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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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
196 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
431 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
402 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
5k 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
378 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
746 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
902 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
180 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 ...
12
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
947 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
493 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Misused physics analogies [closed]

Have you noticed that many questions and misconceptions in physics arise due to misuse of analogies, which were invented to "explain in simple words" some physical phenomena? For example there is a ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the statistical likelihood of getting a job as a theoretical physicist? [closed]

I'm considering taking a hobby (taking math and physics classes, reading attempting to read arXiv papers) and turning it into a career change. However, I have 3 kids and a wife who doesn't make a lot ...
1
vote
4answers
264 views

How to correctly show units with a vector

Supposed I have an position vector $$\vec{r}=\begin{pmatrix} 10.0 & -30.0 & 25.0\end{pmatrix}$$ expressed in $\mathrm{millimeters}$. What is the correct notation to display $\vec{r}$ ...
0
votes
5answers
11k views

Are all theoretical physicists like Sheldon Cooper? [closed]

I know a lot about Theoretical Physicists from Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory. I know about parallel universes (and I wonder if one codingtales in one of the parallel universes believes if parallel ...
8
votes
7answers
313 views

Are the results from models considered “data”?

At the AGU, I presented a poster on vocabulary for discussing data systems, and someone left a note at my poster stating: You have a bias here towards observational data. Need to recognize that a ...
2
votes
2answers
574 views

Physics of a fixed wheel moving on a flat surface held at distance from a center point

Ok, so my boss is trying to make a car turntable. In essence, he has a two boards that sit atop a rotating ring. He wants to put two wheels at the end of each board (8 wheels total). He thinks that ...
5
votes
4answers
165 views

Where can we find information of International Physics/Astrophysics conferences?

Where do you check and put them usually? Let's make a wiki ~
11
votes
6answers
722 views

What is an effective way to search for post-doc positions in physics?

I am a graduate student in experimental physics, currently writing up my dissertation and beginning to apply to post-doc positions. While it is very easy to find out about open positions in my ...
13
votes
10answers
4k views

Theoretical Physics - How to?

Although I doubt somewhat whether this question is really appropriate for this site, I hope it gets answered anyways. I guess, what I'm wondering is: How does one get to work as a theoretical ...
13
votes
3answers
296 views

Can a web community write papers? [closed]

the internet has changed science drastically. Not only in terms of distributing knowledge e.g. via online encyclopedias as wikipedia and freely available sources of publications as arXiv but also as a ...
3
votes
10answers
5k views

Why is Physics so hard? [closed]

I'm in a classical mechanics class now. On our exams, most questions are quantitative. And in general, besides the theory part, all physics problems just require you to gather formulas, manipulate ...
13
votes
2answers
322 views

Searching books and papers with equations

Sometimes I may come up with an equation in mind, so I want to search for the related material. It may be the case that I learn it before but forget the name, or, there is no name for the equation ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Best example of energy-entropy competition? [closed]

What are the best examples in practical life of an energy-entropy competition which favors entropy over energy? My initial thought is a clogged drain -- too unlikely for the hair/spaghetti to align ...
3
votes
1answer
563 views

Introductions to discrete space-time

It's comparatively easy (cum grano salis) to grasp the following concepts: Euclidean space-time (continous space and continuous time) classical mechanics (discretely distributed matter in continous ...
21
votes
11answers
4k views

Books that develop interest & critical thinking among high school students

I heard about Yakov Perelman and his books. I just finished reading his two volumes of Physics for Entertainment. What a delightful read! What a splendid author. This is the exact book I've been ...
24
votes
14answers
3k views

Learning physics online?

I'm thinking of following some kind of education in physics online. I have a master degree in Computer Science and have reasonable good knowledge in physics. I would like a program of 1-2 years and ...
25
votes
8answers
7k views

How should a physics student study mathematics? [closed]

Note: I will expand this question with more specific points when I have my own internet connection and more time (we're moving in, so I'm at a friend's house). This question is broad, involved, and ...