# Tagged Questions

Newtonian mechanics covers the discussion of the movement of classical bodies under the influence of forces by making use of Newton’s three laws. For more general discussion of energy, momentum conservation etc., use classical-mechanics, for Newton’s description of gravity, use newtonian-gravity.

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### Why is the period of rotation the same for two stars orbiting the same centre?

In a binary star system, two stars $A$ and $B$ follow circular orbits, of radius $R$ and $r$ respectively, centred on their common centre of mass $O$. The mass of star $A$ is $M$, and that of star $B$ ...
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### Why I think tension should be twice the force in a tug of war

I'm going to provide my argument for why I think the tension in a rope should be twice the force exerted on either side of it. First, let's consider a different example. Say, there is a person named <...
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### Infinite grid of planets with Newtonian gravity

Assuming only Newtonian gravity, suppose that the universe consists of an infinite number of uniform planets, uniformly distributed in a two-dimensional grid infinite in both directions and not moving ...
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### Is there a deep reason why springs combine like capacitors?

I was solving a practice Physics GRE and there was a question about springs connected in series and parallel. I was too lazy to derive the way the spring constants add in each case. But I knew how ...
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### Throwing a ball upwards in an accelerating train

If I throw a ball upwards to a certain height in an accelerating train, will it end up in my hand? At the moment I release the ball, it will have a velocity equal to that of the train at that instant. ...
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### Derivation of the centrifugal and coriolis force

I was wondering how easily these two pseudo-forces can be derived mathematically in order to exhibit a clear physical meaning. How would you proceed?
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### Galilean invariance of Lagrangian for non-relativistic free point particle?

In QFT, the Lagrangian density is explicitly constructed to be Lorentz-invariant from the beginning. However the Lagrangian $$L = \frac{1}{2} mv^2$$ for a non-relativistic free point particle is ...
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### What is the physics of a spinning coin?

When we spin a coin on a table, we observe 2 things: It slows down and stops after sometime. It does not stay at just one point on the table but its point of contact with table changes with time. ...
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### Where is the “event horizon” on a basketball hoop?

I'm watching a lot of basketball this month. A common event is the ball going part way into the hoop and then coming out again. Announcers sometimes claim that the ball was "halfway through" when it ...
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### Why doesn't this magnetic perpetual motion machine work?

I know that this machine does not work, via thermodynamics. I am asking for an analysis in terms of mechanics and magnetism. Anyway, so here is the machine: The magnet (the red ball) pull the ball ...
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### Is Newton's third law always correct?

Newton's third law states that every force has an equal and opposite reaction. But this doesn't seem like the case in the following scenario: For example, a person punches a wall and the wall breaks. ...
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### What causes the back of a bike to lift when the front brake is applied?

What causes the back of a bike to lift when the front brake is applied? (Like in an endo.) Also, if I were to replicate this effect with a wood block with wheels that crashes against a wall (only the ...
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### If the solar system is a non-inertial frame, why can Newton's Laws predict motion?

Since there is no object in the universe that doesn't move, and the solar system likely accelerates through space, how did Newton's Laws work so well? Didn't he assume that the sun is the acceleration-...
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### What are some phenomena that can not be described without the help of Newton's third law of motion? [closed]

What are some phenomena that can not be described without the help of Newton's third law of motion? All the phenomena I can think of can be explained with the help of Newton's first law or second law. ...
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### Why can't one see tidal effects in a glass of water?

Why can't one see the tidal effect in a glass of water like in an ocean?
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### How do you explain spinning tops to a nine year old?

Why don't spinning tops fall over? (The young scientist version) My nine year old son asked me this very question when playing with his "Battle Strikers" set. Having studied Physics myself, I am very ...
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### Can the coefficient of static friction be less than that of kinetic friction?

I was recently wondering what would happen if the force sliding two surfaces against each other were somehow weaker than kinetic friction but stronger than static friction. Since the sliding force is ...
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### Why doesn't an object, despite having a non-zero potential energy stored in it, fall by itself from the elevation?

When an object is at a certain height, it has some energy stored in it as we have done some work on it to get it to that height. So when it already has energy, then why doesn't it fall off from the ...
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### What creates the chaotic motion on a double pendulum?

As we know, The double pendulum has a chaotic motion. But, why is this? I mean, the mass of the two pendulums are the same and they have the same length. But, what makes its motion random? I'm just ...
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### Is there any friction between wheel and road?

Human beings invented the wheel to get rid of the friction between the wheel and the road. But were we able to reduce it to zero? Is there any residual friction? This question is about only the ...
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### What force causes the ball to move up?

Let's consider this super-simple example. The ball (mass $m$) is moving from position 1 to position 2 at constant horizontal velocity $v$ until the ball reaches the red arrow (in position 1, it has ...
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### Why is a book on a table not an example of Newton's third law?

My textbook explains Newton's Third Law like this: If an object A exterts a force on object B, then object B exerts an equal but opposite force on object A It then says: Newton's 3rd law ...
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### Are all central forces conservative? Wikipedia must be wrong

It might be just a simple definition problem but I learned in class that a central force does not necessarily need to be conservative and the German Wikipedia says so too. However, the English ...
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### Does energy expenditure require movement? [duplicate]

In every formula I've seen that involves energy, I've also seen a distance element. Is there nothing that doesn't involve movement? For instance if I hold my arm out parallel to the ground with a ...
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### Does an athlete's proficiency at luge depend on his mass?

I was watching the men's luge ride with my dad. My dad said, the mass of the athlete must be at an optimum level so that he wins. I said, his volume should be minimum, but it has nothing to do with ...
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### Why don't lakes have tides?

There's a tidal effect that we can clearly observe in oceans, which is the effect of gravity from the Sun and the Moon. If gravity affects everything equally, why don't lakes have tides?
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### How does one determine an inertial frame?

How does one determine whether one is in an inertial frame? An inertial frame is one on which a particle with no force on it travels in a straight line. But how does one determine that no forces are ...
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### Is acceleration an average?

Background I'm new to physics and math. I stopped studying both of them in high-school, and I wish I hadn't. I'm pursuing study in both topics for personal interest. Today, I'm learning about ...
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### Does it matter how you order your tug-of-war participants?

In a tug-of-war match today, my summer camp students were very concerned about putting the biggest people at the back of the rope. Is there any advantage to this strategy?
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### Slinky base does not immediately fall due to gravity

Why does the base of this slinky not fall immediately to gravity? My guess is tension in the springs is a force > mass*gravity but even then it is dumbfounding.
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### Compressibility and the form of Newton's second law in fluid mechanics

In deriving Euler's equations for fluid mechanics, in particular $$f=\rho \partial_t v +\rho v\cdot \nabla v$$ for some body force $f$ (e.g Landau & Lifschitz 2.3) one assumes the continuity ...
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### How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere (...
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### Is force a “real thing”, or a tool for explaining changes in measurable phenomena?

My physics text says that force is "an interaction between two bodies or a body and its environment." When an object undergoes acceleration we explain it with a force. But we don't measure force, ...
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### Energy needed for Superman to take off and fly at the speed of sound

I just watched "Man of Steel", and I'm wondering if my logic is correct. Let's assume Superman is 80 kg. The energy required to take off from the rest to reach the speed of sound in air (if I neglect ...
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### Confusion with Newton's third law

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” I have a query about the word every in that sentence. Suppose we have two objects A and B. A pushes B with a force of 5N and B will push A with a ...
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### How does Newton's third law apply to an object interacting with air?

We all know that if I punch the wall with $100\,\mathrm{N}$ force, the wall pushes me back with with $100\,\mathrm{N}$ and I get hurt. But if I punch air with $100\,\mathrm{N}$, does air punches me ...
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### Is gravity a force and if so what is its opposite?

For every force there is an equal force in the opposite direction on another body, correct? So when the Suns gravity acts on Earth where is the opposite and equal force? I also have the same ...
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### What is a rocket engine thrusting against in space?

I know Newton's third law of motion might be the answer for this but still I am wondering how the rockets could thrust in the empty space and move in the opposite direction. I guess an astronaut ...
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### Does cutting of trees affect spin angular momentum of earth?

Cutting trees reduces earth's moment of inertia. So the spinning velocity of earth should be reduced day by day. Does it really happen?
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### Weightlessness in Satellites

The following is written in my textbook as the reason for weightlessness felt in satellites: The gravitational pull is counterbalanced by the centripetal force. This introduces two problems: ...
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### Why would a fat skydiver fall first in free fall?

I was having one of those obnoxious conversations with a friend where he was arguing that a fat skydiver would reach the ground faster than a skinny skydiver. To me it seemed as obvious that the world ...
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### How large can planets or moons appear?

In many artistic impressions or movies there are pictures or scenes where the sky is filled with an enormous moon (as seen from a planet) or vice versa. I wonder if there is an upper limit to the ...