for questions about design, process, data, or analysis of experiments and observations.

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154
votes
11answers
22k views

What experiment would disprove string theory?

I know that there's big controversy between two groups of physicists: those who support string theory (most of them, I think) and those who oppose it. One of the arguments of the second group is ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the proof that the universal constants ($G$, $\hbar$, $\ldots$) are really constant in time and space?

Cavendish measured the gravitation constant $G$, but actually he measured that constant on the Earth. What’s the proof that the value of the gravitation constant if measured on Neptune would remain ...
426
votes
22answers
163k views

Cooling a cup of coffee with help of a spoon

During the breakfast with my colleagues, a question popped into my head: What is the fastest method to cool a cup of coffee, if your only available instrument is a spoon? A qualitative answer would ...
38
votes
13answers
10k views

Why is cold fusion considered bogus?

Cold fusion is being mentioned a lot lately because of some new setup that apparently works. This is an unverified claim. See for example: ...
26
votes
5answers
4k views

Why isn't Higgs coupling considered a fifth fundamental force?

When I first learned about the four fundamental forces of nature, I assumed that they were just the only four kind of interactions there were. But after learning a little field theory, there are many ...
40
votes
5answers
3k views

Scattering of light by light: experimental status

Scattering of light by light does not occur in the solutions of Maxwell's equations (since they are linear and EM waves obey superposition), but it is a prediction of QED (the most significant Feynman ...
37
votes
11answers
17k views

How did Newton discover his second law?

I've always assumed/been told that Newton's 2nd law is an empirical law — it must be discovered by experiment. If this is the case, what experiments did Newton do to discover this? Is it related to ...
5
votes
4answers
623 views

Measuring extra-dimensions

I have read and heard in a number of places that extra dimension might be as big as $x$ mm. What I'm wondering is the following: How is length assigned to these extra dimensions? I mean you can ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

The square in the Newton's law of universal gravitation is really a square?

When I was in the university (in the late 90s, circa 1995) I was told there had been research investigating the $2$ (the square of distance) in the Newton's law of universal gravitation. ...
15
votes
7answers
4k views

Experimental evidence of a fourth spatial dimension?

As human beings, we observe the world in which we live in three dimensions. However, it is certainly theoretically possible that more dimensions exist. Is there any direct or indirect evidence ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

About the Ether Theory acceptance

Why was the Ether Theory refused by Modern Physics? If you please explain me, I just wanted to understand it more.
6
votes
2answers
491 views

What's wrong with this experiment showing that either FTL communication is possible or complementarity doesn't hold?

The assumptions are: Alice and Bob have perfectly synchronized clocks Alice and Bob have successfully exchanged a pair of entangled photons The idea is simply to have Alice and Bob perform the ...
42
votes
13answers
10k views

Home experiments to derive the speed of light?

Are there any experiments I can do to derive the speed of light with only common household tools?
5
votes
2answers
358 views

Why propagation of uncertainty is linear?

I'm in doubt with one thing: let's imagine that we have $n+1$ quantities, $n$ of them being directly measured, and the other one being related to the first $n$ by a function $f : \mathbb{R}^n \to ...
11
votes
2answers
417 views

Is there a good chance that gravitational waves will be detected in the next years?

Is there a good chance that gravitational waves will be detected in the next years? Theoretical estimates on the size of the effect and the sensitivity of the newest detectors should permit a ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Interpretation of “transition rate” in Fermi's golden rule

This is a question I asked myself a couple of years back, and which a student recently reminded me of. My off-the-cuff answer is wrong, and whilst I can make some hand-waving responses I'd like a ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years?

If a radioactive material takes a very long time to decay, how is its half life measured or calculated? Do we have to actually observe the radioactive material for a very long time to extrapolate its ...
5
votes
3answers
510 views

Is there a way to decrease the rate of nuclear Beta decay?

In that question and its answers it was mentioned that you could trigger radioactive decay by bombarding atoms with gamma rays of the right energy level (there may be other solutions I do not know ...
6
votes
2answers
511 views

How quark electric charge directly have been measured?

How quarks electric charge directly have been measured when quarks never directly observed in isolation? (Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement.)
6
votes
5answers
3k views

What differs string theory from philosophy or religion? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What experiment would disprove string theory? A hypothesis without hard evidence sounds very much like philosophy or religion to me. All of them tries to establish a ...
16
votes
1answer
267 views

If time isn't continuous, what is the best-known upper bound on the length of time intervals?

There have been several questions about whether time is continuous or not and it seems like the answer isn't currently known. I know quantum mechanics treats time as continuous and any mathematics ...
3
votes
2answers
612 views

Electromagnetic Momentum

My book says : The fact that electromagnetic radiation of energy carried momentum was known from classical theory and from the experiments of Nichols and Hull in 1903. This relation is also consistent ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

How did Rømer measure the speed of light by observing Jupiter's moons, centuries ago?

I am interested in the practical method and I like to discover if it is cheap enough to be done as an experiment in a high school.
8
votes
4answers
6k views

Is Dr Quantum's Double Slit Experiment video scientifically accurate?

I'm fascinated by the fundamental questions raised by the Double Slit Experiment at the quantum level. I found this "Dr Quantum" video clip which seems like a great explanation. But is it ...
2
votes
2answers
566 views

Does string theory provide quantitative experimental predictions? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What experiment would disprove string theory? We carefully observe things, observe patterns and then build theories that predict. String theory is frequently ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I determine whether the mass of an object is evenly distributed?

How can I determine whether the mass of an object is evenly distributed without doing any permanent damage? Suppose I got all the typical lab equipment. I guess I can calculate its center of mass and ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do neutrino oscillations imply nonzero neutrino masses?

Neutrinos can pass from one family to another (that is, change in flavor) in a process known as neutrino oscillation. The oscillation between the different families occurs randomly, and the likelihood ...
13
votes
1answer
389 views

How are neutrino beams emitted at CERN?

As far I know they come from accelerator collisions, but I have read confusing things like magnetically focused. How could neutrinos be guided magnetically if they aren't affected by the ...
4
votes
2answers
409 views

Have experiments ever suggested two different values to the same divergent series?

I believe to have understood that some physical experiments suggest finite values to divergent series (please correct me if I'm wrong, my understanding of these matters is limited). I heard, for ...
1
vote
2answers
249 views

Where to find cross section data for e- + p -> p + e-?

Where to find cross section data for e- + p -> p + e-? PDG's cross section data listing does not include it.
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How are Monte Carlo simulations used in experimental high energy physics?

How are Monte Carlo simulations used in experimental high energy physics? Particularly in studying detectors limitations (efficiencies?) and data analysis. I will appreciate giving a simple example ...
26
votes
6answers
8k views

Is this kids experiment a legitimate way to show that air has mass?

Consider the experiment in this link. The experiment includes using a ruler as a lever, with an inflated balloon on one side and a balloon which is not inflated on the other. The aim of the ...
16
votes
5answers
5k views

Which experiments prove atomic theory?

Which experiments prove atomic theory? Sub-atomic theories: atoms have: nuclei; electrons; protons; and neutrons. That the number of electrons atoms have determines their relationship with other ...
13
votes
5answers
581 views

Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in Experiments?

As I hope is obvious to everyone reading this, the universe contains more matter than antimatter, presumably because of some slight asymmetry in the amounts of the two generated during the Big Bang. ...
3
votes
1answer
247 views

Observable (in principle) signal of a bubble collision in eternal inflation

Assuming a scenario of eternal inflation with a lot of "bubble universes" expanding, Lenny Susskind explains here that a potential signal of a collision of our universe with another bubble could be a ...
2
votes
0answers
72 views

If two ends were a certain “length” apart were they therefore at rest (or at least rigid) to each other? [closed]

Considering the definition of the SI unit of "length" [1] and [2 (" method a.")] I'm missing any requirements about the two "ends" of the required "path travelled by light" being "at rest to each ...
9
votes
1answer
264 views

What makes us think we can actually detect gravitational waves?

This refers to the discussion about gravitational waves for the YouTube video LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory. I have two questions: When the gravitational wave passes through the space where ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

What methods can astronomers use to find a black hole?

How can astronomers say, we know there are black holes at the centre of each galaxy? What methods of indirect detection are there to know where and how big a black hole is?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Measuring the speed of light and defining the metre - absolute or relative?

If the metre is now defined as the distance light travels in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458th of a second and the speed of light is accepted to be ...
4
votes
5answers
827 views

Regarding string theory: how to refute the argument “if it cannot be tested experimentally then it is not science”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What differs string theory from philosophy or religion? I find a lot of people disbelieve in string theory, saying that since it cannot be tested experimentally then it ...
4
votes
3answers
582 views

Have the Rowan University “hydrino” findings been replicated elsewhere?

In 2009, Rowan University released a paper claiming to replicate Blacklight Power's results on energy generation using hydrino states of the hydrogen atom. The paper appears to describe the procedure ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

How do we perform transverse measurements in a two level system?

In quantum mechanics any two level system can be mapped onto effective spin variables. If the system is defined by two energy levels, $|E_1\rangle$ and $|E_2\rangle$, the Hamiltonian is $$ H = ...
3
votes
2answers
683 views

Beryllium Vacuum Sphere Boat/Aircraft

Is it possible to make a solid rigid evacuated "balloon" out of Beryllium or other elements or alloys? The critical buckling pressure at which an evacuated sphere is given as $$ ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What were the intention/conclusions for Michelson-Morley experiment?

Which of the following were the intentions of M&M? to disprove the existence of aether. to show that the aether has no effect on matter and energy and therefore is as good as non-existent. ...
75
votes
5answers
6k views

What was the major discovery on gravitational waves made March 17th, 2014, in the BICEP2 experiment?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics held a press conference today to announce a major discovery relating to gravitational waves. What was their announcement, and what are the implications? ...
45
votes
7answers
8k views

What technology can result from such expensive experiment as undertaken in CERN?

I wonder what technology can be obtained from such very expensive experiments/institutes as e.g. undertaken in CERN? I understand that e.g. the discovery of the Higgs Boson confirms our understanding ...
25
votes
1answer
811 views

Status of experimental searches for tachyons?

Now that the dust has settled on the 2011 superluminal neutrino debacle at OPERA, I'm interested in understanding the current status of experimental searches for neutrinos. Although the OPERA claim ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

How do people calculate proportions of dark matter, dark energy and baryonic matter of the universe?

The Wikipedia page on dark matter mentions that the Planck mission had revealed that in our universe ordinary baryonic matter, dark matter and dark energy are present in the ratio: 4.9%, 26.8% and ...
11
votes
1answer
937 views

How to determine the mass of a quark?

As far as I know quarks are never found in isolation, so how can we determine their rest mass?
31
votes
6answers
19k views

Why is jumping into water from high altitude fatal?

If I jump from an airplane straight positioned upright into the ocean, why is it the same as jumping straight on the ground? Water is a liquid as opposed to the ground, so I would expect that by ...