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.

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Conservation of linear and angular momentum

Suppose I have two rigid bodies A and B and they are connected by a spring which is attached off-center (thus possibly causing torques). Due to the spring a force $f$ acts on A and a force $-f$ acts ...
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594 views

Tricky spring on a surface question

I have this relative simple-looking question that I haven't been able to solve for hours now, it's one of those questions that just drive you nuts if you don't know how to do it. This is the scenario: ...
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868 views

Why do we need the quantity momentum?

Why do we need the quantity Momentum in physics when we have the quantities like Force and Energy? Isn't it possible to substitute the usage of Momentum with equivalent of Force and Energy?
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Would a sneeze by a cosmonaut in a spacesuit affect his movement?

Naive question; feel free to shoot me down It is a truism that any motion in space would continue indefinitely unless it is opposed by an external force. If a cosmonaut were to sneeze within his/her ...
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765 views

Uncertainty Principle for a Totally Localized Particle

If a particle is totally localized at $x=0$, its wave function $\Psi(x,t)$ should be a Dirac delta function $\delta(x)$. Accordingly, its Fourier transform $\Phi(p,t)$ would be a constant for all $p$, ...
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Complex conjugate of momentum operator

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

Does the canonical commutation relation fix the form of the momentum operator?

For one dimensional quantum mechanics $$[\hat{x},\hat{p}]=i\hbar $$ Does this fix univocally the form of the $\hat{p}$ operator? My bet is no because $\hat{p}$ actually depends if we are on ...
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436 views

How does the momentum operator act on state kets?

I have been going through some problems in Sakurai's Modern QM and at one point have to calculate $\langle \alpha|\hat{p}|\alpha\rangle$ where all we know about the state $|\alpha\rangle$ is that ...
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428 views

Why is the “canonical momentum” for the Dirac equation not defined in terms of the “gauge covariant derivative”?

The canonical momentum is always used to add an EM field to the Schrödinger/Pauli/Dirac equations. Why does one not use the gauge covariant derivative? As far as I can see, the difference is a factor ...
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4k views

Hammer vs large mass on nail

Why is a hammer more effective in driving a nail than a large mass resting over the nail ? I know this has to do with momentum, but cant figure it out.
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Intuitive explanation of why momentum is the Fourier transform variable of position?

Does anyone have a (semi-)intuitive explanation of why momentum is the Fourier transform variable of position? (By semi-intuitive I mean, I already have intuition on Fourier transform between ...
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3k views

Which will stop first a heavier car or a lighter car?

If the friction from brakes, wind resistance and all such factors remain constat, which will stop first? A heavier car or a lighter car? How will the momentum of the car and graviational pull on a ...
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319 views

Applications of recoil principle in classical physics

Are there any interesting, important or (for the non physicist) astonishing examples where the recoil principle (as special case of conservation of linear momentum) is applied beside rockets and guns? ...
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Momentum as Generator of Translations

I understand from some studies in mathematics, that the generator of translations is given by the operator $\frac{d}{dx}$. Similarly, I know from quantum mechanics that the momentum operator is ...
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767 views

Conservation of Energy and Momentum Regarding Forces - clarification needed

The other day, my teacher stated something along the lines of, "Conservation of momentum is not violated by the actions of internal forces, but the conservation of energy is violated. Energy is ...
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5answers
294 views

Usefullness of an only qualitative understanding of momentum?

A few days ago I had a discussion with a friend who wants to become a physics teacher (in Germany). He told me that from a pedagogical/didactial point of view it seems to be a good idea to introduce ...
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1answer
234 views

Uncertainly Principle in orthogonal directions

The Heisenberg Principle states that for each direction, $\Delta x\cdot \Delta p_x \ge \hbar , \Delta y\cdot \Delta p_y \ge \hbar$ and $\Delta z\cdot \Delta p_z \ge \hbar$. But, can anything be said ...
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136 views

Do $x$ and $Q^2$ associate with particular directions in the infinite momentum frame?

In deep inelastic scattering, you describe a collision using the variables $Q^2 = -q^2$ (probe virtuality) and $x = Q^2/2p\cdot q$ (Bjorken x, parton momentum fraction). Now, I seem to remember ...
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93 views

When I move my arm forward in vacuum, will my body move backward?

Let's say I stay at point $x=0$ in vacuum. When I move my arm forward such that it will have a positive $x$ position (say $x=5$) will the rest of my body move backward such that it will have a ...
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1answer
96 views

Can it require different amounts of energy to generate the same impulse?

According to impulse principle the impulse is the same as the change in the object's momentum: $\bar I = \delta p$ Because the momentum can be calculated like this: $\bar p = m\bar v$. If we solve ...
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290 views

What is the most general expression for the coordinate representation of momentum operator?

I have a question about deriving the coordinate representation of momentum operator from the commutation relation, $[x,p]= i$. One derivation (ref W. Greiner's Quantum Mechanics: An Introduction, 4th ...
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1answer
246 views

Firing machine question

Suppose we have a firing machine on a frictionless surface at point $x=0$. It fires a bullet of mass $m$ every $T$ seconds. Each bullet has the same constant velocity $v_0$. There's a body of mass ...
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675 views

Use of Operators in Quantum Mechanics

I understand the form of operators in use for quantum mechanics such as the momentum operator: $$\hat{\text{P}}=-ih\frac{d}{dx}$$ My question is in what ways can I use it and what am I getting back? ...
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634 views

How do you combine two rigid bodies into one?

With respect to some fixed frame of reference, given the inertial tensors, positions, orientations, and angular and linear velocities of two rigid bodies, how do you combine them to make a single ...
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1answer
104 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 ...
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337 views

Is momentum conservation for the classical Schrödinger equation due to non-relativistic or due to some more exotic invariance?

I had no problem appliying the Neothers theorem for translations to the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation $\mathrm i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\psi(\mathbf{r},t) \;=\; \left(- ...
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Use the relative velocity formula to find v2f in terms of v1f?

Q: A $0.150\text{ kg}$ glider is moving to the right ($+x$) on a frictionless, horizontal air track with a speed of $0.80\text{ m/s}$. It has an elastic collision with a $0.300\text{ kg}$ ...
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352 views

Conservation of momentum in collision of two bodies

Suppose we have some ramp on wheels of mass $M$, standing on a frictionless surface. A cart of mass $m$ moves with a certain velocity $v$ towards the ramp. The cart moves up the ramp ...
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493 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: ...
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948 views

Newton's 3rd Law: How can I break things?

If I punch a wooden board hard enough and it breaks in two, has the board still exerted a force of equal magnitude on my fist? When the board breaks in two due to my force, the halves have a ...
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94 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 ...
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289 views

Does constraint for speed of Electric and magnetic fields violates Conservation of momentum or Newton's third law?

I'm just a beginner so bear with me. Consider two frames at rest wrt to each other separated by distance enough for light to take a minute or so. At a given instant we create two large dipoles by some ...
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255 views

Total momentum of the Universe

What is the total momentum of the whole Universe in reference to the point in space where the Big Bang took place? According to my reasoning (and a bit elementary knowledge) it should be exactly ...
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105 views

Impulse, relative velocties

Why is (m)(v)=Impulse or as they put it here, Vs = I/Ms? Shouldn't (m)(v) be equal to momentum, not I? I don't understand why that is the solution. I was trying to solve for relative velocities, ...
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466 views

Conservation of Energy in Different Frames of Reference

Say I have a bucket of fuel that can produce 150J of energy by combustion. No matter what frame of reference an observer or the bucket of fuel is in, since the configuration of molecules stay the ...
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352 views

Derivative of a Position Eigenket

I was flicking through Zettili's book on quantum mechanics and came across a 'derivation' of the momentum operator in the position representation on page 126. The author derived that ...
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Conservation of Momentum/Energy collision Problem

I'm working on a physics problem in preparation for the MCAT and there's this particular problem that's troubling me. I don't know if it's a bad question or if I'm not understanding some sort of ...
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2answers
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Momentum-Representations in Quantum Mechanics

Why do we get information about position and momentum when we go to different representations. Why is momentum, which was related to time derivative of position in classical physics, now in QM just a ...
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1answer
34 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 ...
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188 views

Why does a stationary force affect the conservation of momentum, but not the conservation of energy?

Let's say I have two positive charges approaching one another at the same speed with only their mutual forces acting on one another. Total momentum (= 0) and energy is conserved and the charges ...
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305 views

Where do the conservation laws come from?

I know the conservation of energy comes from Noether's theorem via the time-translational symmetry, and if I remember correctly, the conservation of momentum comes from space-translational symmetry. ...
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block slides on smooth triangular wedge kept on smooth floor.Find velocity of wedge when block reaches bottom

Find the velocity of the triangular block when the small block reaches the bottom: Here is what I did: The final velocity(at the bottom)of the small block of mass m is $\sqrt{2gh}$ along the plane ...
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778 views

Is the momentum operator well-defined in the basis of standing waves?

Suppose I want to describe an arbitrary state of a quantum particle in a box of side $L$. The relevant eigenmodes are those of standing waves, namely $$ \left<x|n\right>=\sqrt{\frac{2}{L}}\cdot ...
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1answer
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How do kinetic energy and linear momentum relate?

It took me quite a long time to click my gears in place and even then I'm not sure it's completely correct. The problem is that I need to understand these concepts (physics concepts; not just these ...
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2k views

Quantum momentum (De Broglie)

The de broglie hypothesis suggests a particle can be associated with a wave of momentum $p = \hbar k$ my question is the following: how does one arrive at this concept of the momentum of a wave? I ...
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Definition of force, kinetic energy and momentum

I've edited the post. Q1 and Q4 are the important ones but I didn't delete Q2 and Q3 since some older answers would not make sense anymore. To begin with, the formula of the kinetic energy $T$ is ...
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Why is momentum quantized in a 1D box even though the operator doesn't give eigenstates?

We don't get eigenstates of momentum when we operate momentum operator in the wave function of particle in a 1D box problem yet we say momentum is quantized in this situation. Why is it so?
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Hamilton-Jacobi formalism and on-shell actions

My question is essentially how to extract the canonical momentum out of an on-shell action. The Hamilton-Jacobi formalism tells us that Hamilton's principal function is the on-shell action, which ...
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1answer
623 views

Can the velocity of the center of mass of two spheres change after a collision?

I'm curious as to whether or not the velocity of the center of mass of a system comprised of two spheres can change after the two spheres collide. Looking at the equation for the velocity of the ...
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87 views

Identity in quantum operator tutorial

I'm reading this tutorial by Ben Simons entitled Operator methods in quantum mechanics in connection with his course in advanced QM, and I'm a bit puzzled by an identity in page 25, a bit above ...