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62
votes
5answers
13k views

What does it mean for two objects to “touch”?

If you've ever been annoyingly poked by a geek, you might be familiar with the semi-nerdy obnoxious response of "I'm not actually touching you! The electrons in the atoms of my skin are just ...
6
votes
4answers
793 views

Can a single molecule have a temperature?

A show on the weather channel said that as a water molecule ascends in the atmosphere it cools. Does it make sense to talk about the temperature of a single molecule?
2
votes
2answers
5k views

How to estimate the physical size of a molecule?

I'm reading some chemistry-related papers that employ concepts of droplet evaporation. Since I am no chemist, I am wondering: How can I estimate the actual size of a molecule, say succinic acid? An ...
2
votes
3answers
607 views

Is the molecule of hot water heavier than that of cold water?

We know that the molecule of hot water($H_2O$) has more energy than that of cold water (temperature = energy) and according to Einstein relation $E=mc^2$ ,this extra energy of the hot molecule has a ...
2
votes
1answer
240 views

If the source of sound is vibration, why can't we “hear” a object whose molecules are vibrating?

According to our physics textbook, the source of sound is vibration. According to our chemistry textbook, substances in solid state have molecules vibrating in a fixed position. So why can't I hear my ...
101
votes
3answers
8k views

How does a knife cut things at the atomic level?

As the title says. It is common sense that sharp things cut, but how do they work at the atomical level?
5
votes
4answers
882 views

Water in vacuum (or space) and temperature in space

So, water in vacuum will boil first and then freeze. I don't know how the freeze happens. As pressure lowers to zero, what happened to freezing point? (I know heat taken by vapor, and the water cool ...
7
votes
3answers
513 views

Hot water freezing faster than cold water

This question has puzzled me for a long time. There is already a question like this on Physics.SE. John's answer to the question seems quite satisfying. But when I googled the cause I found this and ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Relative weights in rotational bands of symmetric diatomic molecules

In an old paper, Ehrenfest 1931, the introduction starts off as follows: The band spectra of symmetric diatomic molecules show certain striking differences from those of asymmetric molecules. For ...
2
votes
3answers
413 views

How do the molecules of reacting compounds proceed to form “Most Stable” molecule?

This question is a cross post from chemistry. I'm not very convinced with the answer there. So, I'm posting it here. I'm tutoring few students for Chemistry. During the course, I many times use the ...