ground state $|g⟩$, and it has an excited state $|e⟩$ sitting at an energy $E_a=\hbar\omega_0$ above it. To want to excite the atom, one generally uses a photon of ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What causes a force field to be “nonconservative?”

A conservative force field is one in which all that matters is that a particle goes from point A to point B. The time (or otherwise) path involved makes no difference. Most force fields in physics ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the giant Newton's cradle in the Kit-Kat ad feasible?

Apologies in advance if this is too basic a question for Phys.SE. I don't want to dumb down this venerable institution. :) My wife and I just watched this TV ad for Kit-Kat where a crew of crane ...
5
votes
2answers
284 views

Does continuity equation hold if the flow is accerelated?

I'm Studying the streamline flow, specifically the continuity equation Bernoulli's Principle. Consider the following system where a liquid flows through the pipe of a uniform area of cross section ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

How to tell if the collision is elastic or inelastic?

I'm a programmer and a game developer, not a mathematician or a physicist. So please go easy on the math :) I know two things: How to find the new velocities of two objects after an elastic ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Does the stress-energy tensor contain the equations of motion?

Derivatives $\nabla_i T^{ik}=0$ of a stress-energy tensor of physical system express conservation laws. Whether contains a stress-energy tensor also the information on the equations of motion of ...
5
votes
5answers
669 views

How is Angular Momentum Conserved when Mass is Released?

I am not a physicist (math/comp-sci) but I understand that Angular Momentum is supposed to be conserved. I find this confusing because there seems to be many simple, common cases where a restrained, ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Relationship between height and velocity in conservation of mechnical energy

I'm a high school physics student, and we recently did a lab on the conservation of energy where we measured the speed of a marble at varying heights on a rollercoaster track. We were supposed to ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What is difference between the different 'flavours' of neutrinos?

Moreover, how-come scientist know that muon-neutrino are different from electron-neutrino when they didn't even know what the difference was? Did they interact differently with other particles?
5
votes
1answer
443 views

Is there any potential associated with magnetism

Can anybody please tell me if magnetism is a conservative force or if there is a field associated with it? How to reason? One thing I know is that the work done by a magnetic force is $0$.
5
votes
3answers
818 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How does Delta baryon decay conserve angular momentum?

I'm a chemist so bear with me: I understand the Delta baryons $\Delta^{+}$ and $\Delta^{0}$ to be in some sense spin (and isospin) quartet states of the proton and neutron. These can decay straight ...
5
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Kepler problem in time: how do two gravitationally attracted particles move? [duplicate]

Two particles with initial positions and velocities $r_1,v_1$ and $r_2,v_2$ are interacting by the inverse square law (with G=1), so that $$ {d^2r_1\over dt^2} = - { m_2(r_1-r_2)\over |r_1-r_2|^3} $$ ...
5
votes
3answers
16k views

Why is momentum conserved in an inelastic collision and kinetic energy is not conserved? [duplicate]

We know that in an inelastic collision that total momentum of the system before collision equals the total momentum after collision. But total kinetic energy before collision is not equal to total ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

What's the corresponding symmetry of enstrophy conservation?

In fluid mechanics, especially 2D turbulence study, people talk about conservation of enstrophy. But I can't really understand enstrophy very well, and what's the corresponding symmetry of enstrophy ...
5
votes
1answer
265 views

Translations and Noether's Theorem

I'm fine with $U(1)$ symmetry and Noether's Theorem, but struggling with the translations of the field; namely $$\phi'(x^{\mu})=\phi(x^{\mu}-a^{\mu}),$$ where $a^{\mu}$ constant four-vector ...
5
votes
3answers
141 views

How is the conservation of momentum satisfied in long-range attraction such as electromagnetism and gravity?

I'm not a physicist, but my understanding is that electromagnetism (including attraction between opposite charges) is mediated by the photon, and gravity is probably (hypothetized to be?) mediated by ...
5
votes
1answer
378 views

Pion decay in particle physics

I'm taking a particle physics course and we're using Perkins Introduction to High Energy Physics as the text. I am looking at problem 1.7. It asks whether $$\pi^0\rightarrow e^- + e^+$$ is allowed or ...
5
votes
2answers
228 views

What is the exact relation between $\mathrm{SU(3)}$ flavour symmetry and the Gell-Mann–Nishijima relation

I'm trying to understand how the Gell-Mann–Nishijima relation has been derived: \begin{equation} Q = I_3 + \frac{Y}{2} \end{equation} where $Q$ is the electric charge of the quarks, $I_3$ is the ...
5
votes
2answers
263 views

Proof of conservation of information [duplicate]

After listening of some lectures of Leonard Susskind about black holes, he mentioned that conservation of information is one of the foundations of physics. After searching the web I cannot seem to ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Elastic collision of rotating bodies

How would you explain in detail elastic collision of two rotating bodies to someone with basic understanding of classical mechanics? I'm writing simple physics engine, but now only simulating ...
5
votes
1answer
664 views

What is the result of a classical collision between THREE point particles at the same precise instant?

Classical Mechanics is said to be deterministic, a statement that nearly always is followed by that quote from Laplace, something like If at one time, one knew the positions and velocities of all ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

Why doesn't the 9th ball move in the break in the nine-ball pool game?

In the game of nine-ball pool, we break the rack like shown below: In the break, we hit the 1st ball with the cue ball. Many people familiar with pool games say that if the rack is constructed ...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

Is this a valid proof that the four-current is conserved?

The four-current of a particle moving along a worldine $X^\nu(s)$ is defined as $$j^\mu(x^\nu) = ec \int u^\mu(s)\, \delta^4(x^\nu - X^\nu(s)) \, ds$$ So here's my proof that this is conserved: ...
5
votes
2answers
94 views

Conservation of ang. momentum for paths reaching a rotation axis

My question is the following: if we had the trajectory of a particle eventually reaching a point of a rotation axis $ \vec{u} $ (take that as being the z-axis for convenience) by an angle $ s $, ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Conserved currents in higher-spin theories

After the proposal of Maldacena (AdS/CFT), there have been numerous attempts to find out gravity duals of various kinds of CFT. Klebanov and Polyakov gave one such correspondence here. The claim is ...
5
votes
3answers
599 views

Thrust center in space

I have this dilemma: Suppose you have a space ship somewhere in deep space, where there is no drag force or substantial gravity. If the ship has a single engine situated in such a way that the center ...
5
votes
4answers
269 views

Thermodynamics thought experiment

There is some ideal gas in a container moving with some velocity on a smooth surface and you suddenly stop it( say by using your hands) , will the temperature of the gas increase? It seems to me that ...
5
votes
1answer
433 views

Relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation

What exactly is the relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation? Suppose $J^\mu$ is a contravariant vector that satisfies the continuity equation $\partial_\mu J^\mu=0$. Let ...
5
votes
1answer
387 views

Lepton Number Conservation

What is the global symmetry of the electroweak Lagrangian that gives rise to lepton number conservation? As I understand it, electric charge is some linear combination of the conserved quantities ...
5
votes
0answers
144 views

If weak isospin is not conserved in time, what does the Noether theorem tell us?

As far as I understand weak isospin is only conserved in interactions but not as time evolves. Nevertheless, we get from Noethers theorem, because of global $SU(2)$ invariance a conserved quantity ...
5
votes
1answer
252 views

Why must SUSY be broken?

Background One usually claims that supersymmetry must be spontaneously broken. The reasoning is roughly the following: Since $M^2=P^{\mu}P_{\mu}$ is a casimir operator of the supersymmetry algebra, ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

A paradox to Lenz's law

I have read that in simple words, Lenz's law states that: The direction of current induced in a conductor is in such a fashion, that it opposes its cause. This validates law of conservation of ...
4
votes
4answers
284 views

Noether's theorem for space translational symmetry

Imagine a ramp potential of the form $U(x) = a*x + b$ in 1D space. This corresponds to a constant force field over $x$. If I do a classical mechanics experiment with a particle, the particle behaves ...
4
votes
2answers
786 views

How to apply Noether's theorem

Say I have a point transformation: $$x' ~=~ (1 +\epsilon)x,$$ $$t' ~=~ (1 +\epsilon)^2t,$$ and Lagrangian $$ L ~=~ \frac{1}{2}m\dot{x}^2 - \frac{\alpha}{x^2}.$$ How do I go out about showing ...
4
votes
5answers
254 views

No diffusion term in conservation of mass in Navier-Stokes equations?

I have followed derivations of the Navier-Stokes equations and I can see how the various terms arise in the "main equation", the momentum conservation equation. However I don't understand why the ...
4
votes
3answers
711 views

Why Liouville's theorem is obvious?

In Florian Scheck's Mechanics, he stated the local form of Liouville's theorem as follows: Let $\Phi_{t,s}(x)$ be the flow of the differential equation $$-J\frac{d}{dt}x=H_{x}.$$ Then for all $x,t,s$ ...
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Does the conservation of the Wronskian follow from Noether's principle?

Noether's principle is the paradigm that symmetries of Hamiltonian and Lagrangian systems correspond to conservation laws of various kinds. Consider a one-dimensional harmonic oscillator $$\tag{*} ...
4
votes
3answers
477 views

What does it mean to say work is path-independent when pushing an object in different directions?

If I apply a straight upward(perpendicular to ground) force against gravity of $5\ \mathrm{N}$ and lift an object "A" 10 meters, then the work done is: $$ W = F \times S = 5\ \mathrm{N} \times 10\ ...
4
votes
3answers
272 views

Trilinear gauge couplings: Spin

In non-abelian gauge theories self interaction of gauge fields is permitted, allowing coupling such as $WWZ$ (i.e. $Z$-boson decaying to $W^+W^-$) or ggg (i.e. gluon splitting into two new gluons). ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Noether's theorem for more interesting transformations of the time co-ordinate

According to Wikipedia, Noether's theorem (for the mechanics of a point particle) says that if the following transformation is a symmetry of the Lagrangian $$t \to t + \epsilon T$$ $$q \to q + ...
4
votes
1answer
296 views

Intuitive meaning of a special case of the Bernoulli equation

In the Bernoulli equation, if $h$ equals zero, it reduces to $$P_1+\frac12\rho v_1^2 = P_2+\frac12\rho v_2^2$$ The equation does not have an intuitive meaning other than the fact that it is a bare ...