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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16
votes
5answers
818 views

Does a magnetically suspended frog feel weightless?

Magnetic levitation has been used to suspend frogs in midair. I was wondering: Does the animal still feel gravitational pull? I mean: Does the frog feel like an astronaut on the ISS, or does he feel ...
2
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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
3answers
563 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?
2
votes
1answer
92 views

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

Laymen 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
542 views

How do Zener diodes maintain the potential across their terminals?

My physics book has a topic about Zener diodes being used as voltage regulators in the reverse bias. Well, I'm curious to know how does a Zener diode maintain the potential across its terminals after ...
12
votes
11answers
5k views

Does 'electricity' have mass? Is 'electricity' tangible?

Background: I'm in a legal academic discussion about the status of electronic 'goods' and whether they qualify as 'goods' in the same way a chair and a pen do. In this context (and specifically at the ...
1
vote
3answers
302 views

Can a wave be two dimensional?

I am having a hard time picturing waves, the image that comes to mind is a bobbing device submerged in still water which generates pulses in all directions (similarly in air). Then how can a wave be ...
0
votes
1answer
35 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
65 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 ...
324
votes
19answers
122k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
173 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
67 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?
19
votes
4answers
1k views

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

sorry for this very naive (layman) question. What is space? It seems to be every where in the equations of physics (as some sort of postulate or hidden hypothesis). We also have a direct experience ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

How does the Higgs mechanism work?

I'm not a particle physicist, but I did manage to get through the Feynman lectures without getting too lost. Is there a way to explain how the Higgs field works, in a way that people like me might ...
-2
votes
1answer
46 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
71 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
181 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
80 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
150 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
115 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What is our location relative to the Big Bang?

Given what we know about space, time and the movement of galaxies, have we or can we determine what our position is in relation to the projected location of the Big Bang? I've read some introductory ...
5
votes
1answer
83 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

How can something happen when time does not exist?

I saw this documentary hosted by Stephen Hawkins. And if I didn't get it wrong, it says that there was no time before the big bang, time was created there. So how can anything happen when there is ...
5
votes
2answers
465 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
251 views

Antimatter Propulsion System

Is there a possibility ( in theory ) to build a antimatter propulsion system, if so how can we control the collision of matter-anitmatter, will humans be able to control this force just like ...
4
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Please recommend a good book about physics for young child (elementary school aged) [closed]

I'm looking for a book that would be appropriate for an advanced elementary school aged kids (say, 6-11 YO) describing the basics of physics (or sciences in general) in entertaining way. The ...
3
votes
4answers
708 views

Scientist propose solution to quantum measurement problem, explain further

Link to Article The scientists In their recent opus magnum, Theo Nieuwenhuizen (Institute of Physics, UvA) and colleagues claim to have found a solution to the so-called quantum measurement ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

If I move a long solid stick can I send message fastest than light? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light? I mean by using a perfect solid stick long enough and moving it forward and backward can I send ...
6
votes
1answer
143 views

Is there a non-technical way to understand why proving confinement is difficult?

As far as I understand, the basic reason why we are not able to solve QCD at low energies is because it is a strongly coupled quantum field theory, and a part from exceptional situations in simplified ...
3
votes
4answers
496 views

How do GPS devices work?

I have GPS in my phone but I have only a very rough idea of how it works. I have checked the Wikipedia article but that gone over my head (I can not understand that maths and other strange stuff ...
19
votes
8answers
1k views

Why is there a size limitation on animals?

Why is there a size limitation on human/animal growth? Assuming the technology exists for man to grow to 200 feet high, it's pretty much a given that the stress on the skeletal structure and joints ...
-1
votes
1answer
119 views

Why is the Big Bang the biggest explosion in the universe?

What makes the big bang the biggest explosion in the universe? Why even should such an explosion ever happens? Through what process and how does this amount of energy get released as a big bang? Are ...
0
votes
3answers
660 views

If subatomic particles pop into existence all the time, why don't I gain weight?

Watching Discovery's first episode of the first season of Curiosity (entitled "Did God Create the Universe?" by Stephen Hawking), I heard this information: [...] you enter a world where conjuring ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Did spacetime start with the Big bang?

Did spacetime start with the Big Bang? I mean, was there any presence of this spacetime we are experiencing now before big bang? And could there be a presence/existence of any other space-time before ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What has been proved about the big bang, and what has not?

Ok so the universe is in constant expansion, that has been proven, right? And that means that it was smaller in the past.. But what's the smallest size we can be sure the universe has ever had? I ...
0
votes
1answer
276 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 ...
15
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
325 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
149 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
726 views

Lay explanation of the special theory of relativity? [closed]

What is Einstein's theory of Special relativity, in terms a lay person can follow?
6
votes
3answers
401 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 ...
-5
votes
2answers
603 views
36
votes
7answers
3k views

The speed of gravity?

Sorry for the layman question, but it's not my field. Suppose this thought experiment is performed. Light takes 8 minutes to go from the surface of the Sun to Earth. Imagine the Sun is suddenly ...
4
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
337 views

Particles vs Waves

As I remember long ago, in my physics classes, I always had a great trouble understanding the concept of waves. Our professor used to explain, as if everything in this world is made up of waves. ...
8
votes
2answers
202 views

Why is the summer, in the temperate latitudes, in average, hotter that the spring?

It is common knowledge that the transition from the Spring to the Summer season occurs in the Summer Solstice when the "Sun reaches its highest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the ...
5
votes
1answer
470 views

't Hooft for laypersons

I have looked at some of 't Hooft's recent papers and, unfortunately, they are well beyond my current level of comprehension. The same holds for the discussions that took place on this website. (See, ...