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

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Why can't energy be created or destroyed?

My physics instructor told the class, when lecturing about energy, that it can't be created or destroyed. Why is that? Is there a theory or scientific evidence that proves his statement true or ...
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3answers
985 views

Conservation of electric charge in Feynman diagram

Here is a Feynman diagram showing the mutual annihilation of a bound state electron positron pair into two photons: Is the electric charge conserved at the point A (or B)? What is the "charge" of ...
2
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2answers
330 views

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux?

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux (e.g., in electromagnetism)? For example, when working with Gauss's law in electromagnetism, net flux through an arbitrary volume element ...
9
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0answers
547 views

Gauge redundancies and global symmetries

It is often said that local (gauge) transformation is only redundancy of description of spin one massless particles, to make the number degrees of freedom from three to two. It is often said that ...
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2answers
474 views

Conservation of momentum leading to damage

What would be an intuitive way to damage objects in a physics game using impulses? Since momentum is conserved, so is impulse (the change in momentum for any two time periods) in a closed system. So ...
2
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3answers
832 views

Why do some satellites fall to Earth?

In another question How does Newtonian mechanics explain why orbiting objects do not fall to the object they are orbiting?, one can read an affirmative answer. They how do you explain satellites ...
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3answers
522 views

Energy non-conservation for time-dependent potentials

Written in a book I read that the "total energy is not preserved when the potential depends explicitly on time", i.e. $U=U(x,t)$. Is there any proof or explanation for this?
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2answers
201 views

The time component is $\gamma m c$, so shouldn't $E=mc$?

Basically, the book is Brian Cox's Why Does $E=mc^2$?: (And Why Should We Care?). I just finished Chapter 5, where we derived the spacetime momentum vector (energy-momentum four vector, as he ...
3
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1answer
655 views

Conservation of angular momentum for a nonrigid body

Question: The sun is not a rigid body but a hot ball of gas. The period of rotation varies from 37 days at the pole to 26 days at the equator. The mean radius of the sun is $7\times 10^8\text{ ...
9
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1answer
92 views

Global symmetry in string theory

It is often stated that in quantum gravity only charges coupled to gauge fields can be conserved. This is because of the no hair theorem. If a charge is coupled to a gauge field then when it falls ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Probability current

Conservation of probability: Suppose a wavefunction has ${\partial \mathbb P \over \partial t} = -t f(x,t)$ and ${\partial j \over \partial x} = i f(x,t)$. How does it follow that ${\partial \mathbb P ...
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3answers
342 views

Is the continuous transformation of energy from one form to another one free? Or it consumes some quantity of who knows what?

Sorry for the unclarity. I probably created some bias in your mind having tagged my question with energy-conservation and conservation-laws. I simply consider that, relatively independently of ...
26
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1answer
3k views

What conservation law corresponds to Lorentz boosts?

Noether's Theorem is used to related the invariance under certain continuous transformations to conserved currents. A common example is that translations in spacetime correspond to the conservation of ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Decay of massless particles

We don't normally consider the possibility that massless particles could undergo radioactive decay. There are elementary arguments that make it sound implausible. (A bunch of the following is ...
26
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4answers
1k views

Why does everything spin?

The origin of spin is some what a puzzle to me, everything spin from galaxies to planets to weather to electrons. Where has all the angular momentum come from? Why is it so natural? I was also ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Deriving Newton's Third Law from homogeneity of Space

I am following the first volume of the course of theoretical physics by Landau. So, whatever I say below mainly talks regarding the first 2 chapters of Landau and the approach of deriving Newton's ...
2
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2answers
390 views

How do you find conserved quantities for linear second order ODEs?

I have a differential equation of the form $ \frac{d^2 y}{dt^2} + f(t) \frac{dy}{dt} + g(t) y = 0 $ where $f$ and $g$ are known functions of time. Is there a systematic (or otherwise) way of ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
3
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1answer
407 views

Substance like quanties and conserved quantities, Karlsruhe physics course

In the Karlsruhe physics course one defines the term "substance-like" quantity: Let my cite the definition from a paper by Falk, Herrmann and Schmid: "There is a class of physical quantities whose ...
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4answers
990 views

Energy conservation in Electrodynamics

Let us suppose that we have a known electromagnetic wave-train of finite size propagating in a certain direction. There is a probe charge on its way. This EMW is an external field for the charge. The ...
7
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3answers
8k views

How does the 'water jet pack' work?

So I was cruising around at YouTube and saw this sweet video, and as I was watching started to wonder: "How is this possible?". For a little bit of background, in case you decide to not watch the ...
12
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4answers
1k views

If all conserved quantities of a system are known, can they be explained by symmetries?

If a system has $N$ degrees of freedom (DOF) and therefore $N$ independent1 conserved quantities integrals of motion, can continuous symmetries with a total of $N$ parameters be found that deliver ...
15
votes
3answers
925 views

No hair theorem for black holes and the baryon number

The no hair theorem says that a black hole can be characterized by a small number of parameters that are visible from distance - mass, angular momentum and electric charge. For me it is puzzling why ...
13
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5answers
2k views

How can there be net linear momentum in a static electromagnetic field (not propagating)?

I understand from basic conservation of energy and momentum considerations, it is clear in classical electrodynamics that the fields should be able to have energy and momentum. This leads to the usual ...
5
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4answers
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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0answers
615 views

Do symmetries increase the number of conserved quantities? [closed]

Let us consider a classical mechanical system of N particles in a constant external field. We have 3N coordinates and 3N velocities, so totally 6N unknown variables. We have 6N ordinary differential ...
20
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6answers
2k views

Can Noether's theorem be understood intuitively?

Noether's theorem is one of those surprisingly clear results of mathematical calculations, for which I am inclined to think that some kind of intuitive understanding should or must be possible. ...
5
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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 ...
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5answers
8k views

Why does a ballerina speed up when she pulls in her arms?

My friend thinks it's because she has less air resistance but I'm not sure.
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3answers
1k views

What is the symmetry which is responsible for preservation/conservation of electrical charges?

Another Noether's theorem question, this time about electrical charge. According to Noether's theorem, all conservation laws originate from invariance of a system to shifts in a certain space. For ...
12
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6answers
2k views

What is the symmetry which is responsible for conservation of mass?

According to Noether's theorem, all conservation laws originate from invariance of a system to shifts in a certain space. For example conservation of energy stems from invariance to time translation. ...
12
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5answers
2k views

What is the conserved quantity of a scale-invariant universe?

Consider that we have a system described by a wavefunction psi(x). We then make an exact copy of the system, and anything associated with it, (including the inner cogs and gears of the elementary ...