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

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32
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5answers
2k 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 ...
31
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
26
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4answers
10k 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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
919 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation?

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation? Why do Venus and Mercury rotate so slowly compared to other planets and why does Venus rotate in a different direction to Mercury, Earth and ...
22
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6answers
3k 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. ...
20
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5answers
2k 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 ...
11
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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 ...
7
votes
5answers
13k 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.
46
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6answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Violation of Newton's 3rd law and momentum conservation

Why and when does newtons 3rd law violate in relativistic mechanics? Check this link http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/Newton.htm.
16
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3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
851 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
706 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?
8
votes
1answer
510 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
520 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
1answer
231 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 $0$.
14
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
8answers
11k 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?
1
vote
0answers
642 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
6
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
410 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
9k views

Perfect elastic collision and velocity transfer

So my teacher told me that when you have two identical balls in a perfectly elastic collision, the first ball A will collide with B and afterwards A will stop and B continue. Why is this? Doesn't ...
20
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
12
votes
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. ...
-4
votes
7answers
1k views

Does Newton's third law apply to momentum or to forces?

I read all the previous answers concerning the 3rd law and I have seen that it is definitely not universal, (Edit: but conservation of momentum is. If it is not universal it should be not a problem to ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
382 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) ...
6
votes
3answers
909 views

How does $F = \frac{ \Delta (mv)}{ \Delta t}$ equal $( m \frac { \Delta v}{ \Delta t} ) + ( v \frac { \Delta m}{ \Delta t} )$?

That's how it's framed in my Physics school-book. The question (or rather, the explanation) is that of the thrust of rockets and how the impulse is equal (with opposite signs) on the thrust-gases and ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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. ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it possible to create matter? [duplicate]

Is it possible to create matter? In a recent discussion I had, it was suggested that with enough energy in the future, "particles" could be created. It seems like this shouldn't be possible due to ...
5
votes
2answers
498 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
3answers
682 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

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. ...
3
votes
1answer
360 views

What conservation law corresponds to this local $U(1)$ symmetry of the CCR?

It is known that canonical commutation relations do not fix the form of momentum operator. That means that if canonical commutation relations (CCR) are given by ...
0
votes
1answer
948 views

How to find constant of motion for Hamiltonian system?

I have to find a constant of motion associated to this Hamiltonian but I don't know how to proceed. $$H=\frac{\mathbf{p_0}^2}{2m}+\frac{\mathbf{p_1}^2}{2m}+\frac{\mathbf{p_2}^2}{2m}-2V(\mathbf{r_1}- ...
6
votes
1answer
443 views

Can a deformable object “swim” in curved space-time? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Swimming in Spacetime - apparent conserved quantity violation It is well known that a deformable object can perform a finite rotation in space by performing deformations ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Conservation of momentum but not kinetic energy in inelastic collisions

In inelastic collisions, the kinetic energy of the system is not conserved but the momentum is. Kinetic energy is: $0.5 \times \text{mass} \times \text{velocity}^2$. Momentum is: ...
4
votes
3answers
250 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
217 views

A kind of Noether's theorem for the Hamiltonian

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
333 views

How to get the new direction of 2 disks colliding?

I'm developing a 2D game including collisions between many disks. I would like to know how I can get the angle corresponding to the new direction of each disk. For every disk I have this information ...
2
votes
3answers
536 views

Train crash: are these situations alike? [duplicate]

I was just wondering... I believe that if a car travelling 50 miles per hour crashes into a wall, the result should be the same as crashing to another car also travelling 50 miles per hour (but in the ...