Questions that ask about some aspect of physics research or study which doesn't involve the actual physics. In general, soft questions can be answered without using physical reasoning.

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8
votes
5answers
224 views

How to communicate institutional knowledge in a big physics collaboration?

I am a graduate student in a large experimental physics collaboration. Newcomers to the collaboration invariably complain about excessive use of jargon and insufficient documentation as barriers to ...
13
votes
5answers
707 views

Online physics collaboration tools

I.e. online discussion with your friends. A forum is probably too overkill in this case. Yet so far nothing can beat direct communication. Important feature: the ability to archive discussions. We ...
7
votes
2answers
231 views

How to find 'good' literature on a phenomenon?

With this being a potentially subjective question I know I'm threading on thin ice, but this is an actual "physics" problem I face from time to time: The situation is this: I hear about some ...
-3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to validate a new physics theory and keep the credit for it [closed]

For the last few years, My friend worked on figuring out the "theory of everything". She is afraid of sharing her theory with well known physicists, because she doesn't want other people to take ...
1
vote
3answers
572 views

Where can I find pirated copies of journals? [closed]

As you all know, journal subscriptions are extremely expensive, and many colleges and libraries don't subscribe to them. Many important articles aren't available on the preprint server arxiv. My ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

List of physics paradoxes [closed]

What are some important examples of paradoxes in physics which are still currently unresolved?
8
votes
5answers
689 views

How would I go about detecting monopoles?

A question needed for a "solid" sci-fi author: How to detect a strong magnetic monopole? (yes, I know no such thing is to be found on Earth). Think of basic construction details, principles of ...
6
votes
4answers
544 views

Going Beyond Introductory Physics [closed]

Due to certain reasons, I don't have the chance for going to college for under-graduation, but that doesn't mean I can't choose to walk the hard path and learn. Over the past month or so a lot of ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Is it possible to work on physics independently outside academia?

The traditional physics career is an academic job at some university, with the eventual goal of becoming a tenured professor. Is it possible for a mostly self-educated outsider working outside ...
2
votes
0answers
230 views

Is there any reason to major in physics if you're certain you will never do a Ph.D? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What sort of jobs do physics graduates with B.Sc/M.Sc get? I've been told over and over again..."I would not major in physics unless you are looking to get a Ph.D." What ...
7
votes
0answers
539 views

Julian Schwinger videos, is there any? [closed]

I googled in vain and found nothing. I am surprised. Maybe somebody knows about videos of Julian Schwinger available on Internet?
4
votes
4answers
751 views

Is it possible to restart formal higher education in physics at a later age? [closed]

I would begin by apologizing for a soft question. Reading the FAQ, I have tried to formulate my question precisely in the last paragraph and you may skip the following paragraph where I make ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it Possible to Determine Radiation Levels Using Satelites?

Given recent events in Japan, this got me wondering. Is it possible to determine radiation levels reliably not having Geiger counters near the possible radiation contaminated zone? According to ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Uses of the 'Golden Ratio' in Physics

What are some physics applications of the golden ratio? $$\varphi~=~ \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2}~\approx~ 1.6180339887\ldots$$ Does it ever function specifically as a constant in any formulas or theorems? ...
4
votes
6answers
3k views

Are Zeppelins still not feasible?

As far as i know Zeppelins were abandoned because they were not safe, back in time. Is it still the case in 2011 though? In my opinion it is more economical to operate a Zeppelin than a plane and they ...
1
vote
3answers
567 views

What are the modern marvels in Physics that seem crazy but true? [closed]

What are the modern marvels in Physics which are crazy but true? Ideas which are ridiculed and dismissed in the beginning but passed the test of time?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How to write units?

In a scientific article, should I write "3m", "3 m", "3 meters", or "3 [meters]" ?
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What sort of jobs do physics graduates with B.Sc/M.Sc get? [closed]

I've been told that in countries like Israel the truth of the matter is that the only available work for B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics/math is only to be high school teacher. To do serious stuff you need to ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Knotted token-ring network

Suppose we have a rigid token-ring network. An observer at any node can seemingly determine the angular momentum of the network by measuring the time it takes for a packet to travel around the ring ...
1
vote
2answers
334 views

What happens to internal energy in high-density materials?

Normal-density materials have internal energy, which is the sum of the average energies associated to each of the degrees of freedom. Degrees of freedom can be described as vibrational, translational, ...
0
votes
3answers
476 views

Should physicists abandon Popperian falsification criterion? [closed]

Many of the most brilliant ideas of modern physics are very much unpopperian. In view of this, it has become more and more difficult to hold an orthodox Popperian attitude in physics. It simply looks ...
4
votes
5answers
878 views

Laws and theories

What is a physical law, a theory, and what is the relationship among them? I know this is a very basic question, so any reference to epistemology will be greatly appreciated :)
17
votes
6answers
3k views

Where should a physicist go to learn chemistry?

I took an introductory chemistry course long ago, but the rules seemed arbitrary, and I've forgotten most of what I learned. Now that I have an undergraduate education in physics, I should be able to ...
27
votes
15answers
8k views

Comprehensive book on group theory for physicists?

I am looking for a good source on group theory aimed at physicists. I'd prefer one with a good general introduction to group theory, not just focusing on Lie groups or crystal groups but one that ...
21
votes
8answers
4k views

Starting a physics Ph.D. at 60?

Decades ago I was in a physics Ph.D. program, made a hash of things, and quite rightly was dropped from the program. Since then I've had a very satisfying career as a computer programmer, and picked ...
10
votes
10answers
3k views

Physics for mathematicians

How and from where does a mathematician learn physics from a mathematical stand point? I am reading the book by Spivak Elementary Mechanics from a mathematicians view point. The first couple of pages ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

What percentage of physics PhDs leave physics? [closed]

What percentage of physics PhDs leave physics to become quantitative analysts, work in computer science/information technology or business? Is physics that bad that so many people leave? Was it worth ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

Publication Authorship Credits

Many physics papers now have dozens of authors per paper. Experimental physics may have multi-organizational and multi-country contributing staffs, but I'd guess that most of the names don't ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Are collaborations needed to be productive in physics?

If you look at most published articles, or those on the preprint server, you find the vast majority of articles have more than one authors. Are collaborations needed to be productive in physics? In ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

How does one build up intuition in physics? [closed]

How does one build up an intuitive gut feeling for physics that some people naturally have? Physics seems to be a hodgepodge of random facts. Is that a sign to quit physics and take up something ...
3
votes
3answers
428 views

Do senior physicists actually conduct research? [closed]

Senior physicists constantly complain they spend too much time on administration, teaching, getting grants, serving in committees, peer-reviewing articles, supervising, etc. . Do senior physicists ...
3
votes
1answer
399 views

The full entropy quote

What is the full text (and possibly the source) of the summary of the 3 laws of thermodynamics that goes something along the lines of "Can't break even, can't win and can't even stop playing the ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a nice tool to plot graphs of paper citations? [closed]

I would like a tool which allows me to enter some paper citation, and then will begin drawing a graph, where each paper is linked to other papers that cite the original paper or are cited by it. It ...
17
votes
7answers
8k views

How to learn physics effectively and efficiently [closed]

How do you effectively study physics? How does one read a physics book instead or just staring at it for hours? (Apologies in advance if the question is ill-posed or too subjective in its current ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

What does it take to become a top physicist? [closed]

What does it take to become a top physicist? Why do so many extremely talented young upstarts totally flop as they move to more advanced physics?
5
votes
5answers
372 views

Making and keeping a reading list

Seeing this as an academic community, I hope this question is on-topic. Academia is still a long way from beta :( I have a few questions about reading journal ...
5
votes
8answers
738 views

Example of a time varying function which can be easily measured

My sister is in 10th grade. She doesn't seem to understand the concept of time varying functions (current, light, sound wave forms etc). I explained her in easiest possible terms. She got it but not ...
4
votes
7answers
854 views

Most techologically applicable physics research area

Lets say you're an undergrad physics student with a lot of "sense" for technology and limited theoretical abilities. Now you need some kind of a career advice about the specific field of physics to ...
12
votes
17answers
3k views

Can pure maths create new theories in physics or does the “idea” ALWAYS come before the math?

I am in a debate with a friend about the value of string theory in physics. He is concerned that we are wasting valuable intellectual and financial resources on a path that is fanciful and can't ever ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do physicists believe that there exist magnetic monopoles?

One thing I've heard stated many times is that "most" or "many" physicists believe that, despite the fact that they have not been observed, there are such things as magnetic monopoles. However, I've ...
6
votes
9answers
3k views

What are the most important discoveries/breakthroughs in physics recently?

Can you provide a list of the most important discoveries/breakthroughs in physics recently? By recent, I mean the past decade or so. All branches of physics are welcome. Basically, I am interested in ...
9
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the most important papers in physics? [closed]

Recently I got the book "On the Shoulders of Giant" from Stephen Hawkings. It consists of more than 1000 pages of classical publications in physics. However 900 pages are given to the work of ...
1
vote
2answers
179 views

Submitting an article to another journal [closed]

Not long ago I submitted an article to PRE. One referee was in favor and two against (this not more than 3 months ago). Rather than pressing, I decided to submit it elsewhere. A single referee report ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Studying electrodynamics problems

Suppose an advanced undergraduate student has reached a moderate level of understanding on electrodynamics. Where should he focus on, to sharpen his problem-solving skills? Practicing integrals ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Are we living in a false vacuum? Is there any way to tell?

I was thinking of the noted 1980 paper by Sidney Coleman and Frank de Luccia--"Gravitational effects of and on vacuum decay"-- about metastable vacuum states that could tunnel to a lower energy "true ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Why beauty is a good guide in physics? [closed]

Dirac once said that he was mainly guided by mathematical beauty more than anything else in his discovery of the famous Dirac equation. Most of the deepest equations of physics are also the most ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Do Category Theory and/or Quantum Logic add value in physics?

I know they have their adherents, but do more or less esoteric branches of mathematics such as Category Theory and/or Quantum Logic provide powerful tools for new theory development or are they just ...
2
votes
3answers
919 views

What is the definition of physically meaningful?

I asked a question recently where I wanted to know whether it was physically meaningful to talk about the arrow of time in other universes. Although many people apparently have an intuitive notion of ...
31
votes
24answers
3k views

Your favorite Physics/Astrophysics blogs? [closed]

What are the Physics/Astrophysics blogs you regularly read? I'm looking to beef up my RSS feeds to catch up with during my long commutes. I'd like to discover lesser-known gems (e.g. not well known ...
1
vote
2answers
489 views

Is there an explicit angular momentum in Maxwell equations?

Electromagnetism implies special relativity and then the universal constant "c". And if we set c=1, the coupling constant has units of angular momentum (so in relativistic quantum mechanics we divide ...