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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0answers
46 views

How to explain the AdS/CFT correspondence to scientists but non-physicists? [on hold]

I need to convey to idea and foremost the enthusiasm in our field for the AdS/CFT correspondence during a presentation of five minutes to an audience of scientists but non-physicists and corporate ...
1
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1answer
33 views

Why surface tension behaves so differently?

When a needle (or any other object) floats on water, its acting upwards balancing the gravity. But when an object (or may be a needle suspended in water) submerged in water, it acts downwards. ...
11
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6answers
6k views

How would you describe a black hole to a complete layman?

Non-astrophysicist visitors to Black Hole, will most likely barely make it past the introduction before getting lost in the technical details. Moreover, the Wikipedia article does not teach laypeople ...
0
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1answer
35 views

How would one attach black hole to starship in the Black hole Starship model? [closed]

A black hole starship is a theoretical idea for enabling interstellar travel by propelling a starship by creating an artificial black hole and using a parabolic reflector to reflect its Hawking ...
1
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0answers
44 views

How would I know if I were a 1 mm tall robot? [closed]

In the 1955 science fiction short story, The Tunnel under the World (SPOILER ALERT) a chemical plant explosion kills all the inhabitants of a town, whose consciousnesses are then uploaded into ...
11
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4answers
330 views

Why do smaller animals survive falls from larger heights?

I remember thinking about this classic problem with my friends back in school and tried to work through it again from a physics point of view. It turned out that it is more complicated that I thought: ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Popular books on QM

After some discussions with my friend about some "popular" aspects of quantum mechanics, my friend asked me whether there exist any books that could convey the basic ideas in a non-technical way (my ...
8
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1answer
5k views

Do residents of the Hudson Bay area have more time?

Apparently there is a gravity anomaly in the Hudson Bay Area in Canada: gravity is "missing" or it is slightly less than it is in the rest of the world. Does that mean that things in the Hudson Bay ...
2
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2answers
136 views

Meaning of “realism” in quantum mechanics

When physicists doing work in quantum measurement, decoherence, Bells' inequalities etc. use the term "realism" what exactly do they mean? I'm looking for answers targeted towards, say, someone whose ...
4
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1answer
210 views

Moving the endpoints of a wormhole towards each other

Suppose we have a perfectly safe portal/wormhole and we place the two endpoints facing each other so that a person between them would see an endless corridor (with infinite number of herself). What ...
10
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5answers
11k 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 ...
87
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9answers
10k views

How fast does gravity propagate?

A thought experiment: Imagine the Sun is suddenly removed. We wouldn't notice a difference for 8 minutes, because that's how long light takes to get from the Sun's surface to Earth. However, what ...
4
votes
2answers
183 views

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

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 ...
82
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8answers
10k views

Why does space expansion not expand matter?

I have looked at other questions on this site (e.g. "why does space expansion affect matter") but can't find the answer I am looking for. So here is my question: One often hears talk of space ...
4
votes
1answer
287 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

If my windows are open on a windy day, the curtains sway and the doors slam shut. Why don't I feel this wind?

I am standing indoors, right in front of my open window, as I see my curtains moving back and forth and I can hear my closed doors shaking. I can also hear the wind howling loudly. Why don't I feel ...
3
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2answers
51 views

Where is the space elevator falling? And the cable holding it?

I guess the concept of a space elevator is pretty well known. The idea, first published by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895, and popularized (among others) by Arthur C. Clarke in The Fountains of ...
11
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3answers
505 views

Does MOND make good predictions?

Well, it does according to this preprint for certain scales. What would be a simple way to explain MOND to a layman? Does it ignore mainstream physics? How much?
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0answers
23 views

Warping of space time by objects

Note: This question may seem very silly, because I have never formally studied the physics I'm about to ask about at all, all the knowledge I have is from watching videos on YouTube out of interest or ...
0
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1answer
71 views

How do individual masses 'add up' to create a gravitational field?

The combined mass of the Earth is responsible for its local gravitational force. However, this combined mass is made up from of lots and lots (and lots) of atoms, each with their own individual mass ...
3
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0answers
57 views

Red shift and expansion of universe [duplicate]

We have been led to believe that in the theory of universe expansion, the farthest object is moving faster away from us than the nearest object, attributing the difference to red shift. Question: is ...
4
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4answers
123 views

Is the Air Blue? [duplicate]

Randall Monroe, a credible source in my opinion, says that the sky is blue because the air is: Normal light interacts with the atmosphere through Rayleigh scattering. You may have heard of ...
3
votes
1answer
43 views

In the Holometer experiment, why would one of the split laser beams arriving back at a slightly different time indicate the universe was quantized?

All the pop-sci articles I've read have a description of the set-up similar to this: It uses a pair of laser interferometers placed close to one another, each sending a one-kilowatt beam of light ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Why does a glass breaks when subject to very sharp sound like in opera?

I have seen in Ripleys believe it or not that an opera singer generates a very high frequency of sound and breaks a glass window.How do they do it?
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0answers
19 views

Why is a rainbow in the sky always an arch? [duplicate]

It's been raining a lot lately in the bay area of California (thankfully! keep it coming rain gods!) which puts me and my dad in a contemplative mood. The rain has given us something to contemplate: ...
1
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0answers
20 views

How to introduce symmetry of particles to a layperson? [closed]

I want to introduce the concept of special unitary symmetry and how it is important in particle physics to a layperson. Without being technical, is there a way to explain the fundamental concept?
486
votes
19answers
183k views

Cooling a cup of coffee with help of a spoon

During the breakfast with my colleagues, a question popped into my head: What is the fastest method to cool a cup of coffee, if your only available instrument is a spoon? A qualitative answer would ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Is the electron of carbon identical to that of hydrogen? How to prove it? [duplicate]

I am still confused with whether, for example, the electron of carbon is exactly identical to that of hydrogen. How can the scientist confirm this?
11
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2answers
1k 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 ...
22
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5answers
6k views

Does a car consume more fuel when it's raining?

Yesterday my wife asked me that question, and I couldn't answer. Consider a car, in a sunny day, and that is consumes x gallons per mile. Considering that everything is equal, except that it's ...
2
votes
2answers
85 views

Would a person in a gravity well observe the sky as rapidly moving due to time shift?

Inspired by the movie Interstellar (2014) - I was wondering about the crew on the surface of the planet which was deep in the gravity field of the black hole (Gargantua) - if they would look up at the ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

are GPS points versus an area?

I have a $\text{i2c}$ GPS module I got working yesterday, and here are my co-ordinates. Latitude: 44.901354999999995 Longitude: -68.97112333333333 What I am having trouble figuring out is that ...
4
votes
4answers
219 views

What is the way to prevent the cream from settling on the surface of hot milk with least manual labour?

I have seen Cooling a cup of coffee with help of a spoon but that question has a restriction of using only a spoon. My problem is that I have to boil the milk before pouring it in the bottle for the ...
7
votes
3answers
629 views

Why (in relatively non-technical terms) are Calabi-Yau manifolds favored for compactified dimensions in string theory?

I was hoping for an answer in general terms avoiding things like holonomy, Chern classes, Kahler manifolds, fibre bundles and terms of similar ilk. Simply, what are the compelling reasons for ...
26
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4answers
6k views

Is space “real”, or is it some sort of accepted postulate?

What is space? It seems to be everywhere in the equations of physics, as some sort of postulate or hidden hypothesis. We also have a direct experience of it, but is it "real"? The fact that we ...
19
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1answer
4k views

Physics behind this neutrino-related joke

In the comment section of a newspaper article reporting on the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics, which was awarded for work on neutrino oscillation, I found the following joke: "I'm sorry, we do not ...
5
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2answers
494 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 ...
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0answers
92 views

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

A physics professor talked in the YouTube video Cosmological Constant & The End of the Universe - Sixty Symbols about a paper he and his colleagues published. The paper presents a model that ties ...
5
votes
1answer
270 views

Is a singularity a real thing?

I've heard the work a few times now, the most recent in the star trek film. Is a singularity a real thing? If so what is it?
-3
votes
2answers
124 views

Why is there uncertainty in physics? [closed]

In physics, why do we come up with a theory that is unable to explain what is actually going in a phenomenon? Just we are creating a theory which explains the results and satisfies the data, does ...
0
votes
1answer
134 views

Would a pipe from the surface to the Earth's exosphere suck all atmosphere to the space? [closed]

If I built a tube from Earth's surface to the exosphere, would all the air be sucked out to space? If this pipe reached to a big planet, like Jupiter, would its gravity through the pipe suck our ...
4
votes
1answer
949 views

Negative Energy and Wormholes

Apparently to create wormholes you need negative energy/matter. Say you had negative matter/energy, how would it be applied towards making a wormhole?
5
votes
3answers
822 views

Big bang and time

I heard Carl Sagan talking about the Universe 15 Billion years ago, and the Big Bang. He made the statement that it was the biggest explosion of all time (at first I thought this a subtle pun). This ...
81
votes
7answers
10k views

Why is there a scarcity of lithium?

One of the major impediments to the widespread adoption of electric cars is a shortage of lithium for the batteries. I read an article a while back that says that there is simply not enough lithium ...
1
vote
3answers
221 views

How is this possible that photons are absorbed?

From the lessons on QM, I got impression that there are some discrete orbitals that emit light when electron drops from one to another. Specific molecules emit light in very narrow bands, therefore. ...
2
votes
1answer
274 views

How does a tightrope walker return to equilibrium?

I do not understand how tightrope walkers return themselves to equilibrium. I am not concerned with the direction along the rope or wire where their base can be large, and they are able to move ...
0
votes
0answers
82 views

Is this a good explanation of electron mobility to the layman?

I'm writing an informative paper on graphene for my writing class (layman-oriented), and was describing electron mobility in very simplified terms. Let me know if anything is mistaken, badly ...
1
vote
2answers
978 views

If time stops for an object, does that object feel gravity?

As far as I understand The GTR, it is said that Mass bends space-time which causes gravity. So every Mass in this universe is flowing through space-time example earth is moving along with space-time ...
2
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2answers
345 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 ...
14
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9answers
10k views

Is there a proof of existence of time?

It seems to me that there is no such thing as time. There is only movement in the universe and we compare our own movement to a different object to have a sense of time. It can be a clock or a atomic ...