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35
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7answers
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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 ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

Which ball touches the ground first?

This is a very well known problem, but I can't find an answer in the specific case I'm looking for. Let's consider two balls : Ball 1 weighs 10 kg Ball 2 weighs 1 kg Balls have identical volumes ...
23
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Does a man on the moon experience day?

Does a man on the moon (or any other similar body) experience daytime like we do? By daytime I mean looking upward and seeing a bright "sky," not dark space. If not, then what is the reason behind ...
15
votes
3answers
547 views

What happens in a car crash?

My mom and I were in a car accident. We are ok, but I want to know how fast the car that hit us was going. We were stopped at a light. The car that hit us from behind was a big GMC SUV. Our car was a ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Mechanics + Thermodynamics: Bouncing Ball

In preparation for an exam, I'm revisiting old exam questions. This one seems neat, but also quite complicated: A soccer ball with Radius $R=11cm$ is inflated at a pressure of $P =9 \times 10^4 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
571 views

Capacitance of two almost-touching hemispheres

This capacitor is composed of two half spherical shelled conductors both with radius $r$. There is a very small space between the two parts seeing to that no charge will exchange between them. So ...
9
votes
4answers
338 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
444 views

No closed orbits for a Newtonian gravitational field in 4 spatial dimensions

We are supposed to show that orbits in 4D are not closed. Therefore I derived a Lagrangian in hyperspherical coordinates $$L=\frac{m}{2}(\dot{r}^2+\sin^2(\gamma)(\sin^2(\theta)r^2 \dot{\phi}^2+r^2 ...
9
votes
1answer
537 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
311 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}+ ...
9
votes
3answers
193 views

Thermal equilibrium in general relativity

The Newtonian condition for thermal equilibrium for a static system is $T = \mathrm{const}$. In this homework I'm asked to show that it's curved space generalization is $T(-g_{00})^{\frac{1}{2}} = ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Density of a proton

I was doing some exercises the other day, when I came across this question in my book: A proton weighs about 1.66 x 10-24 g and has a diameter of about 10-15 m. What is its density in g/cm3? ...
9
votes
1answer
223 views

“Redshifting” of forces in stationary space - times

Here's the problem statement: Let $(M,g_{ab})$ be a stationary spacetime with timelike killing field $\xi ^{a}$. Let $V^{2} = -\xi _{a}\xi ^{a}$ ($V$ is called the redshift factor). (a) Show that the ...
8
votes
4answers
19k views

What is the relationship between kinetic energy and momentum?

I can't seem to figure out the relationship between $E_k$ and $p$ or $F$. I understand that the units are pretty different. But for example: A bullet with a mass of 10.0g is moving at the speed of ...
8
votes
9answers
11k 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)
8
votes
3answers
628 views

Electric Field inside a regular polygon with corner charges

If we have equal charges located at the corners of a regular polygon, then the electric field at its center is zero. Are there other points inside a polygon where the field vanishes? The simplest ...
8
votes
3answers
335 views

Where does the extra equation come from to determine the forces from an object on a table?

I have a question about basic statics but somehow I cannot manage to find the answer on my own (btw, this is not a homework. It's been so many years since school for me...). The problem is very ...
8
votes
3answers
111 views

Correct expression for experimental data

I am doing practices at the laboratory. I have some doubts about how to express correctly the errors; I read some pdfs in Google but I can't solve these questions: Sometimes, it's correct to write ...
8
votes
5answers
529 views

How to get the position operator in the momentum representation from knowing the momentum operator in the position representation?

I know that $$\tag{1}\hat{p}~=~-i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial x}~.$$ How can I get $$\tag{2}\hat{x}~=~i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial p}~?$$ I think this simple and I'm just over thinking it, ...
8
votes
1answer
10k views

How do you find the uncertainty of an weighted average?

The following is taken from a practice GRE question: Two experimental techniques determine the mass of an object to be $11\pm 1\, \mathrm{kg}$ and $10\pm 2\, \mathrm{kg}$. These two ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

Weight on carpet vs. hard floor

Will the scale say I weigh more, less, or the same on a carpet as compared to a hard floor? You can assume the scale works via spring mechanism. Free body diagrams encouraged!
8
votes
3answers
745 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
266 views

What is the physical meaning of $|f''(\xi )|\leq\frac{4(f(b)-f(a))}{(b-a)^{2}}$ where $f(t)$ is position as a function of time?

Here is the full problem: I was able to prove the given expression; but the interpretation part is giving me a bit of trouble. Here is my interpretation: The average acceleration in $(a,b)$, is ...
8
votes
1answer
272 views

Causality for the Dirac Field

In Peskin & Schroeder page 54, they are trying to show how far they can take the idea of a commutator for the Dirac field instead of anti-commutator. To this end they are examining causality, ...
8
votes
2answers
452 views

What will be different if the spring is not massless?

In almost all text, it uses the massless spring as example to illustrate the idea of elastic potential energy. I wonder what's really being changed if we consider the mass of the spring? I saw a ...
8
votes
1answer
203 views

Gamma Matrices in Dimensional Regularization

Prove that $tr\left(\gamma_\mu\gamma_\nu\gamma_\rho\gamma_\sigma\gamma_5\right)=0$ when the spacetime dimension is not 4. What I have tried: We know that $\gamma_\alpha\gamma^\alpha=d\mathbb{1}$, so ...
7
votes
6answers
83k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
330 views

Distribution of point charges on a line of finite length

How will $N$ freely moving charges confined to a line with length $L$ be distributed? What are their equilibrium positions?
7
votes
2answers
340 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
584 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
477 views

Gravitational force from spherical shell

Say we have a point mass $\mu$ located at $(0,0,R)$ and a spherical shell (not considering it's volume!) of radius $R$ located in the origin. So we have a particle standing right on top of the sphere ...
7
votes
4answers
671 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
208 views

The geodesic line on Poincare half plane

I was calculating the geodesic lines on Poincare half plane but I found I somehow missed a parameter. It would be really helpful if someone could help me find out where my mistake is. My calculation ...
7
votes
1answer
245 views

Is there any usage of $x^x$ in physics? [closed]

I am so excited about the function: $x^x$. I would like to know if there is any usage in the physics world of this function. Is there any formula that uses $x^x$?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

One strategy in a snowball fight

Here's a common college physics problem: One strategy in a snowball fight is to throw a first snowball at a high angle over level ground. While your opponent is watching the first one, you ...
7
votes
2answers
313 views

Why does the quantum Heisenberg model become the classical one when $S\to\infty$?

The Hamiltonian of the spin $S$ quantum Heisenberg model is $$H = J\sum_{<i,j>}\mathbf{S}_{i}\cdot\mathbf{S}_{j}$$ I have read that when the spin quantum number $S\to\infty$, quantum fluctuation ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Transformation of angles in special relativity

My question is about the problem below Depicted are two space ships (the USS Voyager and the USS Enterprise), each with velocity $v=c/2$ relative to the space station (Babylon 5). At the exact ...
7
votes
1answer
252 views

Virial theorem and variational method: a question

I have an hydrogenic atom, knowing that its ground-state wavefunction has the standard form $$ \psi = A e^{-\beta r} $$ with $A = \frac{\beta^3}{\pi}$, I have to find the best value for $\beta$ ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Charge density in concentric spheres

Question: If there are two conducting spherical shells and the inner shell is grounded, what will be >the charge density in the inner shell if there is a charge Q placed on the outer shell? ...
7
votes
2answers
224 views

Find the minimum value of velocity [closed]

Find the minimum value of the initial velocity $u$ of the particle such that the particle crosses the wheel of radius $R$. Details and assumptions $R=2m$ $g=9.8m/s^2$ Neglect air resistance. All ...
7
votes
2answers
199 views

A problematic integral in calculating the entanglement entropy in 1+1 D free massive bosonic field theory

I encountered a curious integration identity when I was reading the paper by Pasquale Calabrese and John Cardy on the entanglement entropy of 1+1D quantum field theory (arXiv). The identity is given ...
7
votes
2answers
401 views

Equivalence principle and radiation from falling particle

I am currently having a hard time solving a problem of GR from Lasenby's book. I can't make it more clear than by quoting the exercise: 7.2 A charged object held stationary in a laboratory on the ...
7
votes
0answers
107 views

Simple argument for unexpected behavior in SUSY model

Consider a supersymmetric theory with 3 chiral superfields, $X, \Phi_1$ and $\Phi_2,$ with canonical Kahler potential and superpotential $$ W= \frac12 h_1 X\Phi_1^2 +\frac12 h_2 \Phi_2\Phi_1^2 + fX.$$ ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Why can't a single photon produce an electron-positron pair?

In reading through old course material, I found the assignment (my translation): Show that a single photon cannot produce an electron-positron pair, but needs additional matter or light quanta. ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Derivation of self-inductance of a long wire

Currently I am stuck, trying to derive the self-inductance of a long wire. According to literature it should be $$L=\frac{\mu_r\mu_0l}{8\pi}$$ and in literature its derived by looking at the energy ...
6
votes
3answers
584 views

Gauge invariant Chern-Simons Lagrangian

I have to prove the (non abelian) gauge invariance of the following lagrangian (for a certain value of $\lambda$): $$\mathcal L= -\frac14 F^{\mu\nu}_aF_{\mu\nu}^a + ...
6
votes
3answers
306 views

Commutator with a square root

How to find the commutator $[a, \sqrt{a^\dagger a}]$? Here $a$ is a usual bosonic annihilation operator, and $[a, a^\dagger] = 1$. The first thing I tried is $$ [x,A] = [x, \sqrt{A}]\sqrt{A} + ...
6
votes
3answers
762 views

Force between two charged rods?

Suppose that we have two rods of length $l_1, l_2$ connected at one end but free to rotate. These rods have charge density $\lambda$ uniformly distributed, so the total charge of rod $i$ is $\lambda ...