# 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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### Using energy conservation for equation of motion

I am trying to get $\phi(t)$ out of this equation: $$\frac12 J \dot\phi^2 + mgl ( 1- \cos\phi) = E_0.$$ I know it's a common method to say $\sin(\phi) \approx \phi$ and $\cos(\phi) \approx 1$, but ...
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### Coupling fission and fusion and disappear all mass. Why doesn't this happen?

I'm confused about the fact that in a fission process the masses of the "products" are less than the mass of the "reactants". And in a fusion process the masses of the "products" are less than the ...
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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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### Conceptual question regarding work

Here is a problem I am having some trouble with: The solution is below, my question is, why is conservation of energy valid in this situation. From my understanding, just before the box hits the ...
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### Greater momentum than initial?

The question is : Heavier object A, initially at rest, is struck by lighter object B. Is it possible for object A to have a larger final momentum than the initial momentum of object B? The ...
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### Finding the initial velocity of projectile [closed]

What is the formula for calculating initial velocity of projectile using the conservation of energy given the mass, height, angle ?
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### Why does this not make infinite energy?

Here's an idea I had for infinite energy: Get into a spaceship, and fly to a star or other large body and get into orbit. Then just harvest your kinetic energy somehow and keep going indefinitely. My ...
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### Violation of conservation of energy?

Imagine a perfectly spherical mirror with 100% reflection. Imagine a point source of light in the center. The point source keeps radiating light. Will the light undergo destructive interference ...
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### Why doesn't Beta Decay violate the laws of physics?

In Beta decay, a neutron decays into a proton, and "throws out" an electron at high speed. However, this, to me, suggests that the law of conservation of mass is not being kept here. Neutrons have a ...
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### Why did the electric potential energy fall in this situation?

Suppose you have two capacitors configured as shown in the image below. One of them has charge $q$ and the other one is uncharged. Then, you close the switch, allowing charges to flow. After ...
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### Where does the majority of the mass of the usual matter come from? [duplicate]

I apologize in advance to experts for the naivety of the question. It should be a duplicate but I didn't find any satifying question or answer about that. The proton is composed by two up quarks ...
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### Does the dynamical Casimir effect generation of real photons create energy from nothing?

The experiments reported in recent years demonstrating the creation of real photon pairs from the vacuum via the dynamical Casimir effect have made me wonder if this process demonstrates the creation ...
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### Do virtual particles actually physically exist?

I have heard virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time, most notable being the pairs that pop out beside black holes and while one gets pulled away. But wouldn't this actually violate ...
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### Velocity and transfer of energy for a body in free fall

I just need to check if my understanding of the transfer of gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy is correct. Is anything wrong below? Say if a body were suspended at a height h above the ...
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### a question about work needed to move a charge towards another one [duplicate]

Consider two charges $q_1>0$ & $q_2>0$ separated by a distance $d_1$, and we want to move charge $q_2$ to a distance $d_2$ from $d_1$ where $d_1-d_2>0$. I need to calculate the work ...
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### A captious work problem: same paths but same forces?

A man jumps onto a chair. A man climbs onto a chair by putting a leg first and then the other. In both cases, the work has been the same. TRUE or FALSE...? Spoiler!: The path is the same, so the ...
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### Ball on a slope with hollow

The experiment shown in the image suggests that ball B will reach the goal faster than ball A although the balls have identical properties and they start from the same height. The authors even ...
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### Question on particle decay process, conservation of energy

Why is $$\Sigma^0 \rightarrow \Lambda +\pi^0$$ not a possible process? Charge and baryon number both are conserved. There's no issue with strangeness that I can tell. The masses in $\frac{Mev}{c^2}$ ...
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### Why does it hurt more to fall from 10 stories, than 1?

$F=ma$. Falling from any distance, mass stays the same, and acceleration due to gravity stays the same. So, why does it hurt more, the longer you fall?
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### Question regarding the sail attached to a boat. [closed]

I came across a physics numerical in which the boat is travelling 45 degrees south-east. The direction of wind is towards north and the force that it exerts is constant force of 100 N on the sail. The ...
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### Does (mass $\rightarrow$ pure energy) conversion need both matter $and$ antimatter?

A question in my revision guide: "Explain why the mass of a tree cannot be converted directly into energy." The answer explains that the tree contains particles but not their corresponding anti-...
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### Positions and corresponding terminology of “acoustics energy”?

From limited knowledge, decades ago, dating back to the nineteenth century: Ohm's law of specific acoustic energies was the first biological application of Fourier's theorem. Actually, it was ...
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### How can gravitational energy cancel out the rest energy of mass in the universe [duplicate]

I've heard that some physicists think that the net energy of the universe is zero. For this to happen, I would assume that the negative gravitational energy of a body ought to cancel out its rest ...
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### Spinning, decelerating coin on a table

A coin spun on a table will eventually end up flat on the table, ignoring the cases where it remains balanced and comes to rest on its edge (or falls off etc). Before the coin comes to rest on its ...
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### Inelastic Collision and Energy

How is is possible for momentum to be conserved and for KE to not be conserved? Momentum is related to velocity and velocity is related to KE, therefore if KE was lost, how can the system have the ...
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### Alternatives to the neutrino in the beta spectrum?

It is well known that the neutrino appeared to explain the power distribution in the beta decay spectrum. (see PSE) What other explanations candidates were available? It is stated that the ...
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### Is refraction of light a thermodynamic process?

Is refraction of light a thermodynamic process? Can it be explained by conservation of energy? If so, does temperature has an effect on refraction of light?
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### If a bell is rung in a perfect vacuum and is suspended by opposing magnets will it ever stop ringing?

As far as I am aware a bell rung in a perfect vacuum would only lose energy and stop ringing due to friction between the bell and the hanging mechanism (due to the lack of air resistance). Therefore ...
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### Weightless person in a cart on a rail [closed]

In a problem I'm trying to solve I'm having a conflict between my understanding and the proposed solution of the problem. In the problem, a cart of mass $m$ is put at rest in the start of a friction-...
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### Dropping a weight onto a spring scale

Say I drop a 5kg weight from a height of 1 meters onto a spring scale like many people have in their bathrooms. On impact the scale will show a higher weight than 5kg. Question: Which quantities ...
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### Where did energy come from?

So it is my understanding that before the big bang there was a very small point that held all of the matter in the universe. My question is what form did energy of the universe take on when it was 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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### How does mechanical energy conservation work? [closed]

I am a little confused about how mechanical energy conservation operates when it comes to things like predicting velocity. I know that if conservative forces are the only forces acting on a body, then ...
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### In an elastic collision, can we choose between cons. of energy and cons. of momentum?

Suppose we have two solid spheres with masses $m$ and $M$, respectively, and that $m$ is significantly less than $M$. The lighter sphere is placed directly on top of the heavier one, and the two are ...
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### Fluid approximation for inflaton?

In cosmology there is a widely used fluid approximation which applies when the mean free path is very small compared to the scale of observation and then all the properties of stress energy tensor can ...
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### Energy conservation $\iff \frac{dE}{dt} = 0\$?

If I'm asked to prove that a system is/ isn't conservative and compare it to whether or not the Hamiltonian is conserved, does that mean I need to compute the time derivative of energy $(T+U)$? Doing ...
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### Difference between speed of light and of bullet after passing through a barrier [duplicate]

I just read that, when a ray of light traveling in vacuum at $c$ strikes a glass slab, its speed decreases and then when it re-emerges it gets back to its original speed i.e $c$. If I draw a ...
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### Is potential energy an energy exists or potentiality of energy? [closed]

I want to ask whether Potential Energy is truly existing Energy - though i know the energy concept is abstract and we do not know what is energy truly as Feynman said - or it is the potentiality that ...
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### Doesn't the Big Bang negate the law of conservation of matter? [duplicate]

I was watching Hawking (2004 film) and in the movie, Hawking has a sudden insight that all the matter and energy observed in the known universe may, in fact, have sprung out from nothing (singularity) ...
Let's consider $m$ ideally black, thin, infinite plates. Let $T_i$ be the temperature of the $i$-th plate. For given $T_1 > T_m$, why is the radiant flux between any two adjacent plates the same ...