Questions in this tag must be answered in a manner that can be understood by a general audience with at most a basic understanding of physics, mathematics and related sciences. Apply it to questions where the asker clearly requests such answers.

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0
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1answer
65 views

Does car colour affect car temperature? [duplicate]

My family will buy a car, so to minimise the car's air conditioning and heating (and thus fuel) costs, how should we choose a car exterior's colour and the interior's colour and material (eg fabric ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

Adding swimming pool salt to a fresh water pool [migrated]

Why does adding swimming pool salt to a freshwater swimming pool cause a white sediment to build up and stick to the floor of the pool?
1
vote
0answers
109 views

What is the fourth dimension of a Tesseract? [migrated]

Is the fourth dimension of the Tesseract time? That is why it is represented as a moving 3D structure on Wikipedia? I am asking because I have trouble understanding what it is.
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Can rotational motion can be reduced to translational motion?

Susskind says that all physics (dynamics of the world) can be described in terms of particle positions and their first order derivatives. Does such translational motion gives rise to rotation?
0
votes
3answers
104 views

How much does the Earth's population affect the force of gravity? [duplicate]

If everyone on earth except one person were to gather up in one location, say the North Pole, and jump at the exact same time and stay airborne for about 1.5 sec. And that one person who did not jump ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

What are Stephen Hawking's main contributions to research-level physics?

Without a doubt, Stephen Hawking is the most famous living scientist; indeed, his public visibility in all of history seems to be rivaled only by Einstein and easily eclipses giants of physics such as ...
12
votes
1answer
751 views

Which hemisphere am I on?

Inspired by this answer to a question on Puzzling.SE (which contains the old but wrong idea that the Coriolis force determines the direction in which a bathroom vortex rotates, and also an approach ...
3
votes
2answers
92 views

Food calories vs gravitational potential energy [closed]

Imagine you could use all of the energy you have ever extracted from your food as a source of propulsion. Is the energy contained in the food you’ve eaten over the course of your lifetime enough to ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

A model that predicts the universe is finite in space and time

A physics professor talked in a YouTube video about a paper he and his colleagues published. The paper presents a model that ties the mass of particles to the size of the universe. He summarizes their ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

What forces are involved to enable a rock to skip in water?

Does the surface tension matter or is it something else that is providing the upward force? Can someone explain the phenomenon to me physically?
23
votes
4answers
5k views

Blowing your own sail?

How it this possible? Even if the gif is fake, the Mythbusters did it and with a large sail it really moves forward. What is the explanation?
2
votes
2answers
112 views

Scientists observe the laws of the physics but, Where do they come from? [closed]

Has anyone ever considered how the laws of physics that we study came into being.
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Why aren't train headlights brighter? [closed]

I suspect a valid scientific, physics answer for this question, because I'd venture that train, insurance companies would've calculated and contemplated this question. Yet the train headlights at ...
61
votes
5answers
7k views

How literally should you take “The Higgs boson gives other particles mass”?

A standard phrase in popular discussions of the Higgs boson is that "it gives particles mass". To what extent is this a reasonable, pop-science, level of description of the Higgs boson and it's ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How could we travel to the nearest supermassive Black hole?

I have just watched a trailer for the upcoming movie Interstellar and started to wonder about some physics involved. In the end of the trailer, they are obviously plunging into a Black hole hoping to ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Required skills for a scientist [duplicate]

I wanna become a scientist, so wanna improve my skill like problem solving etc. Could you suggest me some more skills which I need to improve.
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Are these guard rails truly strong enough?

I'm lay about physics, but I'd like to learn about it behind this question. A friend criticises and claims that the single strip of traffic barriers (as shown below) would fail and is useless. For ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

Are the elements of physics different on the upper deck, of a double-decker bus, than those on the lower deck? [closed]

In this question, I hypothesise an event that affects the entire bus; I'm not asking about menace unique to upper floor passengers, such as an overly high upper floor or hanging objects (because this ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Does the Night Mode of the screen display (LCD) save more energy?

In some cases, we can enable the Night Mode (reversing the bright and dark color of the display; such as White Text, Black Background) for the screen display. LCD(Liquid-crystal display) seems to be ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Quantum field theory defines its own bounds of applicability

I recall hearing in a lecture something along the following lines: "Due to some intrinsic feature of quantum field theory in general (or maybe it was the standard model?), we know where it is ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Does the ground beneath a levitating object change due to the rotation of the earth? [duplicate]

I don't know whether this question pertains to physics. But anyways, here goes... If I were to hover 1m above the ground in a helicopter, would the ground below me change after 1 hr due to the ...
2
votes
1answer
166 views

Difference between horizon and flatness problems & how inflation solves flatness (w/out math)

Layman here so I'm hoping for an answer for my query that doesn't involve math. I'm reading about inflation and how it solves the flatness and horizon problems. I get that the horizon problem deals ...
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Does decreasing the length of the line between a harness and zip wire increase the velocity at which you travel?

My friend is an instructor at an outdoor adventure centre which has lots of zip wires. The instructor's harness has a shorter line that attaches to the zip wire than the normal harness does and she ...
0
votes
0answers
100 views

Intuitive explanation for angular momentum uncertainty?

The basic commutator relation $$[J_1,J_2]=i \hbar J_3$$ of quantum mechanics yields the uncertainty relation $$\Delta(J_1)\Delta(J_2)\ge \frac{\hbar}{2}|\langle J_3\rangle|.$$ However, unlike the ...
0
votes
1answer
225 views

So physicist's really do think the Universe could be a holographic Illusion?

http://www.nature.com/news/simulations-back-up-theory-that-universe-is-a-hologram-1.14328 http://guardianlv.com/2013/12/compelling-evidence-says-our-universe-is-a-hologram/ I thought the holographic ...
2
votes
4answers
92 views

Coherence effect on collecting sun light by mirrors

There are systems that collect sun light in one spot. I wonder, why does it accumulate additively, without destructive interference?
-2
votes
1answer
84 views

What is the physics concept in sponge filter

I really need help I want to ask what is the physics concept in Sponge Filter?
2
votes
2answers
278 views

Behaviour of duvet covers in washing machines

When you put a duvet cover in a washing machine without buttoning it up any other items of bedding (e.g. pillow cases) inevitably end up inside it. Instinctively, I would think that the opposite would ...
1
vote
3answers
521 views

Is a real life electric shield possible? [closed]

I got this question from playing games like Halo and Borderlands (I know kinda dumb but raised a good question) in which the primary protection is an electric shield. Now I'm wondering if it would be ...
0
votes
0answers
84 views

Is that true that neutron activity on Earth in 2013 is unusual?

I have just read curious statement on this website: http://www.trinitas.ru/rus/doc/0016/001d/00162241.htm (unfortunately this is in Russian, but I will try to translate) "В заключение можно отметить, ...
3
votes
1answer
183 views

Better explanation of the common general relativity illustration (stretched sheet of fabric)

I've seen many science popularisation documentaries and read few books (obviously not being scientist myself). I am able to process and understand basic ideas behind most of these. However for general ...
2
votes
1answer
257 views

Black Hole evaporation through virtual couples at the horizon

I read about vacuum energy. It explains the Hawking radiation, the black hole necessary radiation: Physical insight into the process may be gained by imagining that particle-antiparticle ...
1
vote
3answers
721 views

Whats left at the center of the Universe after Big bang?

If you consider big bang. According to that What's left at the center of universe where the Big bang occured?
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Predominant light frequency over the day?

I'm not well-versed in physics, so I hope you'll forgive me if this question is significantly off the mark. I'm interested in the predominant frequencies of light over the course of one day. My ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Revisiting the microscopic concept of Touching with some more questions

This question is regarding the amazing answer given by Terry Bollinger at this Phys.SE post. I think this answer is very helpful but i do have some standing questions. He says Once the bonding ...
7
votes
2answers
515 views

Is there an intuitive way of thinking about the extra dimensions in M-Theory?

Why are 11 dimensions needed in M-Theory? The four I know (three spatial ones plus time) have an intuitive meaning in everyday life. How can I think of the other seven? What is their nature (spatial, ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

How to argue that time travel to past would not be possible even in future?

I am a science fiction writer. I know how to time travel to the future (using black hole or speed). But I need to argue in my novel that time travel to the past might not be possible. Is there a way ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the fundamental problems of being in a 2 dimensional world?

I was reading through Stephen Hawking's explanation of two - dimensional space. In that he mentioned that it will be very difficult to design a living being that could exist only in 2 dimension. What ...
0
votes
2answers
176 views

What is the universe expanding into? [duplicate]

Due to curiosity, it made me wonder what is outside of the universe, is it a new chemical or just empty space? But empty space have protons appearing and disappearing in it, it basically still has ...
-4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the total mass of the universe constant in time? [duplicate]

Is the total mass of the universe constant in time?
4
votes
1answer
158 views

Identifying the position of the moon

I encountered the following question in a previous year paper of a graduation-based test. On a certain night the moon in its waning phase was a half-moon. At midnight the moon will be (choose one ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Is coherent light required for interference in Young's double slit experiment?

In this Veritasium video, a home experiment is presented which appears to produce a very good double-slit interference pattern with normal sunlight. The experiment is an empty cardboard box with a ...
0
votes
2answers
352 views

3 Questions about modern Physics [closed]

First i'd like to apologize for both my writting skills (i'm not english) and for my physics knowledge (being them very basic and/or naive). With general relativity from Einstein, gravity is no ...
2
votes
1answer
209 views

Many-worlds interpretation vs 'just' randomness?

I have this question about MWI I always wanted to ask but never dared to! It could be that I just don't know enough physics to understand the answer, or the question! Anyway, here goes: What is it ...
0
votes
1answer
334 views

Time travel, is it possible? [duplicate]

I see there are many questions with this title, but this one is different, so please give it due thought: Is time travel possible? If so, Can we go both forwards and backwards in time? Paradox: I ...
3
votes
0answers
91 views

What is the entropy of a string?

In his The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics (p. 373) Susskind states that the entropy of a string is [...] proportional to its length. ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Resource for nonphysicists about QM/GR incompatibility [duplicate]

I don't know how to explain the issues at hand in a way that nonphysicists are certain to understand. Can anyone point me to some resource (book, video, it doesn't really matter) that will help me?
7
votes
1answer
196 views

When the sun's magnetic field reverses, how can “the north pole (have) already (…) reversed, and (we are) waiting for the south pole to catch-up”?

I was reading a popular news account of the sun's upcoming magnetic field reversal at http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/0807/Sun-s-magnetic-reversal-means-big-changes-for-the-solar-system-video, ...
10
votes
1answer
612 views

How can I explain or demonstrate the Lorentz Force to a 12 year old?

I'm a space physicist. I've been working with a group of school students (aged between around 10 and 12) exploring the Sun, the Earth and the solar system. We've talked about some basics of magnetism ...
41
votes
8answers
3k views

Explaining to a five year old - why don't bubbles run like water

My five-year old daughter was asking about astronauts the other day and why they float in space. After me showing her a few bits on the kids section on the NASA web site I started explaining about the ...