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

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41
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7answers
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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 ...
36
votes
4answers
17k views

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 ...
6
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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 $$ {d^2r_1\over dt^2} = - { m_2(r_1-r_2)\over |r_1-r_2|^3} $$ ...
46
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1answer
6k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Noether theorem and classical proof of electric charge conservation

How to prove conservation of electric charge using Noether's theorem according to classical (non-quantum) mechanics? I know the proof based on using Klein–Gordon field, but that derivation use ...
10
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4answers
3k views

Apparent violation of Newton's 3rd law and the conservation of angular momentum for a pair of charged particles interacting magnetically

Consider a system of the two identical point positive charges situated in free space (isolated from influence of any other external fields) as shown in the figure below. Particle 1 is at $(a,a,0)$ and ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial spin?

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation? Why do Venus and Mercury rotate so slowly compared to other planets? Why does Venus rotate in a different direction to Mercury, Earth and Mars?
30
votes
5answers
3k views

Is the converse of Noether's first theorem true: Every conservation law has a symmetry?

Noether's (first) theorem states that any differentiable symmetry of the action of a physical system has a corresponding conservation law. Is the converse true: Any conservation law of a physical ...
16
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4answers
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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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How does Newtonian mechanics explain why orbiting objects do not fall to the object they are orbiting?

The force of gravity is constantly being applied to an orbiting object. And therefore the object is constantly accelerating. Why doesn't gravity eventually "win" over the object's momentum, like a ...
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 ...
57
votes
6answers
4k views

Is there a way for an astronaut to rotate?

We know that if an imaginary astronaut is in the intergalactic (no external forces) and has an initial velocity zero, then he has is no way to change the position of his center of mass. The law of ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

Spontaneous pair production?

So I've been looking into particle-antiparticle pair production from a gamma ray and don't understand one thing. Let's say I have a 1,1 MeV photon and it hits a nucleus - electron-positron pair with ...
6
votes
2answers
848 views

A kind of Noether's theorem for the Hamiltonian formalism

How can I (conveniently?) show that an invariance of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian (i.e. the kinetic as well as the potential energy are independently invariant) will lead to a conservation law using ...
16
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
27
votes
6answers
5k 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. ...
12
votes
4answers
2k 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
4answers
1k views

NASA's “Impossible” Space Engine

Recently, there was some news that said that the researchers at NASA have come across some impossible kind of space engine which does not require any fuel. I have read at a few places like here, here ...
10
votes
1answer
895 views

Effect of the tail of the cat in the falling cat problem

To explain why a falling cat can turn by 180 degree without external torque and without violation of the conservation of angular momentum, one usually models the cat as two cylinders as in http://en....
9
votes
4answers
9k views

Why can't a single photon produce an electron-positron pair?

In reading through old course material, I found the assignment (my translation): Show that a single photon cannot produce an electron-positron pair, but needs additional matter or light quanta. ...
13
votes
11answers
53k views

How can momentum but not energy be conserved in an inelastic collision?

In inelastic collisions, kinetic energy changes, so the velocities of the objects also change. So how is momentum conserved in inelastic collisions?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Elastic collision of point particle and rod

A 1 meter long rod on the ice with mass $m_2=1$ kg is perpendicularly hit on one end by a point particle with mass $m_1=0.1$ kg. The collision is elastic and the point particle is bounced back in the ...
10
votes
3answers
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Noether's current expression in Peskin and Schroeder

In the second chapter of Peskin and Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory, it is said that the action is invariant if the Lagrangian density changes by a four-divergence. But if we ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Noether theorem, gauge symmetry and conservation of charge

I'm trying to understand Noether's theorem, and it's application to gauge symmetry. Below what I've done so far. First, the global gauge symmetry. I'm starting with the Lagragian $$L_{1}=\partial^{\...
18
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Constants of motion vs. integrals of motion

Since the equation of mechanics are of second order in time, we know that for $N$ degrees of freedom we have to specify $2N$ initial conditions. One of them is the initial time $t_0$ and the rest of ...
-1
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1answer
6k views

Violation of Newton's 3rd law and momentum conservation [closed]

Why and when does Newton's 3rd law violate in relativistic mechanics? Check this link.
15
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4answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
7k views

What is a rocket engine thrusting against in space?

I know Newton's third law of motion might be the answer for this but still I am wondering how the rockets could thrust in the empty space and move in the opposite direction. I guess an astronaut ...
14
votes
1answer
849 views

Neutrino Oscillations and Conservation of Momentum

I would like to better understand how neutrino oscillations are consistent with conservation of momentum because I'm encountering some conceptual difficulties when thinking about it. I do have a ...
3
votes
2answers
360 views

Classical EM : clear link between gauge symmetry and charge conservation

In the case of classical field theory, Noether's theorem ensures that for a given action $$S=\int \mathrm{d}^dx\,\mathcal{L}(\phi_\mu,\partial_\nu\phi_\mu,x^i)$$ that stays invariant under the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Does a particle annihilate only with its antiparticle? If yes, why?

Or to put the question another way - what is the result of a proton-positron collision, or an up quark-charm antiquark collision, etc.? As far as I know, annihilation happens only between particles of ...
1
vote
3answers
790 views

Determine resultant velocity of an elastic particle-particle collision in 3d space

So I have two particles that have collided in 3 dimensional space. I want the particles to rebound off of each other in an elastic manner. How do I determine the resultant velocity vector if I know: ...
8
votes
5answers
30k 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.
97
votes
4answers
13k views

Why do electrons, according to my textbook, exist forever?

Does that mean that electrons are infinitely stable? The neutrinos of the three leptons are also listed as having a mean lifespan of infinity.
25
votes
6answers
16k views

Newton's cradle

Why, when one releases 2 balls in Newton's cradle, two balls on the opposite side bounce out at approximately the same speed as the 1st pair, rather than one ball at higher speed, or 3 balls at lower ...
13
votes
6answers
3k 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. ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Conserved quantities and total derivatives?

I am having a bit of a crisis in understanding of the physical meanings of total derivatives. When a quantity $\rho$ (be it a vector or a scalar) is said to be conserved, then (mathematically) $$\...
5
votes
1answer
473 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 equal to $0$.
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Energy conservation limited by uncertainty principle

The way I learned it from practicing Fourier analysis and signal processing besides quantum mechanics, is that Energy conservation cannot be achieved in short time scales, and that limits energy ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Huge buildings affect Earth's rotation?

Does constructing huge buildings affect the rotation of the Earth, similar to skater whose angular rotation increases when her arms are closed comparatively than open?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

On what basis do we trust Conservation of Energy?

I'm happy to accept and use conservation of energy when I'm solving problems at Uni, but I'm curious about it to. For all of my adult life, and most of my childhood I've been told this law must hold ...
6
votes
2answers
184 views

Pass to globally conserved currents from locally conserved currents in curved spacetime

Let us begin with a Lagrangian of the form $$\mathscr L= \frac 12 \sqrt{-g}g^{\mu\nu}\partial_\mu\phi(x)\partial_\nu\phi(x)+\mathscr L_g,$$ where $$\mathscr L_g=\frac 1{16\pi k}\sqrt{-g}R.$$ ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Rocket/Thrust/Gas/Free Expansion of Gas

We know, the rockets in space use Newton's 3rd law to increase their velocity and hence move. What I don't understand is how it is possible in space aka vacuum-state without air? From what I know, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Ice skater increase of energy

This may be a very basic question but I am not seeing how it works. Consider the standard example of an ice skate rotating about his/her center of mass and pulling in his/her arms. The torque is zero ...
1
vote
0answers
747 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Can momentum be conserved in a perfectly elastic collision?

I am taking for granted that when we say that something is conserved it is understood 'in its full integrity'. Energy is represented by a scalar J, and is conserved in elastic collision. momentum ...
0
votes
1answer
667 views

Continuity equation in fluid mechanics

The continuity equation in fluid mechanics states that $$ \frac{\partial\rho}{\partial t} + \nabla\cdot(ρ\mathbf u)=0 $$ Can you explain to me what is the physical meaning of each term of the ...
17
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5answers
3k 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 ...