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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Mass Shell in Light Cone Coordinates

I'm reading Zweibach's introduction to string theory, and don't understand one of his claims. He defined the mass shell to be the set of points in momentum space s.t. $p^2+m^2 = 0$. Then the physical ...
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231 views

Should any theory of physics respect the principle of conservation of angular momentum or linear momentum?

Is it possible that a theory that can describe the universe at the planck scale can violate things that we now consider fundamental in nature?For example can it violate rotational and translational ...
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59 views

Conservation of linear momentum, when is it conserved?

Will Linear momentum be conserved in a non-inertial frame of reference? In other words what is the fundamental condition for linear momentum to be conserved? Also which is more fundamental- Newton's ...
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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 ...
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1answer
90 views

In the Dirac equation, do $\alpha$ and $p$ commute?

The Dirac Hamiltonian is given as $H = \vec \alpha·\vec pc + \beta mc^2$ , Do the alpha and beta operators commute with the momentum operator? If yes then how?
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66 views

Relativistic fomulae for energy and momentum?

I know that the relativistic formulae for energy and momentum are: $E = \gamma mc^2$ and $\textbf{p} = \gamma m\textbf{v}$; Can we derive these formulae? If yes, where from?
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207 views

Is the canonical momentum conserved when a particle moves in magnetic field?

Here is a question about the canonical momentum that I had asked some days ago, but I still have one point that I am not understand. Considering a particle moves in a magnetic field with charge $q$ ...
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2answers
774 views

Conservation of momentum when friction is present

Conservation of momentum applies when net force is zero. Suppose that there is a system of a canon and a canonball. Total momentum of the system is zero before canonball is fired. Now canonball is ...
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1answer
832 views

Heavy vs Light Particle Ideal Gases

Assume there are two ideal gases. The first is made of a light particle, and the second is made of a heavy particle. The two are of the same amount, in the same volume container, and at the same ...
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555 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 ...
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2answers
314 views

Movement of man and ladder and their center of mass

Suppose there is a massless frictionless pulley. A rope over it carries a mass $M$ and on other side carries a ladder of mass $(M-m)$ and a man on that ladder, of mass $m$. Now the man starts ...
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254 views

Relativistic kinematics of particle decay

Suppose a particle decays to three other particles. The masses of all particles are assumed to be known and we work in the rest frame of the parent particle. So there are 12 parameters for this ...
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1k views

Finding force exerted in an Inelastic Collision

I did a lab today in Physics in which we launched ball from a spring loaded cannon directly into a pendulum that captured the ball, held it, and swung upwards with it (representing a totally inelastic ...
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379 views

momentum conservation question involving a rocket and a spaceship [closed]

With the engines off a space ship is cruising at a velocity of 230m.s It fires a rocket straight ahead at the enememy vessel. The mass of the rocket is 1300kg and the mas of the ship (not including ...
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1answer
960 views

Converting angular velocity to linear velocity through friction

A very basic question here; it's related to this one, but not quite the same. If a rotating rigid body (a sphere for the sake of discussion) with mass $m$, radius $r$ and inertial tensor $I$ has ...
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1answer
552 views

What is the linear momentum of an EM wave in a medium?

In free space, the linear momentum density of an EM wave is given by the Poynting vector $\vec S$ over the speed of light squared, $\vec g=\frac{\vec S}{c^2}$. In a medium, $S$ is generally not ...
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42 views

Sub-light speeds and momentum conservation law

Let's imagine a boat on a lake. Observer A is sitting on the shore. Observer B is sitting in the boat on the bow. Observer B has a ball attached to the end of a string which he holds in his hand. ...
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3answers
79 views

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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0answers
128 views

If photons don't have mass, how can they accelerate objects? [duplicate]

As far as I know photons don't have mass but they do have momentum ($p=mv$). Scientists say that if we put a shiny (reflective) shield of large radius in the vacuum of space, then light from sun will ...
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2answers
215 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 ...
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64 views

Hidden momentum

I'm trying to learn about hidden momentum. After reading what I could find with a google search, I understand that it is equal to the momentum carried by radiation, calculated with the Poynting ...
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2answers
3k views

How to find the compression of a spring attached to an object [closed]

I am having some trouble figuring out the equation needed to solve this problem. A 3.0-kg block slides along a frictionless tabletop at 8.0 m/s toward a second block (at rest) of mass 4.5 kg. A ...
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1answer
104 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 ...
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401 views

kinetic energy in collisions [closed]

We were hoping you could help us understand collision energy. Vehicle $ A $ is driving West at $35\space mph$ and weighs $ 1437 \space kg$. Vehicle $ B $ is driving North at $35\space mph$ and weighs ...
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187 views

Why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E = pc$?

See, the energy of a photon is given out by $E = pc = hv$ why don't we substitute for $p$ in $E ^2= p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4$ by putting $p = \gamma mv$ and then get a value for $m$ (which will be $0$ for a ...
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71 views

Why is scattering vector $\vec{q}$ called vector of 'momentum transfer'?

In the world of scattering the angle at which you detect the scattered radiation is known as $q$, where $$ \vec{q} = \frac{4\pi\eta}{\lambda}\sin(\theta/2) $$ I read in a lot of books that this is ...
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786 views

What does it mean if a body has kinetic energy?

What does it mean if a body has kinetic energy? Does it mean that the momentum vectors of each particle of that body has the same direction? What about angular momentum?
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2k views

A spinning bullet

I know the rifling in a gun or rifle puts a spin on the bullet along the axis of trajectory. Now I don’t understand exactly what does it make the trajectory more stable and the travel grater?
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141 views

Photons have no mass. So, why does $E = pc$ hold? [duplicate]

It's a somewhat theoretical question. In special relativity, The energy of a photon is given by $E = pc$. But, my argument is that, since photons have no mass, how can they have a momentum $p$? The ...
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2answers
3k views

How to construct the radial component of the momentum operator?

I'm having trouble doing it. I know so far that if we have two Hermitian operators $A$ and $B$ that do not commute, and suppose we wish to find the quantum mechanical Hermitian operator for the ...
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4answers
109 views

What do you exactly mean when you say that momentum is conserved?

I am taking for granted that when we say that something is conserved it is understood 'in its full integrity'. Energy is represented by a number (of J, or other) and is usually conserved. But ...
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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 ...
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3answers
619 views

When is energy conserved in a collision and not momentum?

Consider the following example: A bullet of mass 45g is fired at a speed of 220 m/s into a 5.0 kg sandbag hanging from a string from the ceiling. The sandbag absorbs the bullet and begins to ...
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312 views

Momentum, Impulse and Newton's Second Law of Motion

Newton formulated his Second Law as such: $$\sum{\vec{F}} = \frac{\delta \vec{p}}{\delta t}$$ and of course, $\vec{p} = m \vec{v}$. Why is it that if the net force $\sum \vec{F}$ is constant (which ...
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162 views

Directionality of angular momentum

I was told that the sum of linear and angular momentum is conserved. Given that angular momentum's direction as a vector is completely arbitrary (I believe there is no physical reason for choosing ...
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1answer
287 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 ...
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2answers
335 views

Connection between momentum and energy

What is the connection between momentum and energy? Which of the answers is the correct? A particle can have zero momentum but energy. A particle can have zero energy but momentum. ...
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1answer
118 views

On a frictionless table, what is the angle at which a cue ball should hit another ball for it to go in?

Assume there are 2 balls on the table. Cue ball and another ball. What is the angle at which the cue ball should hit another ball for it to go in?
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1answer
43 views

Why do safety helmets have a softer inner layer nearer the head?

I know that when an object collides onto the helmet, it causes an inelastic collision so that energy is absorbed by the structure of the helmet, so what exactly does the softer inner layer do? Does it ...
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1answer
53 views

How we can manipulate the momentum of a particle?

Is there any way to affect a particle's momentum value?
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102 views

How is momentum conserved when a magnet attracts a metal?

Suppose your have any magnetic object and no external force acts upon it, and the object comes near a metal which causes an impulse (think that will happen). However, the magnetic force is internal to ...
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444 views

The Momentum Operator in QM

I've seen the 'derivation' as to why momentum is an operator, but I still don't buy it. Momentum has always been just a product $m{\bf v}$. Why should it now be an operator. Why can't we just multiply ...
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169 views

Is air drag equation in term of momentum still valid?

This is the known equation of air drag: $$m{\bf a}=mg-\mathcal D=mg-b{\bf v}.$$ Considering this, is air drag equation in term of momentum still valid? $$m{\bf v}=mv_g-b{\bf r}.$$
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254 views

Conservation of Linear Momentum with respect to a given direction

Is linear momentum conserved in any direction? More specifically, if you project all momentum vectors in a system onto another vector, will momentum be conserved? I know that momentum is conserved ...
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2k views

Inelastic collision and conservation of linear and angular momentum

Is it possible for two spheres (a & b) to have an inelastic collision with BOTH the total linear and angular momentum preserved? I'm doing some physics simulation of some spheres attracting each ...
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814 views

Same momentum, different mass

The question is: if A bowling ball and ping pong ball are moving at same momentum and you exert same force to stop each one which will take a longer time? or some? which will have a longer ...
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546 views

Conservation of momentum leading to damage

What would be an intuitive way to damage objects in a physics game using impulses? Since momentum is conserved, so is impulse (the change in momentum for any two time periods) in a closed system. So ...
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78 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 ...
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114 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 ...
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Effect of incoming force on linear vs. angular velocity

First of all, I should note that I'm a programmer and have only an extremely basic understanding of physics; I only know how to explain my question in layman's terms and I apologize if I'm unclear or ...