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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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: ...
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195 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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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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886 views

Why does Energy-Momentum have a special case?

I was reading Energy-momentum, and I came across this simplified equation: $$E^2 = (mc^2)^2 + (pc)^2$$ where $m$ is the mass and $p$ is momentum of the object. That said, the equation is pretty ...
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3answers
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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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6answers
333 views

Why isn't momentum conserved in this pulley problem?

I have some conceptual doubt about method of solving this problem. 24. A block of mass $m$ and a pan of equal mass are connected by a string going over a smooth light pulley as shown in figure ...
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3answers
268 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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2answers
540 views

Why the photon can't produce electron and positron in space or in vacuum?

$$\frac{hc}{\lambda} = K_e + K_p + 2m_e c^2$$ could be the energy conservation equation for a photon of wavelength $\lambda$ decaying into a electron and positron with kinetic energies $K_e$ and $K_p$ ...
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130 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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2answers
4k 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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2answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
106 views

Is it possible to jump by using only my arms?

We can see that basketball players use their arms to jump higher. Is it possible to lose contact with the ground by only moving my arms? I know that the calculations have something to do with ...
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4answers
529 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 ...
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2k 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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2answers
196 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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7answers
967 views

Why is momentum conserved (or rather what makes an object carry on moving infinitely)?

I know this is an incredibly simple question, but I am trying to find a very simple explanation to this other than the simple logic that energy is conserved when two items impact and bounce off each ...
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1answer
74 views

What is the reason behind the equation $p = mv$? [duplicate]

Now this is a very basic question, might look stupid too, but I am not able to understand it. I tried to imagine what momentum really is, and it is the impact of an object. I understood how momentum ...
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1answer
198 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 ...
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2answers
5k views

What is the Momentum Operator?

I know the equation for the momentum operator, but what exactly is the momentum operator? It's bizarre to me that taking the derivative of the wave function, which is an operator, should return ...
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2answers
245 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
47 views

Nail clippers and conservation of momentum

As I clip my fingernails using nail clippers, pieces of nails sometimes fly off violently, reaching the other end of the room. What's happening in terms of conservation of momentum, how are the pieces ...
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1answer
75 views

Why can we model a body to have a center of mass?

I accept that bodies have a center of mass. I also accept that if I were to suspend a body by only supporting it at its center of mass, then the body wouldn't rotate. In the scenario that we suspend a ...
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127 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 ...
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307 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 ...
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180 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, ...
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2k 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). ...
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1answer
118 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 ...
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3answers
7k 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 ...
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2answers
551 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 ...
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3answers
22k 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?
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1answer
519 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 ...
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Pair production - mathematically?

Allover the web i am only seeing a statement similar to this: Pair production is not possible in vaccum, 3rd particle is needed so that conservation of momentum holds. Well noone out of many ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
669 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 ...
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1answer
440 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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798 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 ...
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2answers
51 views

Why do $\hat{X}$ and $\hat{P}$ have to correspond to position and momentum?

As far as I understand, in QM we treat observables as operators, and the eigenvalues of these operators are the possible values we can measure of the observables. It is usually simpler to work in the ...
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2answers
64 views

Why is it easier to drop on to a downslope?

On a bicycle, why is it easier to land from a drop or jump on a slope going downwards than landing on a flat surface or on an upslope? I've already heard answers such as "because that's how a bike ...
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3answers
149 views

What's faulty in my reasoning about energy and momentum in this problem?

The question (from Sparknotes SAT Physics): An athlete of mass 70.0 kg applies a force of 500 N to a 30.0 kg luge, which is initially at rest, over a period of 5.00 s before jumping onto the ...
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2answers
169 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 ...
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2answers
131 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 ...
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3answers
71 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?
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1answer
303 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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2answers
239 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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1answer
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Hermitian Adjoint of differential operator

I came across this equation (identity) (Eq. 4 in this paper): $\int(-i d\psi/dx)^*\psi dx = \int \psi^*(-i d\psi/dx) dx + id(\psi^*\psi)/dx\mid_{-\infty}^{+\infty}$ I have trouble proving it. I ...