Discrete means as opposed to continuous. For, instance, people may ask questions about discrete electric charges, discrete spacetime, discrete energies, etc. If discretization is vital/essential to the question then tag it with the [tag:discrete] tag.

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Is spectrum of Discrete-Time Fourier Transform (DTFT) periodic or not

I can't think of any better title. Here is the content that I got question http://cnx.org/content/m10247/2.31/ As it state the nature of DTFT's spectrum is periodic as it show in figure 1 However, ...
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2answers
2k views

Does the Planck scale imply that spacetime is discrete?

On a quantum scale the smallest unit is the Planck scale, which is a discrete measure. There several question that come to mind: Does that mean that particles can only live in a discrete grid-like ...
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1answer
105 views

What arguments are in favour of an atomic structure to space-time?

The atomic theory as first theorised by Democritus has been successfully applied to matter and to energy (quanta). Space-time is still generally seen as a continuum. What arguments are there (if any) ...
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2answers
200 views

Formalism to deal with discontinuous potentials in classical mechanics (hard wall, hard spheres)

It seems to me that Hamiltonian formalism does not suit well for problems involving instantaneous change of momentum, like particle collisions with hard wall or hard sphere gas model. At least I could ...
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2answers
611 views

Bounded and Unbounded (Scattering) States in Quantum Mechanics

I understand that bounded states in quantum mechanics imply that the total energy of the state, $E$, is less than the potential $V_0$ at + or - spatial infinity. Similarly, the scattering state ...
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3answers
137 views

Particles scattering on fluids: breakdown of the effective continuum description

When does the macroscopic continuum description of a medium like a fluid break down? Say I'm interested in a scattering process of some particles with momentum $p$ and energy $E$ off a fluid of ...
2
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2answers
82 views

What is the “discrete” analogue to “continuum” mechanics?

If I wanted to explore a discrete mathematics approach to continuum mechanics, what textbooks should I look into? I suppose a ready answer to the question might be: "computational continuum ...
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2answers
89 views

Infinitely many points of space-time?

Please can someone provided me with academic literature (Journals/Books, titles & links) which discuss the current view on space time i.e. that there is not Infinitely many points of space-time?
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24 views

How to get discretization coefficients of matrix $A$ in Finite Volume Method (FVM)? [closed]

First we have Discretization of the Transport Equation $$ \frac{\partial \rho \phi}{\partial t} + \nabla(\rho U \phi) - \nabla (\rho \Gamma_\phi \nabla \phi) = S_\phi (\phi) $$ In Finite Volume ...
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1answer
88 views

Is it possible that the universe in its entirety is discrete rather than continuous? [duplicate]

Since electric charge is comprised of discrete units and and mass is formed by discrete units is it possible that space-time itself is discrete as well?
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0answers
32 views

Are continuous mathematical models of discrete physical phenomena messy because of a disconnect between “continuous” and “discontinuous”? [duplicate]

A copy of my question on Mathematics: Examples from statistical mechanics and continuum mechanics abound: a discrete phenomenon (e.g. kinetic energy of molecules) is "averaged" out over the ...
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8answers
2k views

Is there something similar to Noether's theorem for discrete symmetries?

Noether's theorem states that, for every continuous symmetry of a system, there exists a conserved quantity, e.g. energy conservation for time invariance, charge conservation for $U(1)$. Is there any ...
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1answer
127 views

Theoretical reasons for charge quantization

I'm aware of Millikan's oil drop experiment and I've read that quarks have fractional eletric charge, but I was wondering if there's any theoretical argument that makes us believe charge is quantized. ...
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1answer
33 views

Charge or Charges on the oil droplets?

Due to my poor understanding of various paper and other material provided by google on Millikan's oil drop experiment I ask the following question here. As the drops were charged by either friction ...
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2answers
183 views

Oil drop experiment and quantization of charge

How to systematically show that the resulting charges in oil drop experiment are integers multiplied by $e$ in other word how to extract $e$ from the data?
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9answers
4k views

Is time continuous?

While working on physics simulation software, I noticed that I had implemented discrete time (the only type possible on computers). By that I mean that I had an update mechanism that advanced the ...
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1answer
170 views

Can universal continuity be experimentally falsified?

It is an unresolved question whether the universe is discrete or continuous in its intricate quantum level structure. See for example: Is the universe finite and discrete? How could spacetime become ...
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2answers
84 views

Discrete movement vs wave function collapse

I remember once, as a child, thinking that objects do not really "move," but that at a very small scale they would have to "disappear" and then "appear" again at their newly shifted position, just the ...
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0answers
95 views

If time isn't continuous, what is the best-known upper bound on the length of time intervals?

There have been several questions about whether time is continuous or not and it seems like the answer isn't currently known. I know quantum mechanics treats time as continuous and any mathematics ...
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4answers
184 views

When is energy discrete/quantized for a potential well?

Specifically, my question is: Should one expect energy quantization for a particle in the following potential well? More generally, how can one tell whether or not energy should be ...
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2answers
70 views

Discrete approximation of charge density

Given the electric potential $\Phi(r)$ and the Poisson's equation: $$ \nabla^2 \Phi(r) = - 4\pi \rho(r)$$ Consider the 2-dimensional case and let's say that I want to discretize this using a square ...
2
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3answers
107 views

Configuration space of particles in the box

The notion of entropy says that we can count microstates that correspond to macrostate. But, I do not understand how this can be done. Does it imply that the state space is discrete (finite or ...
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5answers
2k views

If photon energies are continuous and atomic energy levels are discrete, how can atoms absorb photons?

If photon energies are continuous and atomic energy levels are discrete, how can atoms absorb photons? The probability of a photon having just the right amount of energy for an atomic transition is ...
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3answers
681 views

Space-time in String Theory

I would like to understand how Physicists think of space-time in the context of String Theory. I understand that there are $3$ large space dimensions, a time dimension, and $6$ or $7$ (or $22$) extra ...
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7answers
3k views

Is (rest) mass quantized?

I learned today in class that photons and light are quantized. I also remember that electric charge is quantized as well. I was thinking about these implications, and I was wondering if (rest) mass ...
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0answers
82 views

Is everything in the universe discrete? [duplicate]

When beginning my education, I regarded nearly everything as continuous and analog in nature: Physical objects could have any mass on a continuous scale Light sources could emit any intensity of ...
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1answer
81 views

Vehicle acceleration

What I'm essentially doing is Kalman Filter. If anyone is familiar with (but it doesn't really matter in this case). Consider the following formulas: $$x_k=x_{k-1}+v_{k-1}dt+a_{k-1}\frac{dt^2}{2}$$ ...
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2answers
534 views

Continuous vs. Discrete Spectra in various materials

I read that the reason solids emit continuous spectra is that they don't have time to let their electrons decay-they are too close together. Given that electrons decay on the order of 100 nanoseconds ...
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1answer
109 views

Explicit solutions to 2-d Dirac Equation

The 2-d Dirac equation without any constants is represented usually as $$i*dt (\phi) = D (\phi)$$ where $D = m\sigma_2-i\sigma_1dx-i\sigma_3dy$. Where can I find explicit closed form solutions to ...
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1answer
207 views

What fundamental reasons imply quantization?

In classical wave mechanics, quantization can occur simply from a finite potential well. In quantum mechanics, the quantization is obtained from the Schrödinger equation, which is, to my knowledge, a ...
2
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1answer
259 views

Planck time & length

Why is Planck time the shortest possible duration ever? It's defined as the duration needed by light to travel Planck's length, but surely, give me any number, I can give you a lower number than that? ...
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0answers
85 views

Wave Particle duality because of discrete time?

If time is discrete, such as the Planck's length, would the transition from one frame of time to the next explain why it appears matter changes from a particle to a wave? During that infinitely small ...
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3answers
559 views

Does the Opera result hint to a discrete spacetime?

Could the Opera result be interpreted as some kind of hint to a discrete spacetime that is only seen for high enough energy neutrinos? I think I've read (some time ago) something like this in a ...
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1answer
112 views

Quantization of Electron Spin

Why is electron spin quantized? I've seen the derivation for the Hydrogen atom's energy levels, but my professor jumped to electrons having spin 1/2 or -1/2 as experimental. Why do electrons obey the ...
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4answers
495 views

Is the electromagnetic spectrum discrete?

I'm just starting to learn physics and I have a question (that is probably stupid.) I learned that energy levels that the bound electron can have are discrete. I also learned that when an electron ...
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3answers
517 views

Why does spin have a discrete spectrum?

Why is it that unlike other quantum properties such as momentum and velocity, which usually are given through (probabilistic) continuous values, spin has a (probabilistic) discrete spectrum?
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2answers
241 views

The Quantization of Photon Energies

Despite Planck's constant being in $E=hf$, it would appear to me that energy is still not discrete, as frequency can be an fraction of a Hertz that one wants. How does this imply that electromagnetic ...
14
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1answer
434 views

Discreteness of set of energy eigenvalues

Given some potential $V$, we have the eigenvalue problem $$ -\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\Delta \psi + V\psi = E\psi $$ with the boundary condition $$ \lim_{|x|\rightarrow \infty} \psi(x) = 0 $$ If we ...
3
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3answers
218 views

Computation theory and the simulation argument

Can physical states be treated as information (strings over some alphabet)? If (1) is true, isn't this a trivial conclusion that the universe can be simulated by a Turing machine or a cellular ...
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3answers
851 views

Is space infinitely divisible?

As a child I remember hearing the popular paradox presented by Zeno proposing that Achilles could never catch a tortoise in a race since he would have to traverse the infinite space between himself ...
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2answers
135 views

What is the smallest increment of space and the smallest increment of time? [closed]

I believe that every point in space is a surface point. And if it was possible to break through or tear a point in space, it will create a black hole. I believe that's why a black hole can exist ...
3
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1answer
129 views

Discretization of Hamiltonian using finite difference always justified?

I have this continuum version $$ H_{R}=\int dx\psi^{\dagger}(x)(\frac{p^{2}}{2}+V)\psi(x) $$ with $V$ as constant potential. Is it always justified to go from this to $$ \sum_{i}c_{i}^{ \dagger ...
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1answer
70 views

How can we consider charge to be continuous? [duplicate]

In electrostatics, we usually consider charge to be continuous on any body, to calculate the electric field of the body. For eg. I had proved the Shell Theorem taking an infinitesimal charge of $dq$ ...
0
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0answers
84 views

What about continuity of Space and possible discreteness of Time? [duplicate]

Is time continuous or discrete? Is even this question a valid question? If you say, it all depends on resolution then assume the best possible resolution achievable. If it is discrete, then what about ...
1
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1answer
719 views

Is time quantized? Is there a fundamental time unit that cannot be divided? [duplicate]

Is the present just a sharp line between the past and the future with no time at all, or is the present a short frozen unit of time? Could time be quantized into a fundamental units? Like Planck ...
2
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2answers
809 views

Application of Calculus in Physics

Why do we apply Calculus in Physics when most of the quantities are not continuous and are not symmetrical at all levels of magnification? Aren't most, if not all, forms of Matter and Energy discrete? ...
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0answers
119 views

Does a point exist in the real world [duplicate]

In mathematics we can have an infinite number of points between two integers. This is really circular logic since a point is defined as infinitely small. Does a point exist anywhere in the physical ...
0
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1answer
96 views

How do we know that time and distance are not discrete?

I know that it is believed that energy is discrete, in that it travels in quanta. I was wondering if there is any evidence which either proves or disproves something similar with both time and ...
2
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1answer
96 views

Topological vs. non-topological noetherian charges

What (if any) is the relationship between the conserved (non-topological) noetherian charges and topological charges? Namely, is there any "generalization" of the Noether's first theorem that includes ...
5
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1answer
94 views

Gauging discrete symmetries

I read somewhere what performing an orbifolding (i.e. imposing a discrete symmetry on what would otherwise be a compactification torus) is equivalent to "gauging the discrete symmetry". Can anybody ...