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

2
votes
10answers
926 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
915 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 $K_p$ ...
2
votes
2answers
141 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
5k 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
146 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
594 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
3answers
3k 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
2answers
211 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 ...
2
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
83 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
260 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
2answers
6k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
251 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
2answers
3k views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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
2answers
3k views

Does the physics in the FlyBoard video make sense?

If you haven't seen the video of the FlyBoard, please have a look: Yes, it's amazing, but do the physics make sense or is this another "doctored" video? Specifically, I'm wondering how Newton's ...
2
votes
1answer
78 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
141 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
3answers
97 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
324 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
192 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, $$T(\mathrm{d}\mathbf{x})T(\mathrm{d}\mathbf{x^\...
2
votes
1answer
132 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
1k views

What are the general solutions to a hard sphere collision? [duplicate]

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
11k 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
592 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
26k 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
574 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
3answers
730 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
469 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
877 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
67 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
80 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
158 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
322 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
152 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
1answer
386 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
253 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
3k 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
67 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
1answer
1k views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
710 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
211 views

Is the reaction force for a stone hitting a wall infinite?

Let us assume a rigid stone which moves in empty space with a constant speed of $v$. (Or in the air with no friction and drag or you can imagine a free fall with friction). This stone hits a rigid ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

A question regarding collisions

Let us consider a system of 2 identical spherical bodies connected by a massless string that is taut. If one body is placed at the origin then the other is placed at some coordinate $(x,y)$. The ...
2
votes
1answer
144 views

Does the average momentum vanish for an eigenstate of the simple harmonic oscillator?

Suppose we have a simple harmonic oscillator, let's consider the ground state, $|0\rangle$ and the first excited state $|1\rangle$. $\langle 0|\hat p|0 \rangle$ is zero right? Since the particle can ...
2
votes
3answers
207 views

Equilibrium that is not stable

Consider a system which is in an equilibrium state. Now, a small perturbation causes it to start oscillating about the equilibrium state, but over time, the momentum with which it overshoots the ...
2
votes
1answer
246 views

Why positronium can annihilate in vacuum?

I thought that the annihilation process of positronium cannot take place without a third-party particle. This can be directly derived from energy & momentum conservation: energy conservation: $$h\...
2
votes
2answers
558 views

How to calculate velocities after collision?

I'm currently writing a program for a particle simulator. One of the requirements is that the particles collide in a realistic way. However, I don't know how to calculate the final velocities. For ...