Applies to questions of primarily educational value - not only questions that arise from actual homework assignments, but any question where it is preferable to guide the asker to the answer rather than giving it away outright. Please READ THE GUIDANCE IN META before asking homework questions.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

26
votes
1answer
3k views

How long would it take me to travel to a distant star?

Suppose I wanted to travel to one of the recently discovered potentially Earth-like planets such as Kepler 186f that is 490 light years away. Assuming I had a powerful rocket and enough fuel, how long ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I construct the $SU(2)$ representation of the Lorentz Group using $SU(2)\times SU(2)\sim SO(3,1)$ ?

This question is based on problem II.3.1 in Anthony Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (I'm reading this for fun- it isn't a homework problem.) Show, by explicit calculation, that ...
1
vote
1answer
993 views

Schrödinger function: Separable wave function with even potential function of x

I have done the Problem 2.1 in Griffiths' quantum mechanics, and it seems not making sense to me. What if the wave function isn't symmetric at all? Then obviously the proof doesn't work. The ...
1
vote
2answers
911 views

Force applied off center on an object

Assume there is a rigid body in deep space with mass $m$ and moment of inertia $I$. A force that varies with time, $F(t)$, is applied to the body off-center at a distance $r$ from its center of mass. ...
37
votes
7answers
6k views

Are we slightly lighter during the day and slightly heavier at night, owing to the force of the Sun's gravity?

Using $g = \frac{Gm}{r^2}$, the force on a point mass located at 1 AU from the Sun ($m = 2 \cdot 10^{30} \text{ kg}$) is about ~0.006 N/kg. Does that mean that, e.g., a 70 kg person is ~42g lighter ...
9
votes
1answer
568 views

exponential potential $ \exp(|x|) $

For $a$ being positive what are the quantisation conditions for an exponential potential? $$ - \frac{d^{2}}{dx^{2}}y(x)+ ae^{|x|}y(x)=E_{n}y(x) $$ with boundary conditions $$ y(0)=0=y(\infty) $$ I ...
3
votes
0answers
496 views

Shape of a string/chain/cable/rope/wire?

The height of a string in a gravitational field in 2-dimensions is bounded by $h(x_0)=h(x_l)=0$ (nails in the wall) and also $\int_0^l ds= l$. ($h(0)=h(l)=0$, if you take $h$ as a function of arc ...
1
vote
3answers
979 views

Unit conversion help (school) [closed]

Can someone please help me explaining how to convert units in problems like the one below? I've done many things, but I am very unsure of all my methods. Could you tell me what steps should I take? ...
8
votes
6answers
108k views

How to calculate average speed [closed]

I recently encountered a puzzle where a person drove 120 miles at 40mph, then drove back the same 120 miles at 60mph. The average of the speeds is (40mph+60mph)/2 = 50mph, so the total trip time ...
5
votes
1answer
260 views

Travel duration from Earth to a star at 9.8 m/s² acceleration

How much time would it take for a traveler (in traveler's perspective) to reach a star at distance $d$, if it accelerates at 9.8 m/s² (for a comfortable travel)? I understand that $V = V_0 + a\times ...
2
votes
1answer
916 views

How do I derive the Lorentz contraction from the invariant interval?

Reviewing some basic special relativity, and I stumbled upon this problem: From the definition of the proper time: $$c^2d\tau^2=c^2dt^2-dx^2$$ I was able to derive the time dilation formula by using ...
1
vote
1answer
579 views

What is the general relativistic calculation of travel time to Proxima Centauri?

It has already been asked here how fast a probe would have to travel to reach Alpha Centauri within 60 years. NASA has done some research into a probe that would take 100 years to make the trip. But ...
1
vote
2answers
784 views

Prove $[A,B^n] = nB^{n-1}[A,B]$

I am trying to show that $[A,B^n] = nB^{n-1}[A,B]$ where A and B are two Hermitian operators that commute with their commutator. However, I am running into a little problem and would like a hint of ...
10
votes
9answers
12k views

What's the core difference between the electric and magnetic forces?

I require only a simple answer. One sentence is enough... (It's for high school physics)
7
votes
4answers
769 views

Integrating radial free fall in Newtonian gravity

I thought this would be a simple question, but I'm having trouble figuring it out. Not a homework assignment btw. I am a physics student and am just genuinely interested in physics problems involving ...
8
votes
3answers
686 views

Bird flying in a cage

Assume that you are holding a cage containing a bird. Do you have to make less effort if the bird flies from its position in the cage and manages to stay in the middle without touching the walls of ...
5
votes
1answer
345 views

Find the Hamiltonian given $\dot p$ and $\dot q$

I have these equations: $$\dot p=ap+bq,$$ $$\dot q=cp+dq,$$ and I have to find the conditions such as the equations are canonical. Then, I have to find the Hamiltonian $H$. To answer to the first ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Capacitor with different charges on each plate

I am confused as to whether/how capacitance changes when each plate has a different charge. For example, consider a coaxial cable and put $20Q$ on the outer cable, and $-Q$ on the inner. Or how about ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Force on rope with accelerating mass on pulley

I have a pretty basic pulley problem where I lack the right start. A child sits on a seat which is held by a rope going to a cable roll (attached to a tree) and back into the kid's hands. When it ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Two masses attached to a spring

I'm trying to understand the solution of the following problem. Two masses $m_{1}$ and $m_{2}$ slide freely in a horizontal frictionless track and are connected by a spring whose force constant is ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

How to find equation of motion for this trajectory? - object leaves curved ramp at a given velocity [closed]

Here is the sketch: The sketch is supposed to be side-view of the path of the object. The following values are known: $r$ - radius of the circle that describes the path AB of the object $a$ - ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What will be the relative speed of the fly? [duplicate]

It has happened many times and i have ignored it everytime. Yesterday it happened again . I was travelling in a train and saw a fly (insect) flying near my seat. Train was running at a speed of ...
-1
votes
2answers
553 views

Two balls falling one above the other [closed]

Two balls, first with the mass $m_1$ and the second with the mass $m_2$ are falling from the heigh $h$. Suppose all the collisions are perfectly elastic and do not consider the size of the balls. $m_1 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Make a semi transparent mirror with copper

The question: How would you make a semi transparent mirror (50% reflection, 50% transmission) with glass with a layer of copper. For light $\lambda$ = 500nm Try to be as realistic as possible What ...
10
votes
4answers
405 views

Question about canonical transformation

I was going through my professor's notes about Canonical transformations. He states that a canonical transformation from $(q, p)$ to $(Q, P)$ is one that if which the original coordinates obey ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Time period of simple pendulum with varying mass

How do you find time period as a function of time for a simple pendulum that is in the form of a hollow sphere that is filled with mercury and there is a hole in the bottom through which the mercury ...
5
votes
4answers
411 views

Comparing Static Frictions

In this figure, which of the static frictional forces will be more? My aim isn't to solve this particular problem but to learn how is static friction distributed . Since each of the rough-surfaces ...
8
votes
3answers
856 views

Number of planks required to stop the bullet [closed]

A bullet looses (1/n)th of its velocity passing through one plank. The number of such planks that are required to stop the bullet can be? Logically, to me the answer seems to be infinity, as always a ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Angular Velocity expressed via Euler Angles

On the top of the fourth page from here, the author trivially derives the components of angular velocity, expressed via Euler angles of the system. I fail to understand how the components of angular ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Interpreting Physics Results Regarding Circuitry Analysis (Highschool Level Physics) [closed]

I conducted an experiment which aimed to detail and record the voltage across series resistors in series circuits. I noticed that: The Final Voltage, V3, stayed the same. The resistors with the ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

What is $\langle G_{\mu\nu}\rangle\langle G_{\mu\nu}\rangle$ for the Dirac gamma matrices?

Given the following 16 matrix multiplications of the Dirac gamma matrices \begin{align} G_{\mu\nu} = \dfrac{1}{2} \begin{pmatrix} I && \gamma_{0} && i\gamma_{123} && ...
1
vote
1answer
145 views

Heisenberg relation

Given that $A(k)=\frac{N}{k^2+\alpha^2}$, show that $\Delta k \Delta x >1$. Considering the above example, according to my textbook, it is written that I must square the above function and ...
-3
votes
3answers
367 views

Significant Figures [closed]

Subtract 0.2 J from 7.26 J. Express your answer to the correct number of significant figures for the given data. I think its 7, but the answer is 7.1. HOW?
7
votes
2answers
406 views

Quantization of a particle on a spherical surface

Suppose we have a particle of mass $m$ confined to the surface of a sphere of radius $R$. The classical Lagrangian of the system is $$L = \frac{1}{2}mR^2 \dot{\theta}^2 + \frac{1}{2}m R^2 \sin^2 ...
5
votes
2answers
281 views

Simple QFT exercise

Consider a particle on the real line with: $L=\frac{1}{2}(\partial_0q)^2 + f(q)\partial_0q$ the equation of motion is that of a free particle $\partial_0^2q=0$. In fact $\delta[f(q)\partial_0q]=0$. ...
4
votes
1answer
259 views

Constraints of massive relativistic point particle in hamiltonian mechanics

I try to understand constructing of Hamiltonian mechanics with constraints. I decided to start with the simple case: free relativistic particle. I've constructed hamiltonian with constraint: ...
6
votes
2answers
660 views

Deriving Birkhoff's Theorem

I am trying to derive Birkhoff's theorem in GR as an exercise: a spherically symmetric gravitational field is static in the vacuum area. I managed to prove that $g_{00}$ is independent of t in the ...
4
votes
0answers
156 views

Action of Parity operator on Impulse representation

Is my derivation of the action of the parity operator $\mathbb{P}$ on the $|p\rangle$ representation correct? $$\left( \mathbb{P}\tilde\psi \right)(p)= - \tilde\psi (p).$$ Obtained from $$\left( ...
4
votes
2answers
258 views

Geodesics equations via variational principle

I would like to recover the (timelike) geodesics equations via the variational principle of the following action: $$ \mathcal{S}[x] = -m \int d\tau = -m \int \sqrt{-g_{\mu\nu}\,dx^{\mu}\,dx^{\nu}} $$ ...
4
votes
2answers
380 views

Rocket propelled by a giant monochromatic laser

I am preparing for my quals and stumbled across the following problem, and although it only requires undergraduate-level physics, I feel I can't piece everything together. "A rocket of mass $m_0$ is ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Why uncertainity is minimum for coherent states?

While reading for quantum damped harmonic oscillator, I came across coherent states, and I asked my prof about them and he said me it is the state at which $\Delta x\Delta y$ is minimum. I didn't ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Internal energy according to the van der Waals equation

I am trying to derive the internal energy of a gas which obeys the van der Waals equation. I have however encountered some problems. I calculate the integral of $dU$ from $V=0,T=0$ to $V=V, T=\infty$ ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Proving angular momentum is conserved for a particle moving in a central force field $\vec F =\phi(r) \vec r$

A problem I am trying to work out is as follows: A particle moves in a force field given by $\vec F =\phi(r) \vec r$. Prove that the angular momentum of the particle about the origin is constant. ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

Quantum Stat-Mech Proof of an Inequality for the Partition Function

I have the following problem that I was unable to solve for class, but I had a couple first steps that I started with that I am unable to finish. I know I can't get this since it's already been ...
1
vote
1answer
111 views

Doubt in a certain equation of a research paper [closed]

In the given paper, I am stuck at equation (7). The equation that I am trying to solve for particle outside the well is : (1/g)*(g'') + (1/(r*g))*g' - (k_o)^2 = 0 where g = Radial wave function. r = ...
1
vote
3answers
853 views

Frequency of small oscillation of particle under gravity constrained to move in curve $y=ax^4$

How to find the frequency of small oscillation of a particle under gravity that moves along curve $y = a x^4$ where $y$ is vertical height and $(a>0)$ is constant? I tried comparing $V(x) = \frac ...
1
vote
1answer
523 views

Solution of 1-D Schrodinger equation for the potential $V(x) = -\frac{1}{|x|}$

May be this question might have already been asked but i couldn't find it, so let me know if its already there. Consider a potential, $V(x) = -\frac{1}{|x|}$ and if we apply this to a one dimensional ...
1
vote
1answer
272 views

Inclined plane question [closed]

An object, mass $m$ is placed on an incline, angle $\theta$. System is at equilibrium. coefficients of static and kinetic frictions are $\mu_s$ and $\mu_k$ respectively. Then: 1) What is the Total ...
9
votes
1answer
316 views

Contracting Indices

Does anyone know how to get from (1) to (2) in the system $$ \begin{align} \mathrm{g}^{\mu\nu}_{,\rho}+ \mathrm{g}^{\sigma\nu}{{\Gamma}}^{\mu}_{\sigma\rho}+ ...
5
votes
1answer
397 views

Matrix representation angular momentum

We are supposed to give a matrix representation of $L\cdot S$ for an electron with $l=1$ and $s=\frac{1}{2}$. I read $L\cdot S$ as $L \otimes S$. Is this correct? Then we would have e.g. for ...