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

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6answers
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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 ...
33
votes
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
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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 ...
25
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1answer
640 views

Best current bounds on nonconservation of momentum?

It's not straightforward to test conservation of momentum experimentally, and many experiments that seem like tests really aren't. For example, in a Newtonian system of identical particles that ...
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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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 ...
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 ...
18
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6answers
3k views

Conservation of momentum when rain pours into a wagon

Suppose a wagon is moving at constant velocity on a friction-less surface, and rain begins to fill the wagon. The net force on the wagon is zero, so momentum is conserved; as the mass of the wagon ...
17
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6answers
8k views

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Do the front tires of a car act like gyroscopes, such that a car could steer on a frictionless surface?
16
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6answers
751 views

Is there a momentum for charge?

Since mass and charge behave similarly, so, just like center of mass, I define a point center of charge, that is defined by $$\vec r_{qm} = \frac {\sum{q_i \vec r_i}} {\sum{q_i}}$$ where $\vec r_i$ ...
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 ...
15
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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 ...
14
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6answers
2k views

Is there any way to annihilate matter without the use of anti-matter?

Is there any way to annihilate matter without the use of anti-matter? And vice versa? I mean, for example is it possible to totally convert the mass of a proton into "pure energy" without use an ...
14
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4answers
855 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 ...
14
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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 ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Can one black hole suck in another black hole?

In the recent news, scientists at NASA have found “unprecedented” black hole cluster near Andromeda’s central bulge. I wonder why doesn't all these black holes merge and such each other in until just ...
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 ...
12
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8answers
5k 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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
12
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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 ...
12
votes
3answers
483 views

Why $\log \rho$ in the continuity equation?

I just saw the continuity equation, in a manuscript, written as $$\frac{\partial \log \rho }{\partial t} + \vec v \cdot \nabla \log \rho= - \nabla \cdot \vec v.$$ Now, just calculating the derivatives ...
11
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3answers
982 views

Changing Rotation Direction in Mid Air

Not sure whether this is an appropriate question for this site, but could anyone explain the physics behind how this skier is able to change his direction of rotation mid-air? ...
11
votes
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 ...
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 ...
10
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3answers
314 views

Entire Universe's Momentum

I was thinking about the definition of the conservation of momentum, which says that momentum is conserved unless outside forces are acting on the system, and I was wondering that if the system is the ...
10
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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 ...
10
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1answer
139 views

Is there a trajectory which is not a solution of the equation of motion but satisfies all conservation laws?

I'm wondering whether conservation laws are sufficient to imply equations of motions. Specifically: 1) In classical mechanics of point particles, are conservation of energy, conservation of momentum ...
10
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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 ...
10
votes
2answers
400 views

Can vorticity be destroyed?

I have a professor that is fond of saying that vorticity cannot be destroyed. I see how this is true for inviscid flows, but is this also true for viscous flow? The vorticity equation is shown below ...
10
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0answers
699 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 ...
9
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4answers
1k views

If angular momentum is conserved, what's wrong with this scenario?

I understand that, in a given system with no external torques applied, angular momentum is conserved. However, consider the following situation: Let's say the earth revolves around the Sun in a ...
9
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
141 views

How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere ...
9
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0answers
302 views

Noether currents for the BRST tranformation of Yang-Mills fields

The Lagrangian of the Yang-Mills fields is given by $$ \mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4}(F^a_{\mu\nu})^2+\bar{\psi}(i\gamma^{\mu} D_{\mu}-m)\psi-\frac{1}{2\xi}(\partial\cdot A^a)^2+ ...
8
votes
2answers
709 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
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Conservation Vs Non-conservation Forms of conservation Equations

I understand mathematically how one can obtain the conservation equations in both the conservative $${\partial\rho\over\partial t}+\nabla\cdot(\rho \textbf{u})=0$$ ...
8
votes
4answers
368 views

Does the action and Lagrangian have identical symmetries and conserved quantities?

From the book Introduction to Classical Mechanics With Problems and Solutions by David Morin, page 236 states: Noether's Theorem: For each symmetry of the Lagrangian, there is a conserved ...
8
votes
1answer
511 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 ...
8
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3answers
276 views

Continuum limit for solid mechanics

Is there a rigorous derivation of the limits for continuum properties in solid mechanics? For instance, the stress-strain relationship may be linear for large samples (the slope being the Young's ...
8
votes
1answer
185 views

Is electric charge truly conserved for bosonic matter?

Even before quantization, charged bosonic fields exhibit a certain "self-interaction". The body of this post demonstrates this fact, and the last paragraph asks the question. Notation/ Lagrangians ...
8
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3answers
630 views

Where does the kinetic energy go?

A uniform cylinder was placed on a frictionless bearing and set to rotate about its vertical axis. After a cylinder has reached a specific state of rotation it is heated without any mechanical support ...
7
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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.
7
votes
4answers
388 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) ...
7
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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
10k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What determines whether a pool ball will bouce backwards after colliding with another pool ball?

I'm no knowledgeable pool player, but I've noticed that sometimes when the cue ball hits another pool ball, they roll together; and sometimes the cue ball bounces back. And I have a very, very rough ...
7
votes
1answer
271 views

Spin of 125 GeV Higgs boson

Can someone please explain to me why (according to decay of Higgs boson into 2 photons) Higgs boson cannot have spin $S=1$?