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8
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2answers
2k views

Why are smaller animals stronger than larger ones, when considered relative to their body weight?

I am interested in why many small animals such as ants can lift many times their own weight, yet we don't see any large animals capable of such a feat. It has been suggested to me that this is due to ...
13
votes
3answers
6k views

Google interview riddle and scaling arguments

I am puzzled by a riddle to which I have been told the answer and I have loads of difficulties to believe in the result. The riddle goes as follows: "imagine you are shrunk to the size of a coin ...
2
votes
2answers
882 views

Characteristic length, characteristic time and complexity of the process

Different physical processed (starting from elementary particles or even below to the universe itself) have different length scales $L$ and different characteristic times $T$. Larger processed tend to ...
9
votes
4answers
545 views

Are we big or small?

How does the size of humans compare to the size of other objects in the universe? Are we among the relatively large or the relatively small things? My very preliminary research suggests that the ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How can an an ant lift 50 times its own weight and pull 30 times its weight?

According to many sites like this one, an ant can apparently lift 50 times its own weight and pull 30 times its weight. Is it true? Can it be proved using physics? Though most sites agree that an ...
3
votes
1answer
350 views

Using Wien's Law to show spectral distruibution function of one temperature represents all temperatures

This is a exercise question from Quantum Mechanic textbook by Bransden: Using Wien's Law to show that if the spectral distribution function of black body radiation, $\rho(\lambda,T)$ is known at ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Order of magnitude estimation for some intriguing questions

The physics TA showed us a few examples in which one can estimate many things from first principles and sound logic based and scaling arguments. This led usually to understanding of why some numbers ...
1
vote
2answers
147 views

Amount of material required for a pressure tank

I read the answer for the question Why is a hot air balloon “stiff”? and thought something sounded ridiculous. My engineering requirement is that the walls be strong enough. Here $T$ will be the ...