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

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Energy conservation without action principle?

The normal tagline for energy conservation is that it's a conserved quantity associated to time-translation invariance. I understand how this works for theories coming from a Lagrangian, and that this ...
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83 views

Is there a systematic way to obtain all conserved quantities of a system?

I'd like to know whether, given a system, there's a way to obtain all the conserved quantities. For instance if the system consists of electric and magnetic fields, the fields must satisfy Maxwell's ...
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265 views

Movement in outer space via Newton's law of every action has an equal and opposite reaction

What is more effective for travel in outer space ignoring all other factors like air radiation etc. I have a 10 kg bag of rice would I travel faster throwing the whole bag at once or throwing a grain ...
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124 views

Conservation Laws and Symmetry

The toughest of topics in physics, like Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, String theory, can be explained in layman words and many have done so. Though there is no substitute to the understanding a ...
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246 views

Why is it important that the vector current should be conserved in QED?

In Quantum Field Theory and the Standard Model by MD Schwartz in the chapter about the anomalies, he derives from the equation of motions and the Noether currents of a effective massless QED ...
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Proving angular momentum is conserved for a particle moving in a central force field $\vec F =\phi(r) \vec r$

A problem I am trying to work out is as follows: A particle moves in a force field given by $\vec F =\phi(r) \vec r$. Prove that the angular momentum of the particle about the origin is constant. ...
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Why does the Earth rotate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does every thing spin? So why would the Earth, or any planet for that matter, rotate along an axis? I know of no force which could come into play here, so i assume it ...
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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 ...
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533 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 ...
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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 ...
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435 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 ...
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355 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 ...
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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. ...
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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 A,...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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\ \...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 $0$.
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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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182 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 ...
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279 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 $$x^{\...
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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 ...
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403 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 non-...
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1answer
686 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 ...
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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 ...
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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: \...
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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 $, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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443 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 $J^...
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395 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 ...
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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 ...
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190 views

Hidden momentum

I'm trying to learn about hidden momentum. After reading what I could find with a google search, I understand that it is equal to the momentum carried by radiation, calculated with the Poynting vector....
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Why particles with certain properties can't exist

This is inspired by a recent post on why a free electron can't absorb a photon, though my question below is about something considerably more general. The argument in the accepted answer goes (in ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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805 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 ...