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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Massless particle that have momentum not equal to 0

I saw some problems in special relativity that use conservation of total energy and momentum and the conclusions are spectacular. My problem is the following: how can a massless particle like neutrino ...
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How to explain the momentum exchange of two solid particles collision at molecular scale?

Here is my question: assume two solid sphere collided to each other in vacuum, at macroscopic, it can be explain by Newton's law. But at molecular scale, does the surface atoms touch to each other or ...
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Why is the position space free particle wavefunction a function of momentum?

This is one of those little things that has always confused me. If someone said to you "in quantum mechanics, the eigenfunctions of a free particle are $\exp(ipx/\hbar)$" how would you know that ...
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How would a plane hitting a ball move (opposite of Pong)?

When a moving ball hits a stationary plane at an angle of incidence to the normal, it bounces away at the same angle (the angle of reflection), which is commonly understood. My question is 1) What ...
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Can conservation of momentum be violated?

The law of the conservation of momentum has been established for hundred of years. Even in Quantum field theory every particle collision must be momentum-conserving if there is homogenity in space. ...
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Conservation of momentum in field theory

By studying electrodynamics a while now, I came to this question on the conservation of momentum. In Newtonian mechanics the Third Law allows us to prove the conservation of momentum, with the ...
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Relativistic Momentum in One Frame

(I) What is the momentum of a proton traveling at v = 0.75c? This problem requires a simple substitution. Using the equation $\ p_{rel} = m*u * (1/\sqrt(1 - v^2/c^2))$, where $v$ is the speed of a ...
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226 views

Shooting a bullet at a system of blocks [closed]

So, I made this question up myself.... and I'm curious about the answer. It requires only secondary-school-level knowledge of physics: You have a surface (ground) with a certain coefficient of ...
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209 views

Confusion regarding rotational motion!

Let us assume I have a rod of some mass m, moment of inertia I, length l and center C. If I apply a force F on C for a duration of time t, it will accelerate forward. If I apply it elsewhere, the ...
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Relativistic Momentum and Energy - Lorentz Transformations [closed]

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab is colliding fully ionized gold (Au) nuclei accelerated to an energy of 200 GeV per nucleon. Each Au Nucleus contains 197 ...
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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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71 views

Collisions between an object and a wall

Is momentum conserved when an object bounces back against a wall? The wall doesn’t move, but the object moves in the opposite direction. Assume this is an ideal, elastic collision. If, initially, the ...
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Expectation of momentum in the bound state

Is it logically correct to assert that the expectation of the momentum $$\langle \hat p \rangle=0$$ for any bound state because it is bound to some finite region? What is the physical interpretation ...
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$p^4$ in radial coordinates not Hermitian

Griffiths' quantum textbook claims in question 6.15 that "$p^2$ is Hermitian, but $p^4$ is not, for hydrogen states with $l=0$." First off, I am puzzled at his use of terminology. An operator is ...
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Circular motion and momentum

I have to explain why there is a force pointing inwards in a circular trajectory (assume constant speed), but without relying on centripetal force argument. Coordinate system is Cartesian ...
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Is it possible to shoot bullets in space or would the recoil of the gun be too strong?

I've read a few articles that say that astronauts have already brought guns in space and that shooting bullets in space is possible. But won't the recoil of the gun be too strong? Law of ...
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Moving objects using light

Photon do not have mass but they have momentum, can we use laser to pick up golf ball and hurl it several yards away without burning it into crisp?
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How to pull out the momentum operator?

In the equation (1.7.17), how does operator $p$ get out of the bracket without any operation though $<a | $, $| x'>$ are function of $x'$? How to prove this?
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Elastic collision of point particle and rod

A 1 meter long rod on the ice with mass $m_2=1$ kg is perpendicularly hit on one end by a point particle with mass $m_1=0.1$ kg. The collision is elastic and the point particle is bounced back in ...
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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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Finding final velocity in inelastic collision [closed]

Information: In a shipping company distribution center, an open cart of mass 49.0-kg is rolling to the left at a speed of 5.40-m/s (see the figure). You can ...
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1answer
74 views

What is the function type of the generalized momentum?

Let $$L:{\mathbb R}^n\times {\mathbb R}^n\times {\mathbb R}\to {\mathbb R}$$ denote the Lagrangian (it should be differentiable) of a classical system with $n$ spatial coordinates. In the action ...
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Can an electron borrow momentum from its field?

Let us consider a charged particle moving with uniform velocity $v$. We know that the EM field due to it has some momentum too. If the mass of the particle is $M$, then the momentum of the particle is ...
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169 views

Does the velocity vector always point in the same direction as the momentum vector?

I was told that the angular velocity vector does not always have to point in the same direction as the angular momentum vector. This is due to the fact that they are related by the equation $L=I ...
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207 views

Conservation of angular momentum in a free rod

When a collision is elastic and no external torque acts on a system, angular momentum is conserved I found this example and checked the results: A ball (m = 1 Kg , v = p =+22 m/s, Lm = +11, Ke = 242 ...
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Does the spatial momentum of the ground state of a Poincare symmetric QFT vanish?

Consider a flat space QFT, the Lagrangian (in general interacting) has Poincare symmetry, and $\lvert\Omega\rangle$ is the ground state (or just merely no insertion at the far boundaries, from ...
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Calculating $\langle x | \hat{x} | p \rangle$ in $p$ basis

I am trying to calculate $\langle x\ |\ \hat{x}\ |\ p\rangle$. I can work in the $x$-basis like so: $$\langle x\ |\ \hat{x}\ |\ p\rangle=\int dx'\langle x\ |\ \hat{x}\ |\ x'\rangle\langle x'\ |\ ...
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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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434 views

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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The Egg Smashing Tournament

My cousins and I have a annual egg breaking tournament. First, each of us gets a hard boiled egg. Then, in a bracket tournament style, a pair of us face off in an egg breaking round: one person holds ...
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Calculation of velocity via kinetic energy and momentum yielding different answer

I am attacking the given problem (as a preface I'm not asking to be spoon fed any answers, just looking for clarity from people much smarter than myself) A 15.0kg block is attached to a very light ...
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349 views

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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Particle disintegration (Landau & Lifshitz)

In the particle disintegration problem in the book by Landau and Lifshit(z), it is considered a particle with velocity $\vec{V}$ in the lab frame, which disintegrates into two particles with masses ...
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When momentum coincides with impulse

If an object is pushed for some time by some force from a resting state, can I say that at the exact moment the force is removed, impulse equals momentum?
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Why is momentum conserved in inelastic collisions? How is it related to momentum-impulse theory?

First of all I want to mention, that I've found many questions around this site and in other websites dealing with my question; however, I don't think they answer my question fully. So I am here to ...
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183 views

“Rocket in a box” thought experiment

Here's a thought experiment that I came up with a while ago. It might be hard to visualize, so I'll describe it as best I can. Take a rocket in a vacuum, in outer space. Attach a large "box" to the ...
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Case of the mysterious bullets (taken from Mad About Physics)

"Two ideal bullets, identical in shape, size and mass, strike the same target with the same speed just before the collision. Force meters at the target register two times the force value for bullet A ...
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Linear Momentum Based Problem [closed]

A ball moving along a straight line collides elastically with another stationary ball of the same mass. At the moment of collision the angle between the straight line passing through the centres of ...
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What does “spread of momentum” actually mean?

I was reading Feynman's lecture in which Feynman invoked his own way of explaining the uncertainty principle using single-slit experiment. There I found: To get a rough idea of the spread of ...
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52 views

How can solar sails be maneuvered?

Photons from the Sun are always radial to it and hence solar sails can only travel radially. Any techniques related to maneuvering?
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Problem with momentum operator

Why is there no problem with the eigenfunction of the momentum operator being non-normalisable? How can it be a valid quantum state?
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Relating to Inelastic Collisions

There is a very simple equation for an inelastic collision but it really only applies to 2d scenarios: $$v = \frac{(m_1 u_1 + m_2 u_2)}{(m_1+m_2)}$$ What would be the equation for an inelastic ...
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249 views

Conservation of Momentum: Perfectly Elastic Collision, Example Problem

I am a middle school science teacher. I'm a little rusty on my physics knowledge, and I came across a question that I feel like I should be able to solve, but it also feels like there is a piece of ...
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How do we prove that the initial velocity is equal to final velocity relative to centre of mass?

In elastic collision it is stated that the initial velocity relative to centre of mass is equivalent to final velocity of centre of mass of the same object. How do we prove that?
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Can individual forces be regarded as momentum flows? [closed]

Net force on an object can be defined in two ways equivalently (from a classical point of view): $$\vec{F} = m\frac{d\vec{v}}{dt}=\frac{d\vec{p}}{dt}$$ Looking at the last expression (definition in ...
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In momentum theory, what happens if atmospheric velocity is larger than outflow velocity?

I am currently reading up on aerodynamics, essentially the actuator disk concept and momentum theory as it is described in e.g. Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics by Seddon and Newman. There they assume ...
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Violation of Newton's 3rd law and momentum conservation [closed]

Why and when does Newton's 3rd law violate in relativistic mechanics? Check this link.
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What will happen to the center of mass of the human body when a person carries a weight with one hand?

What will happen to the center of mass of the human body when a person carries a weight with one hand a briefcase for example. Wouldn't the center of mass move horizontally towards the side carrying ...
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Object falls and hits ground - which forces are involved to change its momentum?

When an object falls and hits the ground - which forces are involved to change its momentum? Should $m\vec{g}$ be taken into account of the forces that were involved in the change of momentum?
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Why would a photon striking an electron “make both recoil”? [duplicate]

Why would a photon striking an electron "make both recoil" as I read in an answer to another question. If the photon is massless, how can it make an electron change momentum?