The tag has no wiki summary.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
3answers
50 views

How can Denver offer Hot Air Balloon rides?

So the air density in Denver is 1.0 kg/m^3. And heated air has the density of 0.95 kg/m^3. So adding the weight of the basket and balloon I don't understand how a hot air balloon could get off the ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Freefall into snow

In the movie Frozen, the following dialogue takes place: Anna: "It's a hundred-foot drop." Kristoff: "It's two hundred." Anna: "Okay, what if we fall?" Kristoff: "There's 20 feet of ...
0
votes
0answers
61 views

In every glass of water there are water molecules that came through Hitler's urinary bladder? [on hold]

I was told that in every glass of water there are water molecules that came through Hitler's urinary bladder. How much it is true probabilistically?
2
votes
1answer
55 views

The fly and the sphere of iron

When I was a child, I read something like the following in a book whose name I have now forgotten (I tried to find the original quote on the web, but although there are some similar passages the ...
7
votes
1answer
587 views

How fast will sublimed dry ice mix with air?

I saw this photo and wondered: Will the CO2 stay mostly in a layer on the floor with the rest of the atmosphere resting on top, or will it quickly diffuse throughout the room? This lab is probably ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Why do flat sheets of paper twist more than paper cones as they fall?

If I cut a 10cm circle out of a piece of paper and drop it, it will twist as it falls, even if it's rigid. If I then cut out a one-quarter wedge of the circle and tape the remaining three-quarters ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

How much potential fusion energy is in Earth's ocean?

Assuming the most efficient manner for extraction, and a ready supply of other necessary materials not mentioned herein, and given the current estimates about the volume of Earth's ocean, how much ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

How much energy would it require to send Earth to Proxima Centauri?

Assuming 100% efficiency of energy usage, and given the current estimates about the mass of known objects in our solar system, including Earth itself, and assuming no other objects are affected by ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

How powerful would a laser need to be to make a hole in snow?

How strong would a laser beam have to be (and what frequency would be optimal) for it to be able to make a hole in snow? Here I am looking for a laser beam that could make the hole after less than 2 ...
6
votes
3answers
100 views

How big would a solar sail need to be to be detected from the orbit of Pluto?

Suppose we made a solar sail out of a highly reflective material. How big would that solar sail have to be for the Hubble Space Telescope to detect it visually at the average distance of Pluto?
3
votes
1answer
109 views

What is the force required to move a raindrop?

I'm doing some research on how much force is required to move a typical raindrop (assuming that it is falling straight down) off to the side of X distance. This is for a school project on creating our ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

Throwing an object around the Earth. Is it possible?

Some of you might be familiar with the cartoon called Astérix. In one of the episodes, Obelix (the really strong fat guy in the stylish striped pants) enters a spear throwing competition. He beats the ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

liquid trapped in wet sponge

If you soak a sponge in water, or some other liquid, and then let it hang then some liquid will flow down due to gravity but not all, some amount will remain trapped in the sponge by the capillary ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

How size of objects lifted by the wind depends on the speed of the wind?

What are the sizes of the objects that could be picked up and flown by tornados, depending on the tornado's speed? To put it another way, assuming turbulent flow and object density much higher than ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

A big cannon to match a ballistic missile? [closed]

During the last years of WW2 the Germans used ballistic missiles V-2 (with payload mass ~1,000 kg) to bombard London, from a distance about 300 km away. Suppose the British could respond by building a ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Estimate for minimum potential depth required for bound states in 3D attractive potential well

Consider a 3D spherically symmetric potential well, $$H = \frac{p^2}{2m} + V(r)$$ with $V(r) = - V_0$ for $r < a/2$ and $0$ else, for some $V_0 > 0$. Now, it is well known that $V_0$ needs to ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Algorithm for calculating lunar crescent visibility

Is there a simple algorithm for predicting lunar crescent visibility. Simple enough to do with a calculator at least. Those offered in Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms are a bit too involving to do by ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Can the half-life of rubidium 87 be theoretically estimated?

Can the Fermi golden rule be applied to give an approximation of this half-life?
3
votes
1answer
22 views

Can physicist estimate is it safe to walk/drive on ice? [closed]

I'm curious about the following: Suppose that I know the the weather forecasts of a given place. How can I compute from that data whether or not it is secure to walk or drive by a car to an island.
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Mammal Population Estimates as a Fermi problem [closed]

Can We estimate the order of magnitude of number of mammals on earth? Can this be treated as Fermi problem or not?
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Simple estimation of the critical temperature of water

I'm trying to develop fermi estimation skills and I came up with a question for which I don't even know where to start from. Here goes: Is it possible to estimate the critical temperature (say in ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

How to calculate the Impact of a meteor

I am trying to add a dose of realism to a story I'm writing: imagine an invulnerable superman-like being that won't disintegrate at any point, weighing in at 349lbs, travelling at 86,000mph through ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Is there a Fermi estimations toolbox?

I am a theoretical physics student and am a little ashamed at my inability to estimate any measurable quantity. I would like to develop my skills at Fermi estimations. Although it is hopeless to ...
2
votes
3answers
149 views

Will my car consume more if I plug in my laptop?

I drive a Volvo v40 with a 110hp diesel engine. It usually use 4.6L/100km. If I plug my laptop which is 85W, will this change the fuel need? If so, by how much?
2
votes
0answers
28 views

Quantum Efficiency Estimation

Might there be a way to do a rough estimate of the quantum efficiency of a photo-detector like a CCD or CMOS sensor based only on a picture taken with it? I've read papers and guides (like this one: ...
2
votes
2answers
385 views

Temperature on the surface of the sun calculated with the Stefan-Boltzmann-rule

In a German Wikipedia page, the following calculation for the temperature on the surface of the Sun is made: $\sigma=5.67*10^{-8}\frac{W}{m^2K^4}$ (Stefan-Boltzmann constant) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
0
votes
1answer
227 views

How thick (in molecules) would a piece of paper be if it was folded to the moon? [closed]

Apparently you can fold a piece of paper 42 times and reach the moon! 42 is the answer the everything after all! Oh, Douglas Adams, you clever son of a bitch. The reasoning behind this is that as you ...
4
votes
0answers
75 views

Intuitively, why does removing solutes cost $k_B T$ of free energy per molecule?

I can calculate that if you want to, for example, desalinate water, you will have to pay a free energy cost of $k_B T$ for each ion you remove. In other words, removing an ion from a volume of water ...
2
votes
2answers
118 views

Order of magnitude estimation for some intriguing questions

The physics TA showed us a few examples in which one can estimate many things from first principles, sound logic, and scaling arguments. This led usually to understanding of why some numbers have the ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Ultra Deep Field 3D camera speed

I guess most of you saw Ultra Deep Field 3D video. In the end it shows camera moving in 3D perspective through all the galaxies. My question is, how fast is the camera moving in that video? I couldn't ...
0
votes
2answers
184 views

How to estimate a person's mass from a sensor? [closed]

I'm trying to estimate the person's weight from some available sensors and I have an accelerometer, a gyrometer and a magnetometer. The triaxial accelerometer is fixed in a band in the person's ...
0
votes
2answers
82 views

How does one estimate the electrical power of a power plant?

I have two related questions that I would like help on: When a power plant creates power like the Hoover Dam, it can provide 2.07 GW of electrical power. My question is what does this mean? I assume ...
0
votes
0answers
77 views

How much energy does it take to simply run forward?

I'm interested in tracking as much data about my runs as I can in an effort to get faster, and while I can easily estimate energy expenditure during an uphill run due to the change in elevation, I ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

How long until we fall into the Sun?

As a planet moves through the solar system, a bow shock is formed as the solar wind is decelerated by the magnetic field of the planet. Presumably the creation of this shock wave would cause drag on ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Estimating the fatigue life of elastomer diaphragm [duplicate]

Disclaimer: I have asked this question before, but it got put on hold because it was judged as off-topic. I happened to disagree and explained my reasons in the comments, but they have been ignored, ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Floating a ping pong ball in the air just using a pen!

Caution: Apparently this problem is harder than it seems! There is a well known phenomena, which I first learnt about when I was a 10 years old kid. You can levitate a ping pong(or whatever ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

Estimate number of hairs on human head [closed]

A technique of vital importance at all levels in physics is estimation. This is obvious from the first chapter in any introductory physics textbook, but is also related to the working physicist. ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

When do I apply Significant figures in physics calculations?

I'm a little confused as to when to use significant figures for my physics class. For example, I'm asked to find the average speed of a race car that travels around a circular track with a radius of ...
2
votes
1answer
256 views

Why do some liquid metals have anomalously-high surface tension/heat of vaporization ratios?

In a didactic article, Victor Weisskopf estimated the size of molecules in a liquid from measurements of their surface tension and heat of vaporization. If atoms are exceedingly small, then only a ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

Are there any connections between James–Stein estimator and quantum mechanics?

Very nice statement from wiki: When three or more unrelated parameters are measured, their total MSE can be reduced by using a combined estimator such as the James–Stein estimator; whereas when ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

How can I estimate the power between the guide and the sky diver?

I would like to estimate the Maximum power/ tension that can be, between the sky diving guider and the "tourist". In this picture what the max tenstion will be, I think it is maximum when the ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do mirages only appear on hot days?

A previous question asked why the road sometimes appears wet on hot days. The reason is that when there's a temperature gradient in the air, it causes a gradient in the index of refraction, causing ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

How much lead is there in the universe?

I know there is around 10^80 atoms in the observable universe, but is there any estimate the amount of lead in the universe (within a couple magnitudes of 10)?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How much energy does a super nova generate?

For a scene in a SciFi book, I want to know: Is it possible to estimate how much energy per m² an object would receive that hides behind an in-system planet when the sun goes nova?
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Roughly how many atoms thick is the layer of graphite left by a pencil writing on paper?

Actually I can't expand much as the question pretty much explains the query. I would be interested in the method of estimating an answer as well as a potential way to measure it experimentally. ...
3
votes
1answer
206 views

What is an approximation of the average number of supernovae every century in the Milky Way?

Besides giving out a number and quoted source I would appreciate a short derivation of this number/formula based on our current data and knowledge of supernovae and the Milky Way. Show some traceable ...
1
vote
0answers
946 views

What is the maximum non-fatal force withstandable by a human being for a short period?

Assuming any (optimal) body orientation/position relative to the direction of force and mechanism of death. I'd be interested in a rough estimate of threshold force and a suggested mechanism of ...
8
votes
5answers
279 views

What are the chances that a deadly asteroid will hit Earth in the next decade?

What are the chances that an asteroid that will kill multiple people will hit Earth in the next decade?
24
votes
6answers
3k views

How fast a (relatively) small black hole will consume the Earth?

This question appeared quite a time ago and was inspired, of course, by all the fuss around "LHC will destroy the Earth". Consider a small black hole, that is somehow got inside the Earth. Under ...