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2
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2answers
195 views

Temperature on the surface of the sun calculated with the Stefan-Boltzmann-rule

In a German Wikipedia page, the following calculation for the temperature on the surface of the Sun is made: $\sigma=5.67*10^{-8}\frac{W}{m^2K^4}$ (Stefan-Boltzmann constant) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Mammal Population Estimates as a Fermi problem [closed]

Can We estimate the order of magnitude of number of mammals on earth? Can this be treated as Fermi problem or not?
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Will my car consume more if I plug in my laptop?

I drive a Volvo v40 with a 110hp diesel engine. It usually use 4.6L/100km. If I plug my laptop which is 85W, will this change the fuel need? If so, by how much?
5
votes
1answer
143 views

Data requirement to determine proportionality

A common result of theoretical analysis in physics is some sort of relation derived from physical parameters and typically expressed in the form of a non-dimensional parameter. These scale relations ...
9
votes
3answers
440 views

“Weakness” of gravitational force

I often hear that gravitational force is much "weaker" than electroweak and strong forces. But how can you compare the strength of interactions without the parameters like mass, charge on which it ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Measuring the nearest order of magnitude

The world's largest ball of a string is about $R=2 m$ in radius. To find the nearest order of magnitude, what is the total length $L$ of the string in the ball? I have tried this in the following ...
4
votes
0answers
73 views

Intuitively, why does removing solutes cost $k_B T$ of free energy per molecule?

I can calculate that if you want to, for example, desalinate water, you will have to pay a free energy cost of $k_B T$ for each ion you remove. In other words, removing an ion from a volume of water ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Order of magnitude

When finding out the order of magnitude of quantities, as said in my textbook, we compare the numerical part with $3.2$ (approximately $\sqrt{10}$ or rounded off version of $3.162$) Thus, $9.12 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

A Fermi-question: Are there more stars than grains of sand?

This claim is pretty popular in the web and obviously cannot be answered by counting grains or stars. Thats what physicists call a Fermi-question. It deals with problems/questions where we dont have ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

What is a realistic launch speed of a grappling hook gun? [closed]

In The Dark Knight, at the end of the movie Batman throws the Joker off of a building and then shoots his grapple hook gun to catch him. Is 68m/s a reasonable speed for a grapple gun to shoot?
3
votes
1answer
229 views

Why is Planck mass much larger than the smallest mass that we actually know about?

The three fundamental constants $h$, $c$ and $G$ are manipulated and rearranged in different ways to get the Planck time, Planck mass etc. The Planck time is said to be the smallest time possible and ...
-2
votes
2answers
282 views

About how fast can a small fish swim before experiencing turbulent flow around its body? [closed]

About how fast can a small fish swim before experiencing turbulent flow around its body? An Engineering Problem! Please go through this question step by step. :D
9
votes
2answers
4k views

How cold does it need to be for spit to freeze before hitting the ground?

What is the dominant form of heat transfer between warm water and cold air? If a $100 mg$ drop of water falls through $-40 C$ air, how quickly could it freeze? Is it credible that in very cold ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Planck mass is about the mass of one eyebrow hair

Unlike most Planck units named after "Planck" such as Planck length, Planck temperature, etc, the Planck mass seems more closed to daily life. It is about $10^{-5}$g, same order of magnitude of one ...
1
vote
0answers
122 views

Good book on deriving approximate solutions from first principles? [closed]

I have always been excited by examples in which a few simple assumptions and first principles are used to characterize a system. For example, I did an exercise in which Crawford estimates a lake to ...
4
votes
2answers
333 views

Is there scale by size of all discovered particles?

Atom: Neutron: Elementary particles: Is there scale by size of all discovered particles? From neutron and proton to electron and to boson? Compare to each other, like this I have found ...
4
votes
2answers
181 views

Dimensionless numbers or parameters that are $\ll 1$ or $\gg 1$

Many times, in various fields, authors use the notation: $$C\ll 1$$ or $$C\gg 1,$$ where $C$ is some parameter related to the system being studied. I know this is highly dependent on application, ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Is it possible to reach lower temperatures than the Boyle temperature in de van der Waals equation?

We know that for a real gas we can write a virial expansion in powers of $p$: $$pV=Nk_{B}T+B(T)p+\cdots$$ It results that the van der Waals equation: ...
2
votes
0answers
236 views

Dimensional analysis to estimate order of magnitude of quantities

In the Coursera course From the Big Bang to Dark Energy on several occasions dimensional analysis was used to estimate the scale of quantities. This almost seems like a contradiction in terms to me, ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

In dimensional analysis, why the dimensionless constant is usually of order 1?

Usually in all discussions and arguments of scaling or solving problems using dimensional analysis, the dimensionless constant is indeterminate but it is usually assumed that it is of order 1. What ...
2
votes
1answer
375 views

Newton's Third Law Of Motion: Earth Falling to an Apple?

I 'get' Newton's third law of motion, except for one thing. We know that if we let an apple fall to the Earth, the earth will fall to the apple, because the Earth must experience the same force in the ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do mirages only appear on hot days?

A previous question asked why the road sometimes appears wet on hot days. The reason is that when there's a temperature gradient in the air, it causes a gradient in the index of refraction, causing ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

Energy behind door knocking?

How do we estimate the energy released from knocking on a wooden table or a door?
4
votes
1answer
103 views

For how long must a molecule remain stable to be considered “stable”?

In the Star Trek: Voyager episode The Omega Directive, Seven of Nine says that the Borg synthesized a molecule which was "kept [] stable for one trillionth of a nanosecond before it destabilized". ...
34
votes
3answers
2k views

Can the solar system really fit in a thimble?

Almost every time somebody talks about atoms, at some point they mention something like this: If we remove the spaces between the atoms and atomic components, we can fit the solar system in a ...
2
votes
1answer
233 views

Why do some liquid metals have anomalously-high surface tension/heat of vaporization ratios?

In a didactic article, Victor Weisskopf estimated the size of molecules in a liquid from measurements of their surface tension and heat of vaporization. If atoms are exceedingly small, then only a ...
1
vote
1answer
923 views

Explanation of energy levels in molecules, atoms, nuclei and their relationship

Why are the energy levels of molecules, the atoms that form them and the nuclei inside the atoms considered separately? Or phrased in a different way- what is it that makes their energy levels so ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Turned to steel in the great magnetic field

This is obviously a "fun" question, but I'm sure it still has valid physics in it, so bear with me. How great of a magnetic field would you need to transmute other elements into iron/nickel, if ...
3
votes
3answers
304 views

How much would the LHC beam be attenuated by the atmosphere?

As I understand it, the completed Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will ultimately have a proton beam with $2,808$ bunches of $1.15 \times 10^{11}$ protons each at $7$ TeV, giving a total beam energy of ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Forces: Worth worrying anything?

I am a general physics student, I had a question in my text-book and according to it two students having gravitational attraction between them = ($6.67\cdot10^-8\ \mathrm{Nm}^2/\mathrm{kg}^2$) is not ...
8
votes
3answers
654 views

How can we make an order-of-magnitude estimate of the strength of Earth's magnetic field?

The source of Earth's magnetic field is a dynamo driven by convection current in the molten core. Using some basic physics principles (Maxwell's equations, fluid mechanics equations), properties of ...
3
votes
2answers
593 views

Heuristics for specific heat capacities of solids

A didactic question publish in The Physics Teacher (http://tpt.aapt.org/resource/1/phteah/v41/i1/p8_s1) asks which will melt more ice: 100g of metal at 100C or 100g of wood at 100C. (The particular ...
2
votes
1answer
296 views

How much water is destroyed in photosynthesis, relative to the world's supply?

Water is involved in the photosynthesis. How much water are we talking about compared with the total amount on water on Earth? Is it enough to have an effect on the average age of water molecules?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How did Enrico Fermi calculate the classical Fermi Problem?

From Wikipedia: Fermi was known for his ability to make good approximate calculations with little or no actual data, hence the name. One example is his estimate of the strength of the atomic bomb ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Modeling galactic colonization

I found a really cool sounding order-of-magnitude modeling question but am a bit at a loss on how to approach this: The Milky Way contains 100 billion stars and has a radius of 250,000 light ...
-5
votes
1answer
146 views

Confront Order Of magnitudes

Is it correct to say that 9.0 is one order of magnitude smaller than 10.0? Has anyone a link/source about confronting order of magnitudes, apart from wikipedia?
6
votes
3answers
280 views

Is there a number that describes a gas's departure from the ideal gas law?

When judging if relativity is important in a given phenomenon, we might examine the number $v/c$, with $v$ a typical velocity of the object. If this number is near one, relativity is important. In ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

How does the temperature of the triple point of water depend on gravitational acceleration?

Suppose I do two experiments to find the triple point of water, one in zero-g and one on Earth. On Earth, water in the liquid or solid phase has less gravitational potential per unit mass than water ...