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
5answers
438 views

The elusive difference between force and impulse

Impulse is defined as the product of a force $F$ acting for a (short) time $t$, $J = F*t$, and that is very clear. What I find difficult to understand is how a force can exist that doesn't act for a ...
3
votes
3answers
554 views

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?
3
votes
2answers
621 views

How do I figure out the momentum of a water balloon when it reaches the person I am throwing it at?

Recently an experiment was performed in which myself and a partner filled a water balloon and threw it back and forth at each other without breaking it. We gradually increased the distance at which it ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
100 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
614 views

Origin of motion and relative speed of bodies in the universe

Charged particles can hit the earth at relativistic speeds. But it seems that all large bodies have fairly low relative speed. Of course, speed can increase considerably when a body orbits close to a ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Walter Lewin Lecture 16 - Ball bouncing on wall?

I never did Physics in university and I consider that a mistake so I am correcting that now by teaching myself. To that extent I have been watching the MIT lecture videos by Walter Lewin and I am ...
3
votes
3answers
99 views

How can I find the angular and linear velocity of a 2D body that breaks into two bodies?

Afternoon. This is my first question, so do let me know if I'm doing anything wrong. Looking for help on building a 2D physics game engine with bodies that split in half: I have a two dimensional ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why Does Angular Velocity Increase as Radius Decrease?

Suppose a child were to ask you why a tetherball (picture below) seems to speed up as it wraps around the pole. How would you explain this to them? Certainly you wouldn't say something like, "Angular ...
3
votes
1answer
263 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

When a moving body collides with a stationary body, far from its centre, how do you calculate the resulting spin

Imagine you had a long heavy rod in space with no significant gravity acting upon it. And a projectile is flying towards it, perpendicular to the orientation of the rod, with the impact some between ...
3
votes
1answer
520 views

Simple 2D Vehicle collision physics

I'm trying to create a simplified GTA 2 clone to learn. I'm onto vehicle collisions physics. The basic idea I would say is, To apply force F determined by vehicle A's position and velocity onto point ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it possible to lift yourself off from the ground?

Say for instance a person who was strong enough to lift double his body weight. If he placed his hands under his bottom and tried to lift$^1$ himself$^2$ off the ground, could he? -- $^1$In a ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

“Dark” quantities

I don't know much about the so-called dark matter, apart from what has been described in popular descriptions of the reasons for it being postulated. My question is, is there dark momentum, dark ...
3
votes
0answers
57 views

The question about MTW 4-momentum integral expression and lorentz nature

In section 5.8 of Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's "Gravitation" there is a proof that 4-momentum determined as $$ \tag 1 p^{\mu} = \int T^{\mu 0}\,\mathrm{d}^{3}\mathbf r , \quad \partial^{\mu}T_{\mu ...
3
votes
0answers
567 views

Practice AP Physics B Exam Question regarding Momentum

I am trying to review momentum for the AP exam coming up. I will be taking the AP Physics C exam for Mechanics, but I was just practicing on any free response questions I could find and I came across ...
3
votes
0answers
112 views

Lagrangian with vanishing conjugate momentum, independent variables

Given a Lagrangian density $\mathcal L(\phi_r,\partial_\mu\phi_r,\phi_n,\partial_\mu\phi_n)$, for which we find out that for some $\phi_n$ its conjugate momentum vanishes: ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

Momentum paradox [duplicate]

A cistern rail car is standing on infinitely slippery ice. The cistern is filled with water and it has an outlet in the form of a thin vertical pipe (spout) at the left end, so when the valve is open ...
3
votes
1answer
982 views

General relativity and the conservation of momentum

I'm trying to understand the conservation of momentum in general relativity. Due to the curvature of space-time by matters and energy, the path of a linear motion appears to be distorted. Therefore ...
2
votes
3answers
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
122 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Matter waves and de Broglie wave length

The wavelength of a particle of momentum p is calculated using De Broglie relation. The de Broglie relation was postulated for what is called a matter waves. Now according to the statistical ...
2
votes
5answers
385 views

In an elastic collision, can we choose between cons. of energy and cons. of momentum?

Suppose we have two solid spheres with masses $m$ and $M$, respectively, and that $m$ is significantly less than $M$. The lighter sphere is placed directly on top of the heavier one, and the two are ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Total divergence term and corresponding Feynman Diagram

A total divergence term added to the Lagrangian doesn’t affect the action because the integral of a total divergence vanishes. But if one attempts to derive the Feynman rules from the Lagrangian with ...
2
votes
1answer
682 views

What if exactly half the Earth's population jumped at one instant? + Secondary Question

I read somewhere that when you jump, the sole effect caused by your jump on the earth moves it about $10^{-18}m$ (I don't remember the figure exactly, but I think it was that). However - obviously ...
2
votes
2answers
221 views

A thought on definition of momentum

Well, this is a simple, basic and I think even silly doubt. The first time I saw the definition of momentum as $p = mv$ I started to think why this is a good definition. So I've read the beginning of ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Simple elastic collision

If a particle with mass $m$ collides with a wall at right angles, and the collision is perfectly elastic. The particle hits the wall at $v\ ms^{-1}$. There is no friction or gravity. So the particle ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
286 views

Difference in “momentum” names in Lagrangian mechanics

In the context of Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, the following names keep occurring in most textbooks, which confuse me a lot, are they different in any way? Momentum Generalized ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Motivating the ansatz for the infinitesimal translation operator

I'm reading Sakurai's Modern QM right now and in the first chapter he states a number of conditions required for a translation operator: unitarity, ...
2
votes
4answers
702 views

How to calculate a collision which is partly elastic and partly inelastic?

(For the purpose of this question, "calculating a collision" means: given the velocities and masses of two objects in a collision, figuring out the new velocities of both objects after the collision). ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Conservation of 4-momentum in special relativity

I understand that the inner product of two 4-vectors is conserved under the Lorentz transformations, so that the absolute value of the four momentum is the same in any reference frame. This is what I ...
2
votes
1answer
102 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
3answers
276 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does rubber ball bounce back while iron ball doesn't?

Suppose there are two balls, one of rubber and the other metallic. There are of the same mass and are thrown on a wall with the same velocity. Why does a rubber ball bounce back while a metallic ball ...
2
votes
2answers
494 views

Does trade affect Earth's rotation? [duplicate]

Every country is trading with other countries around the world, some more than others. I was wondering if there would be any change to the Earth's rotation because of the imbalance of trade between ...
2
votes
3answers
13k views

Small car colliding with large truck

A small car collides with a large truck. Why do both vehicles experience the same magnitude of force? Wouldn't the large vehicle experience less force than the small one?
2
votes
1answer
434 views

How to get the new direction of 2 disks colliding?

I'm developing a 2D game including collisions between many disks. I would like to know how I can get the angle corresponding to the new direction of each disk. For every disk I have this information ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Do the physics in the FlyBoard video make sense?

If you haven't seen the video of the FlyBoard, please have a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C1vIyQ3w&feature=youtube_gdata_player Yes, it's amazing, but do the physics make sense or is ...
2
votes
3answers
584 views

Explanation for classic mechanics puzzle

I'm trying to figure out a nice way to describe to a kid the physics behind these experiments: Assuming ideal conditions, we have a small boat with a sale, close to a lake's shore and a fan fixed on ...
2
votes
1answer
378 views

Rocket drive and conservation of momentum

I am currently reading through some lecture notes of Physics 1 and in a chapter about the dynamics of the mass point, there is an example covering the rocket drive. Let $v$ be the velocity of the ...
2
votes
3answers
644 views

Train crash: are these situations alike? [duplicate]

I was just wondering... I believe that if a car travelling 50 miles per hour crashes into a wall, the result should be the same as crashing to another car also travelling 50 miles per hour (but in the ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Momentum change of a photon upon diffraction at a grating

How is the momentum change of a photon is related to the grating periodicity and diffraction order? I came across with this question while studying surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and how to excite ...
2
votes
2answers
86 views

Mathematical Proof of Force

I remembered reading an paper a while ago which tried to prove whether force actually exists, or if it a man made construct to aid our understanding of the world. However, I can't seem to find the ...
2
votes
3answers
62 views

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?
2
votes
1answer
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
204 views

Momentum vector transformation

I am confused about the way momentum vector transforms in the following case: $$q_k \to q_k'= q_k + \epsilon f_k(q)$$ The Jacobian is thus $\Lambda_{ij} = \frac{\partial q'_i}{\partial q_j} \approx ...
2
votes
1answer
771 views

Atmospheric pressure's effect on sound

An argument has been travelling in amongst my friends around this matter and after listening about it for 3 whole days I decided to ask it here. The Question is: Would a high atmospheric pressure ...
2
votes
1answer
48 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
493 views

How does the solar sailing concept work?

Wikipedia describes solar sailing as a form of spacecraft propulsion using a combination of light and high speed ejected gasses from a star to push large ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds. I ...