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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How is the Principle of Conservation of Momentum proven using the Momentum-Impulse Principle?

Consider two particles moving in the same direction on the same line, $A$ and $B$, with mass $m_A$ and $m_B$, respectively. They also have velocies $u_A$ and $u_B$. They collide. After the collision A ...
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1k views

Do photons actually generate a slight kinetic force?

My question is even though photons have no (rest) mass, do they emit a external force due to EM radiation causing electrons to be excited and jump to higher energy shells which electrons have mass ...
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48 views

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
77 views

What am I REALLY doing when I take the Fourier transform of the momentum operator

I was playing around with some equations and found a surprising relationship when I took the fourier transform of the momentum operator Define $\hat P = \frac{\hbar}{i} \partial_x$, then $F(\hat P) = ...
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48 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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62 views

Diffracted electron - where does it gain additional momentum?

When an electron is diffracted, the momentum after the diffraction has different direction than before. Where does the electron gain this momentum? This is related to this question, but it's ...
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46 views

How are momentum and position operators dependent on the chosen inertial frame?

How are momentum and position operators in quantum mechanics dependent on the chosen inertial frame of reference?
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197 views

Elastic collisions and conservation of momentum

If you have an elastic collision between objects 1 and 2 and where 'kinetic energy is conserved', does this mean object 1 will always have the same velocity it had before the collision? Or will ...
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2answers
190 views

Will I be able to push a small object in front of me in the outer space?

Imagine I am standing on Earth, and pushing a tennis ball away from me. The ball moves. If it is very heavy, I will move back instead of the ball. Now consider the same scenario in outer space, where ...
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98 views

Where did the universe get its initial momentum?

If, according to Newton's third law, forces come in pairs then what about the big bang? where did the universe get that initial push/momentum?
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384 views

What are the general solutions to a hard sphere collision?

Surely someone has found the solutions to the hard sphere collisions (in $n$ dimensions) of two bodies of mass $m_1$ and $m_2$, respectively--that is the resultant velocities (or momenta) of the two ...
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290 views

What happens with a tunneling particle when its momentum is imaginary in QM?

In classical mechanics the motion of a particle is bounded if it is trapped in a potential well. In quantum mechanics this is no longer the case and there is a non zero probability of the particle to ...
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97 views

Energy/Momentum required to deflect earth from its orbit

This question occurred to me when thinking about the firepower people have on earth. How hard is it to change the characteristics of the orbit of the earth when an explosion happens on its surface, ...
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Calculating angular velocity after collision

Suppose I have a disc which doesn't move, just rotate around the axis going through its centre of mass perpendicular to its surface. The disk has a stick perpendicular to its surface at the edge. I ...
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3answers
641 views

Steady isothermal flow of an ideal gas

So I have a steady isothermal flow of an ideal gas through a smooth duct (no frictional losses) and need to compute the mass flow rate (per unit area) as a function of pressures at any two different ...
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2answers
682 views

Conservation of linear momentum magnitude along a trajectory

I was once criticized for "taking angular momentum as momentum going in a circle". I was loosely trying to state, in classical mechanics, that in using conservation of momentum, one can switch between ...
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1answer
564 views

Quantum mechanical analogue of conjugate momentum

In classical mechanics, we define the concept of canonical momentum conjugate to a given generalised position coordinate. This quantity is the partial derivative of the Lagrangian of the system, with ...
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472 views

Single photon's effect on conservation of momentum?

When your looking at basic Compton theory you find that if you shoot a stream of photons at a particle (usually atoms or electrons), then you have the basic laws of conservation of momentum. The ...
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349 views

Fundamental properties of motion

The first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the angular momentum operator states that In both classical and quantum mechanical systems, angular momentum (together with linear momentum and ...
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Elastic collision in two dimensions

Suppose a particle with mass $m_1$ and speed $v_{1i}$ undergoes an elastic collision with stationary particle of mass $m_2$. After the collision, particle of mass $m_1$ moves with speed $v_{1f}$ in a ...
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272 views

Conservation of momentum with MOND

Assuming as true the phenomenological MOND law for low accelerations ($< 10^{-10} m s^{-2} = a_0$), and considering a small mass $m$ attached to a larger mass $M$ by a faint spring (let's think of ...
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235 views

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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235 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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32 views

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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Doubt regarding stress-energy tensor definition

I'm having some trouble understanding the following definition of the stress energy tensor: $T^{\mu\nu}$ is the flux of four-momentum $p^{\mu}$ across a surface of constant $x^{\nu}$. Here's an ...
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57 views

Does constant velocity of center of mass imply linear momentum is conserved?

I know that if momentum is conserved for a system, you can derive that the velocity of the center of mass of that system is constant. I was wondering if the second condition also implies the first: if ...
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202 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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277 views

Total Momentum From a Standing Electromagnetic Wave

How does one show the momentum imparted to a perfect conducting resonance cavity (boundary) of any shape by a classical standing electromagnetic wave inside is zero? It should be by conservation of ...
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52 views

Swinging onto a Hill

I was just watching the movie "Frozen" (not the Disney one), and they were trapped in a ski lift 50 feet off the ground. They had to jump. My question is, when they jump, should they swing on the ...
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138 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
120 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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74 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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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
2k 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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497 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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327 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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1answer
2k 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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1answer
513 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
1k 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
725 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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What exactly is NASA's proposed mechanism for “propellantless” “EM Drive” propulsion? [duplicate]

Of course, this question runs perilously close to this site's prohibition against discussing non-mainstream physics. However, the accepted answer in meta about what is acceptable and what is not ...
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51 views

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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38 views

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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65 views

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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Is there a general formula to translate from *canonical* to *physical* momentum?

In Peskin and Schroeder, after having derived a conserved tensor $T^{\mu \nu}$ associated with translations in space-time (the stress-energy tensor), it is said that the charges $\int d^3 x T^{0i}$: ...
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Making An Energy Momentum Plot For A Rashba Model (Using Discretization)

I want to make a plot of the Energy versus the Momentum of the Rashba model, using discrete matrices. First Ill show how I did this for the free particle. Subsequently I will show what goes wrong for ...
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75 views

Momentum of capacitor in a uniform magnetic field

We are observing ideal, charged, parallel plate capacitor placed in uniform magnetic field parallel to plates. Whole system is at rest and isolated (we have forces that hold plates separated, but net ...
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1answer
49 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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171 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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96 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 ...