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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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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Lorentz force in Dirac theory and its classical limit

It is well known that in Dirac theory the time derivative of $P_i=p_i+A_i$ operator (where $p_i=∂/∂_i$, $A_i$ - EM field vector potential) is an analogue of the Lorentz force: $\frac{dP_i}{dt} = ...
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Is it possible to determine the outcome of any impact knowing only the ratio of masses? [duplicate]

In elastic collisions in 2-D if two balls $A$, $B$ ($m_A = m_B$, $R = 1$) have equal mass we can determine in advance the outcome of the collision. If cue-ball $A$ impacts object-ball $B$ (at rest) ...
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Why $-i\hbar\vec\nabla$ for momentum in quantum mechanics, while $m\vec{v}$ in classical mechanics?

I am a little bit confused when thinking of the momentum representation in QM and CM. In QM, momentum is represented as $-i\hbar\vec\nabla$, while in classical, momentum is represented as $m\vec{v}$. ...
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Why isn't $F = \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial q}$?

If momentum is, $$p = \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{q}}$$ and force is, $$ F = \frac{dp}{dt}$$ and by Euler-Langrange equations, $$ \frac{d}{dt}\frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial ...
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What canonical momenta are the “right” ones?

I'm doing some classical field theory exercises with the Lagrangian $$\mathscr{L} = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu}$$ where $F_{\mu \nu} = \partial_\mu A_\nu - \partial_\nu A_\mu$. To find the ...
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Impact force in a fall

I'm a climber and I constructed myself an anchor that I fixed to a rock wall. To test it, I hooked to it a 12mm in section steel cable with a length of 2,8m and a concrete block of 30kg to the other ...
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Proof for $p=\gamma_Pmu$

As I'm reading about Relativistic Momentum, my book states the following: $$p=m \frac{\Delta x}{\Delta t}=m\frac{\Delta x}{\sqrt{(1-u^2/c^2)}\Delta t}=\frac{mu}{\sqrt{1-u^2/c^2}}=\gamma_Pmu$$ ...
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Does conservation of momentum really imply Newton's third law?

I often heard that conservation of momentum is nothing else than Newton's third law. Ok, If you have only two interacting particles in the universe, this seems to be quite obvious. However if you ...
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The elusive difference between impulse and momentum

1) In classical mechanics, impulse is the product of a force, F, and the time, t, for which it acts. The impulse of a force acting for a given time interval is equal to the change in linear ...
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Why is momentum conserved when a ball hits a vertical wall?

Almost in every book on physics, there's an example of conservation of momentum when the ball that is moving horizontally in the air, hits some massive wall. They claim that the return speed of the ...
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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 ...
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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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Movement in outer space via Newton's law of every action has an equal and opposite reaction

What is more effective for travel in outer space ignoring all other factors like air radiation etc. I have a 10 kg bag of rice would I travel faster throwing the whole bag at once or throwing a grain ...
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Can we explain Newton's first law mathematically?

At constant speed there is no acceleration. $(f'(x)=v'=0=a)$ .If $a=0$ then $F=ma=0$ and therefore no force acts on the object so the object will continue in the same direction, if any. This is only ...
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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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In general, why do smaller guns have more felt recoil?

Why is recoil easier to control on a more massive gun compared to a smaller gun with the same bullet. Presumably the bullet leaves both guns with the same momentum, but the larger gun seems easier to ...
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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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How does gravity affect bullets?

I read recently that if you hold a bullet in one hand and a pistol in the other, both hands at the same height, and subsequently fired the pistol at the same time as dropping the bullet, both bullets ...
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How can I solve this quantum mechanical “paradox”?

Let a (free) particle move in $[0,a]$ with cyclic boundary condition $\psi(0)=\psi(a)$. The solution of the Schrödinger-equation can be put in the form of a plane wave. In this state the standard ...
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Why can't Compton scattering happen in leading order of perturbation theory?

Why is the matrix element of Compton scattering in leading order of perturbation theory equal to zero? Why can this process only be described in second order of perturbation theory, i.e. with exchange ...
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In QED, why is the $e^- + e^+\leftrightarrow\gamma$ process forbidden on-shell?

QED has a vertex that couples a single photon to two fermions. This vertex describes the annihilation of an electron-positron pair into a photon. Why is this process forbidden for all three particles ...
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The momentum of a swinging sword

Suppose you are faced with a zombie, and the only way to kill it and save yourself is to chop its head off with your sword. However, you are very weak from illness, and can only afford to strike once. ...
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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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Newton's second law of motion in terms of momentum

I am reading a document and in answer to the question State Newton’s second law of motion the candidate answers that The force acting on an object equals the rate of change of momentum of the object. ...
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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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How does one account for the momentum of an absorbed photon?

Suppose I have an atom in its ground state $|g⟩$, and it has an excited state $|e⟩$ sitting at an energy $E_a=\hbar\omega_0$ above it. To want to excite the atom, one generally uses a photon of ...
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Inertia Vs Momentum

At my recent lesson on kinematics, my teacher taught about inertia and momentum. This is what she said. Inertia: a characteristic of an object that resists changes to its state of motion. Momentum: ...
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Where does de Broglie wavelength $\lambda=h/p$ for massive particles come from?

I'm curious where the de Broglie relation $p=\frac{h}{\lambda}$ comes from? I know that for light (which has no rest mass), the following is true: $E=pc$ and $E=hf$ so, $$pc=hf \Rightarrow ...
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Is the giant Newton's cradle in the Kit-Kat ad feasible?

Apologies in advance if this is too basic a question for Phys.SE. I don't want to dumb down this venerable institution. :) My wife and I just watched this TV ad for Kit-Kat where a crew of crane ...
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Directional derivatives in the multivariable Taylor expansion of the translation operator

Let $T_\epsilon=e^{i \mathbf{\epsilon} P/ \hbar}$ an operator. Show that $T_\epsilon\Psi(\mathbf r)=\Psi(\mathbf r + \mathbf \epsilon)$. Where $P=-i\hbar \nabla$. Here's what I've gotten: ...
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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 ...
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How can particles travel in a straight line?

A particle can be set off in a certain direction by giving them momentum. Momentum is a vector, so the particle heads off in a specific direction. But the wave function of the particle allows it to ...
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Can a balloon be used as an anchor point for a pulley?

For a physics/ engineering contest, I want to use a large balloon as an anchor point for a pulley. This would allow me to raise and drop masses. However, in testing, when I pull on the pulley the ...
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What is the difference between impulse and momentum?

What is the difference between impulse and momentum? The question says it all...I know the second of of them is mass * velocity, but what is the first one for, and when is it used? Also, what are its ...
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Is it possible for photon to run in circle by its own gravity?

I have heard that gravity came from energy and momentum so photon has gravity too. Then there are theory state that photon has energy tied to frequency. So if a photon has very very high frequency ...
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Is any energy required to deflect an asteroid, with force always perpendicular to its trajectory?

Let's assume there is an asteroid traveling on a straight line (far from any gravitational source), and we need to deflect it from its actual trajectory, so we build a rocket motor on the surface and ...
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How to derive the velocity in the double ball drop problem?

The double ball drop problem is as follows: A ball of mass $m$ is placed on top of a ball of mass $M$ (where $m < M$), and the balls are dropped simultaneously from some height $h$. When the ...
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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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Does a reflection still transfer momentum to an mirror?

I have been recently wondering, if I take a powerful enough energy source (photon) and I have an perfect mirror exactly in front of it and assume an "emitter" shot the light towards the mirror. As ...
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How is the conservation of momentum satisfied in long-range attraction such as electromagnetism and gravity?

I'm not a physicist, but my understanding is that electromagnetism (including attraction between opposite charges) is mediated by the photon, and gravity is probably (hypothetized to be?) mediated by ...
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What is the result of a classical collision between THREE point particles at the same precise instant?

Classical Mechanics is said to be deterministic, a statement that nearly always is followed by that quote from Laplace, something like If at one time, one knew the positions and velocities of all ...
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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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Water bottle rocket: Where does the energy go without water?

In Portland's OMSI there is a hands-on water bottle rocket station. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdtmVY76_PQ). The rockets are normal PET bottlers. The visitors fill their bottle with an amount of ...
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Optimization of Bottle Rocket Water Level

My (entry-level) physics class is building bottle rockets, and we are competing to build the longest-flying bottle rocket. The rockets are filled partway (we get to decide how much to fill them) with ...
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Lorentz covariance of the Noether charge

The invariance under translation leads to the conserved energy-momentum tensor $\Theta_{\mu\nu}$ satisfying $\partial^\mu\Theta_{\mu\nu}=0$, from which we get the conserved quantity$$P^\nu=\int ...
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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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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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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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Why doesn't a ray of light have enough momentum to make us fall?

Why can't light be so powerful that it has enough momentum to make us fall?