The law of conservation of energy, which states that the amount of energy in a system is constant. For questions about Earth's environment, see the climate-science tag instead.

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Energy conservation and quantum measurement

Consider a particle in a potential well. Let’s assume it’s a simple harmonic oscillator potential and the particle is in its ground state with energy E0 = (1/2) ℏω0. We measure its ...
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Can a force in an explicitly time dependent classical system be conservative?

If I consider equations of motion derived from the principle of least action for an explicitly time dependent Lagrangian $$\delta S[L[q(\text{t}),q'(\text{t}),{\bf t}]]=0,$$ under what ...
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Can energy be created and destroyed?

The indroduction of the principle of conservation of mechanical energy has been tremendously useful from the practical point of view. But .. Consider the case in which we shoot an electron up in the ...
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Is energy conserved in general relativity? Does $\nabla_aT^{ab}_{\rm matter}=0$ represent the conservation of energy and momentum?

For example, the radiation dominated cosmology, the energy density of radiation is proportional to $a^{-4}$ and the volume is proportional to $a^3$, where $a$ is the scale factor. So the total energy ...
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Force as gradient of scalar potential energy

My text book reads If a particle is acted upon by the forces which are conservative; that is, if the forces are derivable from a scalar potential energy function in manner $ F=-\nabla V $. I ...
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Proof of conservation of energy?

How is it proved to be always true? It's a fundamental principle in Physics, that is based on all of our currents observations of multiple systems in the universe, is it always true to all systems? ...
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915 views

If conservation of energy was wrong, how would we know about it?

Suppose you just started learning physics and you've been introduced to conservation of energy and kinetic energy. Apart from those concepts you know next to nothing. Then you observe an inelastic ...
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4answers
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Work done by the Magnetic Force

The magnetic part of the Lorentz force acts perpendicular to the charge's velocity, and consequently does zero work on it. Can we extrapolate this statement to say that such a nature of the force ...
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Why do travelling waves continue after amplitude sum = 0?

My professor asked an interesting question at the end of the last class, but I can't figure out the answer. The question is this (recalled from memory): There are two travelling wave pulses moving in ...
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Why can't I do this to get infinite energy?

I know that I cannot do this because of conservation of energy, so I am looking for an answer as to why this will not work. So by my understanding of Einstein's whole famous $E=mc^2$ thing it is ...
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Is the energy conserved in a moving frame of reference?

Consider this situation: When the box is at the bottom of the frictionless incline, it will have a velocity of $v_f$. The person is an inertial frame of reference that moves at a constant ...
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Is the normal force a conservative force?

Most of the time the normal force doesn't do any work because it's perpendicular to the direction of motion but if it does do work, would it be conservative or non-conservative? For example, consider ...
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4answers
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A confusion regarding an example in The Feynman Lectures

In The Feynman Lectures, In the chapter entitled Work and potential energy, Feynman states: The work done in going around any path in a gravitational field is zero. This is a very remarkable ...
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What happens to orbits at small radii in general relativity?

I know that (most) elliptic orbits precess due to the math of general relativity, like this: source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem_in_general_relativity I also know that something ...
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4answers
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LED conversion efficiency exceed 100%

I have read this article, Which says that conversion efficiency of the LED have exceeded 100%. The results are published in Physical Review Letters In their experiments, the researchers reduced ...
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7answers
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Why can't we store light in the form of light?

We can store cold (ice), heat (i.e. hot water bag) and electrical charge (batteries). We can even "store" a magnetic field in a magnet. We can convert light into energy and then, if we want, back to ...
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How to explain independence of momentum and energy conservation in elementary terms?

I'm trying to explain to someone learning elementary physics (16 year old) that linear momentum and energy are conserved independently. I'm not a professional physicist and haven't tried to explain ...
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How long must escape velocity be maintained?

Escape velocity from Earth's surface is 11.2 Kilometres/second. How long would one need to maintain this escape velocity to actually escape Earth's gravitational pull? Must this 11.2 km/s velocity ...
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2answers
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How efficient is the human body?

This question sort of comes to mind when hearing how efficient an internal combustion engine is turning chemical energy in mechanical energy (something like 20-40%) with lots of excess heat. As an ...
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3answers
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Energy-time uncertainty and pair creation

Usually, the energy-time analogue of the position-momentum uncertainty relation is quoted as $\Delta E \Delta t \geq \frac{h}{4 \pi}$. This has interpretational issues and such. But, with a suitable ...
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4answers
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How Uncertainty Principle, Vacuum fluctuations and Energy Conservation coexist in QFT?

Recently I had a debate about the uncertainty principle in QFT that made me even more confused.. Because we use Fourier transforms in QFT, we should have an analogue to the usual Heisenberg ...
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1answer
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As the universe expands, the wavelengths of photons are stretched, and energy is lost. What about electrons?

Will electrons, and other particles, also loose energy as they travel through the cosmos? They have wavelengths. Do they get "stretched"? My guess is that the EM force, somehow, counteracts this ...
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4answers
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Where do electrons get their ever-lasting circulating energy?

We all know (or maybe know) that to move, we need to spend energy. If you want to drive a car, you gotta spend gasoline. We also know that energy can't be created (first law of thermodynamics, and ...
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How gently could a comet/asteroid/meteorite “hit” Earth?

Could an object from outer-space with the right velocity and orbit come into contact with the surface of our planet in a manner that wouldn't cause it to burn in our atmosphere?
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0answers
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Conservation of Energy in the Universe [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is energy really conserved? Why can’t energy be created or destroyed? One of the laws of the universe that dazzles me the most is the law of conservation of energy. I ...
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4answers
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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: $\text{mass}\times\...
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Are there any other mechanisms that can make virtual particles 'real' other than Hawking Radiation and Universe Births?

As I understand it, if virtual particles do not recombine within the plank time they become 'real'. This is proposed to happen in Hawking Radiation, where one virtual particle crosses the black hole'...
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1answer
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A two-level system absorbs a detuned photon. Where does the extra energy go?

Let's consider simple two-level system with frequency gap of $\omega_0$ between ground and excited state. Now, when we turn on external electromagnetic field with frequency $\omega < \omega_0$, ...
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2answers
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What is the mechanism of particle anti-particle annihilation

My question is loaded with assumptions so to minimize them, I would like to ask it with respect to an electron and anti-electron annihilating. When I think of annihilation, I think of electron and ...
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3answers
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The Difference Between voltage and current

I know that this question has been asked many times before, and I have read over several of the threads asking this question, but they do not include the gripe I have with my problem of understanding ...
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2answers
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force applied not on the center of mass

When applying a force outside of the center of mass of the body, the body will get both linear and angular momentum. Right? Does the linear velocity from this force equal to the linear velocity from ...
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6answers
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Where do magnets get the energy to repel?

If I separate two magnets whose opposite poles are facing, I am adding energy. If I let go of the magnets, then presumably the energy that I added is used to move the magnets together again. However, ...
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3answers
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Intuitive meaning of factor 2 in formula of vertical throw max height $h=v^2/2g$

This is a question about a simple thing. The simplified expression for maximum height in vertical throw is $h=\frac{v^2}{2g}$ , could anyone explain intuitively (analogies are welcome) why there is a ...
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1answer
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extracting energy from cosmological expansion

This question is a more concrete reincarnation of an old question about energy conservation in GR. Are there mechanisms to extract energy from the cosmic rate of expansion? putting some extremely ...
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Non-local gravitational energy tensor

The well-known derivation of the Landau-Lifshitz gravitational energy pseudotensor, relies on several requirements: 1) that it be constructed entirely from the metric tensor 2) that it be index ...
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1answer
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How is quantum tunneling possible?

How is quantum tunneling possible? According to quantum mechanics, each particle is represented by a probability density function. This function must be continuous, and therefore when we look at a ...
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1answer
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How does the uncertainty principle relate to quantum fluctuations?

I found a webpage that just kind of mentions the uncertainty principle lightly but doesn't really go into detail as to why we need it in the first place when considering quantum fluctuations and ...
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2answers
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Are photon energies conserved in general relativity?

As I understand it, both Maxwell's wave equation and the null geodesics of general relativity are scale invariant. Thus an electromagnetic wave can be shifted along a null geodesic without changing ...
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1answer
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Example where Hamiltonian $H \neq T+V=E$, but $E=T+V$ is conserved

I'm looking for an example of a Hamiltonian $H$, where $H\neq T+V$, but the total energy in the system, $E=T+V$, is still conserved. While I'm at it, I might as well add that I'd be most interested ...
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1answer
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Physical interpretation of $Q^i = \partial _\nu T^{i \nu}$

I'm trouble with exercise 1.8 of Carroll's Space-Time and Geometry: If $\partial_\nu T^{\mu \nu} = Q^\mu$, what physically does the spatial vector $Q^i$ represent? Use the dust energy momentum ...
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1answer
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Energy Conservation in Kinetic Power Plants [duplicate]

Quite recently the company Rosch has developed a new kind of power plant that supposedly utilizes the buoyancy effect to generate electricity. The apparatus consists of a vertical conveyor belt with ...
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1answer
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Many-worlds: Where does the energy come from?

With regard to the theory that each time a wave function collapses the universe splits so that each possible outcome really exists - where does all the energy required to create all the new universes ...
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Conservation of energy in quantum teleportation

Consider the quantum state teleportation protocol of Bennett et. al. How does one prove that this protocol would never violate the conservation of energy? At the face of it, it doesn't seem to be ...
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3answers
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If empty space has energy, and space is expanding, is this energy equally distributed as space expands?

The cosmological constant (dark energy) is often described in terms of empty space having a non 0 energy value and this energy being the source of the accelerated expansion of the universe. If space ...
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3answers
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Neutron decay and electron anti neutrino $n\to p + e + \bar{\nu}_e$

Why do we need neutrino to explain neutron decay? Is there any evidence regarding existence neutrinos in the context of $n\to p + e + \bar{\nu}_e$?
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1answer
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What is the mass of individual components in a gravitationally bound system?

When material of rest mass M falls from infinity onto a black hole accretion disk, it gets heated and then emits so much light that the energy radiated away can measure up to about 30% or so of M c^2. ...
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2answers
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Extra energy in quantum tunneling

In quantum tunneling, the probability of finding an electron inside the potential barrier is non zero . So we can actually find an electron which had an energy $E$ in a place where classically it ...
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0answers
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What is the form of energy that is forming while lifting a suitcase [duplicate]

If I am lifting a heavy suitcase and I am not moving at all. Abviously I am not doing work because I am not moving or rising the suitcase up and down. But abviously I am losing chemical energy since ...
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1answer
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The relation between Hamiltonian and Energy

I know Hamiltonian can be energy and be a constant of motion if and only if: Lagrangian be time-independent, potential be independent of velocity, coordinate be time independent. Otherwise $$H\...