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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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
25k 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
555 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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2answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
700 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
461 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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3answers
840 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
59 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
74 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
156 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
248 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
139 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
77 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
352 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
243 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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1answer
2k 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
671 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 ...
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2answers
164 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 ...
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1answer
106 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 ...
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1answer
141 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 ...
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3answers
201 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 ...
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1answer
244 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: ...
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2answers
529 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 ...
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1answer
139 views

How does a “hammer thrower” that we see in the Olympics, impart so much momentum

How does a "hammer thrower" that we see in the Olympics, build so much momentum into the club? It's sort of like the golf swing, the more momentum, primarily in the club head, the further the ball ...
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2answers
223 views

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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738 views

Bat hitting a ball

When a bat hits a ball, consider two cases: 1) The batsman goes for a defense, and stonewalls it, to reduce its speed. 2) the batsman goes for a shot, e.g. a home-run, etc. in which case will the ...
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2answers
2k 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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1answer
82 views

When are energy, mechanical energy, momentum, and angular momentum conserved?

I am in AP Physics and my only real hangup is knowing when the said quantities are conserved. Please define what is the SYSTEM in your answer. I kind of have the basic idea. For example, if there ...
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1answer
62 views

Does third law of motion apply to light or EM waves? [duplicate]

Third law of motion - "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" I was considering the situation, where I may be motionless in space with only a flashlight and no forces acting on me. ...
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1answer
211 views

Why does the rule that elastic collisions are at 90 degrees in 2 dimensions not apply?

When one object collides with another object of the same mass in a 2D plane, we know that we can derive that the angles that the objects leave the collision at add up to 90 degrees in a perfectly ...
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3answers
95 views

Justification of $P_{\text{photon}}=E/c$ in derivation of $E=mc^2$

I recently was reading up on the derivation of $E=mc^2$. Now, I came across this derivation at this link. I noticed that several lines into the derivation they throw in the equation ...
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1answer
111 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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57 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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396 views

Dumbbell rotation

What if apply impulse to dumbbell consisting of two masses and massless rod? It is clear for me that left dumbbell will move straight line. But it is not clear for me what kind of motion will have ...
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1answer
74 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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518 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
770 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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2answers
104 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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1answer
356 views

Particle In a box, momentum, and velocity

On a homework assignment, we are give the width of a well $a$, the mass of the particle $m$, and we want to find the average velocity of the particle at the $n=1$ state. Here is my attempt at the ...
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2answers
937 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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3answers
498 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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1answer
105 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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2answers
3k views

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
1k 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
1k 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
770 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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1answer
651 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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3answers
394 views

Displacement with zero velocity

I know that we can rotate a deformable object using internal forces only in space. Thus we can cause an angular displacement without the use of any external forces. The following youtube video shows ...