Energy is the conserved quantity associated to time-translation invariance and represents the work a system is capable of doing. Use this tag for questions about energy, and consider adding [tag:energy-conservation] if it is specifically about its conservation.

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Why does kinetic energy increase quadratically, not linearly, with speed?

As Wikipedia says: [...] the kinetic energy of a non-rotating object of mass $m$ traveling at a speed $v$ is $\frac{1}{2}mv^2$. Why does this not increase linearly with speed? Why does it take ...
97
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1answer
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Is it necessary to consume energy to perform computation?

As far as I know, today most of the computers are made from semiconductor devices, so the energy consumed all turns into the heat emitted into space. But I wonder, is it necessary to consume energy ...
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3answers
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Where is the flaw in this machine that decreases the entropy of a closed system?

I was thinking about a completely unrelated problem (Quantum Field Theory Peskin & Schroeder kind of unrelated!) when the diagram below sprang into my mind for no apparent reason. After some ...
75
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8answers
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Why does holding something up cost energy while no work is being done?

I read the definition of work as $$W ~=~ \vec{F} \cdot \vec{d}$$ $$\text{ Work = (Force) $\cdot$ (Distance)}.$$ If a book is there on the table, no work is done as no distance is covered. If I ...
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10answers
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What makes running so much less energy-efficient than bicycling?

Most people can ride 10 km on their bike. However, running 10 km is a lot harder to do. Why? According to the law of conservation of energy, bicycling should be more intensive because you have to ...
61
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7answers
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What Is Energy? Where did it come from?

The simplistic undergrad explanation aside. I've never really understood what energy really is. I've been told that it's something when converted from one kind of something to another kind does some ...
54
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12answers
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What happens to the energy when waves perfectly cancel each other?

What happens to the energy when waves perfectly cancel each other (destructive interference)? It appears that the energy "disappear" but the law of conservation of energy states that it can't be ...
53
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3answers
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How is 6W equivalent to 40W, as claimed by adverts for LED light bulbs?

Every advert I come across for LED bulbs advertise them as the equivalent of a higher W incandescent bulbs. This makes no sense to me, if the room requires 40W to lighten it up then it'll always ...
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2answers
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Was the 2013 meteor over Russia stronger than an atomic bomb?

Reports of the Russian meteor event (2013) say that it released more energy than 20 atomic bombs of the size dropped on Hiroshima, Japan: Scientists estimated the meteor unleashed a force 20 times ...
43
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6answers
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What keeps mass from turning into energy?

I understand the energy and mass can change back and forth according to Einstein. It is fluid; it can go from one to the other. So, what keeps mass from just turning into energy? Is there some force ...
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7answers
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Is a hard drive heavier when it is full?

Browsing Quora, I saw the following question with contradicting answers. For the highest voted answer: The bits are represented by certain orientations of magnetic fields which shouldn't have ...
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7answers
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Why do we need to know the shape of the slide to find the time to slide down it?

In my physics book after this solved example: A child of mass $m$ is initially at rest on top of a water slide at height h = 8.5m above the bottom of the slide. Assuming that the slide is ...
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5answers
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Why doesn't light kill me?

Why does each individual photon have such a low amount of energy? I am hit by photons all day and I find it amazing that I am not vaporized. Am I simply too physically big for the photons to harm me ...
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4answers
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Why is 7 TeV considered as a big amount of energy?

Considering that $7$ TeV is more or less the same kinetic energy as a mosquito flying, why is it considered to be a great amount of energy at the LHC? I mean, a giant particle accelerator that can ...
34
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4answers
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What's the real fundamental definition of energy?

Some physical quantities like position, velocity, momentum and force, have precise definition even on basic textbooks, however energy is a little confusing for me. My point here is: using our ...
34
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4answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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Are there any theoretical limits on the energy of a photon?

Is there any lower or upper limit on the energy of a photon? i.e. does the mathematical framework we currently use for Quantum Mechanics blow up when a photon surpasses a certain upper limit of ...
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5answers
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How am I able to stand up and walk down the aisle of a flying passenger jet?

The energy of a moving object is $E = mv^2\;.$ That is it increases with velocity squared. I walk at say 3 miles per hour, or lets round that down to 1 meter per second for a slow walk. I weigh less ...
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2answers
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Pouring oil on choppy water to calm it , does it work and if so how?

Near where I live, local fishermen often bring cans of castor oil with them, to calm the water around their boats, if they feel bad weather is due. They claim this method of sea calming works, ...
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6answers
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Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that photons slow down when travelling through glass. Does this mean they gain mass? Otherwise, what happens to extra kinetic energy? I understand now ...
29
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4answers
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Why does moving through time not require energy?

Moving through the other three dimensions necessitates energy. But why doesn't moving through time necessitate energy?
29
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9answers
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Why is torque not measured in Joules?

Recently, I was doing my homework and I found out that Torque can be calculated using $\tau = rF$. This means the units of torque are Newton meters. Energy is also measured in Newton meters which are ...
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4answers
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How is it possible that the energy needed to stop a train is the same as the (chemical) energy in a pack of chocolate cookies?

Today my friend told me something that blew my mind completely. He said: The energy necessary to stop a train is equal to the energy in a pack of cookies. How is that possible? Is he right? I'm ...
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4answers
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Amplitude of an electromagnetic wave containing a single photon

Given a light pulse in vacuum containing a single photon with an energy $E=h\nu$, what is the peak value of the electric / magnetic field?
21
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7answers
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How was the formula for kinetic energy found, and who found it?

My questions mostly concern the history of physics. Who found the formula for kinetic energy $E_k =\frac{1}{2}mv^{2}$ and how was this formula actually discovered? I've recently watched Leonard ...
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9answers
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Why do solar panels not have focusing mirrors?

Most of the solar panels that I have seen do not have any mirrors, etc., but usually solar cookers have mirrors. What is the reason for solar panels not having focusing mirrors?
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4answers
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Can one obtain free energy from the vacuum?

It is known that from the vacuum of a quantum field theory, virtual particle pairs are created and destroyed; is it possible to capture these particles thus obtaining free energy from the vacuum?
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5answers
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Why is energy not an SI base unit?

According to a textbook I have begun to read, there are seven base SI units: Length Mass Time Temperature Amount of a substance Electric current Luminous intensity What I do not understand is, why ...
20
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4answers
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When is the Hamiltonian of a system not equal to its total energy?

I thought the Hamiltonian was always equal to the total energy of a system but have read that this isn't always true. Is there an example of this and does the Hamiltonian have a physical ...
20
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2answers
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Black holes and positive/negative-energy particles

I was reading Brian Greene's "Hidden Reality" and came to the part about Hawking Radiation. Quantum jitters that occur near the event horizon of a black hole, which create both positive-energy ...
20
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2answers
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How would a black hole power plant work?

A black hole power plant (BHPP) is something I'll define here as a machine that uses a black hole to convert mass into energy for useful work. As such, it constitutes the 3rd kind of matter-energy ...
20
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2answers
702 views

a priori validity of $W=\int Fdx$ in relativity?

There are lots of different ways of arriving at the relativistic relations involving mass, energy, and momentum such as $E=mc^2$ and $m^2=E^2-p^2$ (the latter with $c=1$). One that I've seen in some ...
19
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3answers
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What did Tesla mean by “there is no energy in matter”?

I was reading "THE ETERNAL SOURCE OF ENERGY OF THE UNIVERSE, ORIGIN AND INTENSITY OF COSMIC RAYS" by Nikola Tesla, and he states: "There is no energy in matter except that absorbed from the ...
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6answers
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Is two cars colliding at 50mph the same as one car colliding into a wall at 100 mph?

I was watching a youtube video the other day where an economist said that he challenged his physics professor on this question back when he was in school. His professor said each scenario is the same, ...
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8answers
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Does it take more energy to open a door when applying force close to the hinge?

Assuming an ordinary hinged door (without any springs), would it take more energy to open it when applying force in the middle of the door (point b), rather than at the end of the door (point a), ...
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4answers
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Redshifting of Light and the expansion of the universe

So I have learned in class that light can get red-shifted as it travels through space. As I understand it, space itself expands and stretches out the wavelength of the light. This results in the light ...
19
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7answers
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How can kinetic energy be proportional to the square of velocity, when velocity is relative?

Let's start with kinetic energy (from los Wikipedias) The kinetic energy of an object is the energy which it possesses due to its motion. It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a ...
18
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6answers
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Will drinking ice cold water and eating cold food cause weight loss (over a period of time)? [closed]

A friend of mine has the idea that drinking cold water and eating cold food will assist them in losing weight. The core temperature of a human body is 37$^{\circ}$ C. If they drink water, at a ...
18
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2answers
920 views

Why do non-hydrogen atomic orbitals have the same degeneracy structure as hydrogen orbitals?

The solutions of the Schrödinger equation for hydrogen are the "electronic orbitals", shown in this picture: (source) They have the following degeneracy structure: (source) It is often said that ...
18
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2answers
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Why can't Humans run any faster?

If you wanted to at least semi-realistically model the key components of Human running, what are the factors that determine the top running speed of an individual? The primary things to consider would ...
18
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1answer
544 views

Positivity of Total Gravitational Energy in GR

I read the following statement in the introduction to an article: Over the last 30 years, one of the greatest achievements in classical general relativity has certainly been the proof of the ...
17
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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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4answers
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How does lowering your thermostat save energy?

Say it is winter and the outside temperature is 0 degrees f. I set my thermostat to 74 degrees. When the temperature inside my home reaches 72 degrees, the furnace will kick on and warm the house to ...
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4answers
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Why does the sun make me feel warm?

For a while I thought that the reason I felt warmth from the sun was because my skin was being hit by photons, but then I realized that photons also hit me when I take an X-ray, but I don't feel any ...
17
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2answers
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Why doesn't the evening/morning sun feel much hotter on your face?

I understand that places on the Earth's surface get hotter in summer, and in the middle of the day rather than morning or evening, because the surface of the Earth is presented 'face-on' to the Sun at ...
17
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4answers
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Why does the nature always prefer low energy and maximum entropy?

Why does the nature always prefer low energy and maximum entropy? I've just learned electrostatics and I still have no idea why like charges repel each other. ...
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3answers
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Why not drop $\hbar\omega/2$ from the quantum harmonic oscillator energy?

Since energy can always be shifted by a constant value without changing anything, why do books on quantum mechanics bother carrying the term $\hbar\omega/2$ around? To be precise, why do we write $H ...
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8answers
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Where does gravity get its energy from?

I would like to know where gravity gets its energy to attract physical bodies? I know that the law of conservation states that total energy of an isolated system cannot change. So gravity has to be ...
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2answers
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Does $E = mc^2$ apply to photons?

Photons are massless, but if $m = 0$ and $E=mc^2$, then $E = 0c^2 = 0$. This would say that photons have no energy, which is not true. However, given the formula $E = ℎf$, a photon does have energy ...
16
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2answers
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If energy is only defined up to a constant, can we really claim that ground state energy has an absolute value?

Sorry if this is really naive, but we learned in Newtonian physics that the total energy of a system is only defined up to an additive constant, since you can always add a constant to the potential ...