In introductory mechanics, the momentum of a particle is its mass times its velocity. In electrodynamics, the momentum of a field is proportional to the cross-product of the electric field with the magnetic field. In special relativity, momentum is generalized to four-momentum.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
2answers
95 views

Energy definition in special relativity

I'm going through the early homework assignments for my special relativity course and I've got myself a little confused about energy. I've got a basic understanding of what the 4-momentum is, having ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

What factors indicates inelastic collision?

I am watching this example from Wikipedia: I am wondering what factors would indicate that the collision of 2 objects will be inelastic (I know macroscopic scale impacts are never perfectly ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Velocity change of objects

Is it possible for small object (small mass, let's say bullet) to hit large object (big mass, let's say rock) and still move forward (or stop) instead of being reflected (let's say objects don't crush ...
0
votes
3answers
24 views

How to cancel momentum without causing damage?

This is a fictional scenario I've designed and I'm trying to obtain a plausible logic for it to be somehow possible: I have a moving object, like a car or a person running, how can I stop it ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

Calculating velocity change after impact?

Let's say there is no gravity here and objects won't crush. We have 2 rocks with $m=10\text{ kg}$. First rock has velocity $v_1=0\text{ m/s}$ and second $v_2=10\text{ m/s}$ (flying in leftward ...
5
votes
4answers
369 views

How to tell if the collision is elastic or inelastic?

I'm a programmer and a game developer, not a mathematician or a physicist. So please go easy on the math :) I know two things: How to find the new velocities of two objects after an elastic ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Why doesn't a wall move when you push it if there's space behind it?

In the first screen you can see that if a person were to push a wall within a typical household the wall would not move while keeping themselves tractioned to the floor. If you push hard and do not ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

Ballistic Pendulum Demo Problem

I have a question about the following problem: I got the solution $v=\frac{M+m}{m} \sqrt{2gh}$. But my real question is in the following picture: In the above slide, how can you derive ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

Where did the universe get its initial momentum?

If, according to Newton's third law, forces come in pairs then what about the big bang? where did the universe get that initial push/momentum?
0
votes
2answers
90 views

Determine $p_x$ from $[x,p_x]=i\hbar $ [closed]

With $[x,p_x]=i\hbar $, how to determine the form of the operator $p_x$?
0
votes
3answers
139 views

Why does my gravity simulation do this? [closed]

For a school project i created a simple 2D gravity sim in Matlab using the simplest possible method. There are 2 nested loops so that the total force and acceleration of every object can be ...
3
votes
1answer
35 views

Probability of measuring momentum [closed]

Suppose we have this wavefunction: $$ \psi = A \left( cos(kx) + cos (2kx) \right) $$ I have to find the possible results of measurement of momentum and their probabilities. Attempt For a momentum ...
15
votes
6answers
672 views

Is there a momentum for charge?

Since mass and charge behave similarly, so, just like center of mass, I define a point center of charge, that is defined by $$\vec r_{qm} = \frac {\sum{q_i \vec r_i}} {\sum{q_i}}$$ where $\vec r_i$ ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Inner product of position and momentum eigenkets

Let's define $\hat{q},\ \hat{p}$ the positon and momentum quantum operators, $\hat{a}$ the annihilation operator and $\hat{a}_1,\ \hat{a}_2$ with its real and imaginary part, such that $$ \hat{a} = ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

How to get the accurate relativistic momentum form for photons? [duplicate]

I have studied from Griffiths, the relativistic form of momentum is $$p = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}} m_0v$$ Now when I evaluate the momentum for photon, I just insert $v=c$ and $m_0=0$ and I ...
2
votes
4answers
97 views

Losing mass in space

So I came across a question while studying laws of motion. Roughly, this is how it goes: There are two astronauts in a space shuttle, who together have mass 200 kg. If by doing exercise, they manage ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Spacecraft momentum question [closed]

Assume you're sitting in your spacecraft. The mass of you and the spacecraft is 2000 kg. You're traveling at 200km/h through the vacuum of space. You have a thruster pointing in the direction you're ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

Spacetime and the conservation laws

I'm reading Peter Atkins' book, Galileo's Finger, and in the chapter on energy, he makes the points that the conservation of momentum stems from the shape of space (that it's smooth and not lumpy) and ...
3
votes
4answers
545 views

Deriving $F = ma$ - Newton's Second Law of Motion

Context: In my textbook it is given: 'momentum' short for 'linear momentum': Mass = $m$, momentum is $p=mv$. In time $\Delta t$, momentum changes by $\Delta p$, the rate of change of momentum is: ...
0
votes
4answers
102 views

question about derivative of momentum = force proof***

I was trying to prove it 2 ways, 1st way: $$p=mΔV$$ $$a=ΔV/t$$ $$ΔV=at$$ $$p=m*a*t$$ Remember $$F=ma$$ $$F(t)=p$$ The derivative of momentum just gives us the "regular force" since b4 that momentum ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Does mass equal angular momentum?

At the wikipedia pages for angular momentum ($L$) and moment of inertia ($I$) we find the equations: $$L=I \omega$$ $$I=m r^2$$ where $m$ is mass and $r$ is the distance between said mass and ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

Difference between momentum calculated from wavefunction and momentum computed by energy formula

Take a quantum well, for example. The energy of an electron is given by: $E_n=k_n n^2$. Moreover, we know that the momentum of an electron with energy $E_n$ is given by: $p=mv=m(2T/m)^{1/2}$, where ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Simultaneous conservation of linear and angular momentum

Suppose there is a ring in the space where there is no gravity. The width of the ring is $r$ which is negligible compared to its inner radius $R$. The ring is in horizontal position. Now imagine a ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Does the average momentum vanish for an eigenstate of the simple harmonic oscillator?

Suppose we have a simple harmonic oscillator, let's consider the ground state, $|0\rangle$ and the first excited state $|1\rangle$. $\langle 0|\hat p|0 \rangle$ is zero right? Since the particle can ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

Shortcut to find $\hat{p}^2$ expectation value

I have been going through several calculations where I am asked to calculate $\langle p^2 \rangle$ and the task is proving to be pretty tedious. Does anyone know of a shortcut for this? Such as with ...
1
vote
0answers
31 views

Calculating a spacecraft's deflection angle [closed]

There is a spacecraft with mass $M_1$ moving in a certain trajectory with a constant speed $V_r$. To modify its trajectory, a engine is turned on and starts ejecting gas at a speed $V_g$, which is ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

What's wrong with this simple derivation of energy flux in a photon gas?

In a photon gas, we know that pressure, $P$, and energy density, $u$, are related by: $$P=\frac{u}{3}$$ We also know from relativity that the momentum of a photon is $$p=\frac{E}{c}$$ Finally, the ...
6
votes
2answers
260 views

About photons and mirrors

If a photon hits a 'perfect' mirror (with no environment interference) would the mirror move a bit?
0
votes
2answers
62 views

Understanding Momentum

I'm trying to learn more about momentum and I'm a little confused. Based on my understanding, in an isolated system, total momentum is conserved in a collision. Today in class the professor went over ...
8
votes
4answers
20k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
756 views

Can a particle have momentum without energy?

Can a particle have linear momentum if the total energy of the particle is zero? Even if a particle has a certain velocity, can its potential energy cancel out the kinetic energy as to add to zero ?
0
votes
1answer
24 views

How would one compute the angle of deflection, in a relativistic collision - underspecified system?

Consider the simplistic case of two identical mass particles colliding elastically with the second particle initially stationary and the first particle travelling with energy $E$. By conservation of ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

Difference between momentum and kinetic energy

From a mathematical point of view it seems to be clear what's the difference between momentum and $mv$ and kinetic energy $\frac{1}{2} m v^2$. Now my problem is the following: Suppose you want to ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Momentum of Light Question [duplicate]

Since light beams carry momentum, why would a person holding a flashlight not feel a recoil similar to that of a rifle being fired?
0
votes
2answers
87 views

Can acceleration be achieved without reaction mass?

In a previous question, I asked whether a flashlight can accelerate me. The answer is yes. This has led me to wonder, this is inferior to all other known propulsion methods in all aspects except one: ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Why won't this reactionless drive idea work (motor with a moving weight in space)

I know people will say it violates many laws of motion and conservation but could anyone explain why it is so? It's NOT a question about free energy. Imagine a motor in space. It has an arm (rod) ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

changes in horizontal velocity and the effect on time airborne (thus overcoming gravity)

I would like to know if a object is launched horizontally in the air at a lower speed and a higher speed, why does the higher speed keep it airborne longer. what are the forces and why does gravity ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

Particle In a Box and momentum, velocity

So on a homework assignment, we are give the width of a well, $a$, and the mass of the particle $m$ and we want to find the average velocity of the particle at the n=1 state. So here is my attempt at ...
0
votes
2answers
150 views

What is the reason behind why a quantum particle cannot be at rest?

So I've seen different reasonings for this; which is correct, or are they both corollaries of each other? 1) For a particle to be at rest, we would know its momentum and therefore by Heisenberg's ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Relative Velocities and Conservation of Kinetic Energy

An object of mass m moves with velocity $v$ towards a stationary object of same mass. Impact is an elastic collision. $v_1$ is the velocity after impact of the mass originally moving $v_2$ is the ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

Quantum Mechanics - Finding momentum probability density [closed]

everyone. I got a bit stuck on 2(iii), this is supposed to be a easy question, but i don't know how you get the square term? I thought you just do the Fourier transform, but then I got some ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

Why not shoot a marble sized spacecraft at the moon?

I was thinking about the Google XPrize for Space Travel the other day. In order to claim the prize of building a robot that goes to the moon, travels 500m, and relays data, I had the idea of building ...
1
vote
3answers
140 views

What happens with a tunneling particle when its momentum is imaginary in QM?

In classical mechanics the motion of a particle is bounded if it is trapped in a potential well. In quantum mechanics this is no longer the case and there is a non zero probability of the particle to ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

How does $p_x$ commute with $p_y$, i.e. $[p_x,p_y]=0$? [closed]

I know it's a simple and basic question but would someone show me how to evaluate $[\hat{p}_x,\hat{p}_y]$?
5
votes
2answers
569 views

Impulse from absorbing a photon? Is there an increase in rest mass?

I'm going through A P French's special relativity. In one chapter (6) the following is set up: Suppose that a stationary particle of mass $M_0$ is struck by a photon of energy $Q$, which is ...
4
votes
4answers
260 views

Complex conjugate of momentum operator

Consider momentum operator representation in position space. $$\hat{p}=-i\frac{\partial}{\partial x} \,\ \text{and its eigen functions are } e^{ipx} \,\text{and} \,\ e^{-ipx}.$$ ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

Work done or not in this case?

I have a very simple question. A motorboat directed upstream is seen to be at rest from the bank of a river. Is the engine doing any work? Is it right to say that since it is not causing any ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

What happens to the acceleration of a body undergoing constant force?

Here's the problem I have, specifically relating to a rocket in deep space: A rocket burns fuel at a constant rate. Assuming its mass remains constant, what happens to its acceleration? I seem to get ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

How we can manipulate the momentum of a particle?

Is there any way to affect a particle's momentum value?
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Interpretation of Conjugate Momentum in Field Theory

The conjugate momentum density, following as a conserved quantity with Noethers Theorem, from invariance under displacement of the field itself, i.e. $\Phi \rightarrow \Phi'=\Phi + \epsilon$, is given ...