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28
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
23
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
3k 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. ...
16
votes
2answers
887 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
825 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
182 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?
7
votes
3answers
580 views

How can we make an order-of-magnitude estimate of the strength of Earth's magnetic field?

The source of Earth's magnetic field is a dynamo driven by convection current in the molten core. Using some basic physics principles (Maxwell's equations, fluid mechanics equations), properties of ...
4
votes
1answer
340 views

How to estimate condensation from air?

How to estimate the amount of water condensing from air on a surface, given the air's temperature and relative humidity and how they change over time, the surface temperature, material's thermal ...
3
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
735 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?
2
votes
2answers
815 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
165 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
1answer
182 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
55 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
2k 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
41 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
556 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
107 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
38 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
72 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
12 views

Keplerian Orbit Estimator [migrated]

While calculating the eccentric anomaly of a satellite using the Newton-Raphson method, what initial estimate of the root for E (eccentric anomaly) should be taken for least number of iterations(best ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Relationship between phase space volume and dynamical entropy

I would like to know if there is any analytical proof or relationship which can show that for a dynamical system in presence of chaos signal, if the phase space volume (PSV) minimization leads to the ...
0
votes
0answers
56 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 ...
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, ...