# Tagged Questions

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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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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### 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?