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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6
votes
0answers
51 views

What is the importance of studying degeneration on $M_g$

Let $M_g$ be the moduli space of smooth curves of genus $g$. Let $\overline{M_g}$ be its compactification; the moduli space of stable curves of genus $g$. It seems to be important in physics to study ...
9
votes
5answers
440 views

Where do theta functions and canonical Green functions appear in physics

In the beginning of Section 5 in his article, Wentworth mentions a result of Bost and proves it using the spin-1 bosonization formula. This result provides a link between theta functions, canonical ...
0
votes
2answers
521 views

Inertial and non inertial frames of references

I've heard from a physics professor that there's no stationary platform to observe and analyze a body in motion.Why did he mention that? Is it because even seemingly stationary objects like a parked ...
16
votes
7answers
12k views

What does it take to understand Maxwell's equations?

Assume I want to learn math and physics enough to reach a level where I understand Maxwell's equations (The terms and reasoning in the equations I.e. why they "work"). What would I have to learn in ...
4
votes
1answer
27 views

What demonstrations for a five-hour optical and radio astronomy workshop? [closed]

I volunteer at a group that has restored the oldest German radio telescope. We are now at a point where we want to invite interested amateur astronomers and school children to workshops. I'm currently ...
2
votes
4answers
476 views

Laws of Atomic Theory - how is this possible? [duplicate]

Not sure if this is the right place to post, but how is it possible to have laws of a theory? A theory is not able to be a law, since it's just an explanation that can always be disproven. So how is ...
7
votes
1answer
736 views

The bar tender says we don't serve Tachyons around here?

What's the physics behind this joke?
2
votes
1answer
186 views

Probablistic problems in physics?

So I have an opportunity to do math research with a probabilist. I would like to propose to him a project that relates to physics, as it would be a good way to learn about another field. What are some ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

What do theoretical physicists need from computer scientists?

I recently co-authored a paper (not online yet unfortunately) with some chemists that essentially provided answers to the question, "What do chemists need from computer scientists?" This included the ...
21
votes
2answers
398 views

Post-doc advice for a low publication grad student

As a grad student, I have a single publication, a conference proceeding, to my name. So, my question is what do I need to do to obtain a post-doc position? Obviously, my references are going to be ...
3
votes
1answer
727 views

Are the collected papers of A. Einstein, entirely translated into English?

I need some Einstein's papers translated into English. There is one complete collection of his papers but only a few of them have been translated in English. The rest are in their original language -- ...
2
votes
3answers
29k views

Uses of vectors in real life [closed]

I always wonder how vectors are used in real life.Vectors and decomposition of vectors,dot and cross products are taught in the early stage in every undergraduate physics course and in every ...
0
votes
0answers
67 views

How to calculate 2D soft-body Physics [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 2d soft body physics mathematics The definition of rigid body in Box2d is A chunk of matter that is so strong that the distance between any two bits of matter on ...
5
votes
4answers
608 views

Why isn't V. A. Fabricant given the credit for the discovery of the laser?

In another question here I asked for help in finding old Russian papers in physics and as an example I gave the founding papers on the laser by Basov and Prokhorov (from 1945 and 1954). In an answer @...
11
votes
2answers
526 views

Old Russian Physics Papers?

Where can one find old Russian scientific papers in physics, say, in the Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences or Zhurnal Eksperimentalnoy i Teoreticheskoy Fiziki? Can they be found online ...
5
votes
1answer
478 views

How and why will the Milky way collide with the Andromeda?

Hubble's law says that the universe is expanding.How come the milky way and the andromeda are on a collision course?How will they end up colliding with each other?
3
votes
3answers
197 views

What widely recognized organizations set standards used by physics?

I recently answered a question about the meaning of the word "dimension" as used in physics. In that response, I provided the definition given in the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM) and ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Natural phenomenon which inspired science? [closed]

I'm looking for a list of natural phenomenon which inspired science and technology like how bat inspired the radar concept....Any idea ? Thx for helping, Stephane
2
votes
0answers
221 views

false false beliefs in physics [closed]

Reading Common false beliefs in Physics I feel that there are also "fake false beliefs", ie, that the "false belief" does not actually exists, it is a rhetorical argument or just a basis for ...
30
votes
8answers
30k views

What are the prerequisites to studying general relativity? [closed]

This question recently appeared on Slashdot: Slashdot posts a fair number of physics stories. Many of us, myself included, don't have the background to understand them. So I'd like to ask the ...
4
votes
3answers
523 views

“Seeing” the solution

I often hear people say that so-and-so [some famous physicist] can see the solution without calculation. What exactly does this mean? Is it an intuition? But how does one have intuition when it comes ...
3
votes
2answers
915 views

References for real life applications on advanced EM

For EM (freshman level physics) and advanced EM (Junior/Senior level) to help students appreciate the material, I am looking for books/websites that contain: 1-applications of electricity and ...
6
votes
2answers
955 views

Prerequisites to start the study of noncommutative geometry in physics

What are prerequisites (in mathematics and physics), that one should know about for getting into use of ideas from noncommutative geometry in physics?
2
votes
1answer
83 views

What interpretive difference is there between defining a function with or without a differential as a postfactor?

I have thought about this and looked for answers for a long time now, but I do not have any name or label for this problem, which is the reason for the long title of this question. I have come across ...
2
votes
6answers
80 views

Amateur Stargazing (30 degrees N)

When I look at the sky I easily recognize Orion, The Big Dipper, and the North Star (in relation to the Big Dipper). Besides these (and the moon^^), what easily identifiable (unaided eye) astronomical ...
5
votes
7answers
413 views

Embrace Physics

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is a good topic for a short talk on theoretical physics to a bunch of Math and Physics undergrads that might make them "embrace" theoretical physics? Thanks....
4
votes
7answers
1k views

Physics Equations for Grad School / Physics GRE Prep

Motivation for asking question: I am planning to take the GRE subject test for Physics. Question: Can somebody please tell me what are the most important equations I should definitely know and ...
13
votes
11answers
8k views

Books that every layman should read [closed]

To add to Books that every physicist should read: A list of popular physics books for people who aren't necessarily interested in technical physics. (see also Book recommendations)
4
votes
2answers
516 views

How to calculate the highest theoretical artificial hill?

The biggest peak in the world is Mount Everest. Imagine someone starting to make an artificial hill (like pyramide) from soil (earth). So, when starting with an 200x200 Km base area, with 45degree ...
0
votes
2answers
313 views

Next crescent moon?

How do I find the date of next crescent moon on Wolframalpha or any other site which tells the appearance date time of next crescent on a specific location? I am searching for it to look for 1st of ...
2
votes
1answer
212 views

Did classical applications of density functional theory precede its use as an electronic structure method?

Density Functional Theory (DFT) is usually considered an electronic structure method, however a paper by Argaman and Makov highlights the applicability of the DFT formalism to classical systems, such ...
0
votes
1answer
138 views

Possible career paths [closed]

I currently hold a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Minor in Physics. As far as that goes, I've taken courses in the basic things (University Physics 1 and 2), Thermodynamics, Circuitry and Modern ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

How useful is programming in physics? [closed]

I have been wondering recently how useful programming is to a physicist. It seems fairly useful (simulations are a lot cheaper than the actual thing in many cases) in some areas (say space programs), ...
5
votes
2answers
110 views

Which citizen-science astrophysics and astronomy projects currently exist?

Most of you probably know of Galaxy Zoo, a citizen-science project to classify galaxies with help of untrained hobby-researchers. In mathematics, the Polymath Project is well known for its success. ...
8
votes
2answers
270 views

Funding opportunities for an independent researcher

In one of my questions I asked about the career paths to become a professional astronomer. Now let's consider the next logical step. What if a person has gained his/her PhD in Astronomy and had an ...
4
votes
4answers
470 views

'Getting in' to research physics?

I'm going to be choosing a university course soon, and I want to go into a branch of physics. A dream job for me would be to work in research, however, I do realise that this isn't for everyone and is ...
9
votes
1answer
372 views

Has a human ever perished in space?

Apollo 13 returned safely. The Challenger was leaving when it exploded. The Columbia was coming back when it burned up, as was that Russian guy who was profiled on National Public Radio (NPR) and that ...
0
votes
2answers
304 views

Physics Equivalent of Physical Chemistry (P-Chem) [closed]

Before I take P-Chem I would like to understand how physicists view the same material. What Physics course(s) should I take and/or books should I read to learn the same material from a physicist's ...
7
votes
3answers
105 views

Do days and months on the Moon have names?

On Earth we have various calendars, for example, Days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc., etc. Months: January, February, March Does the Moon have names for its "daily" rotations, etc.? It sounds ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

Advice sought on choosing a camera for a Meade LX10

I have a Meade LX10 and have never done any astrophotography (except with some computerised SBIG ST9s on my university's LX200s). I would like to get started at home, but could do with some advice on ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

Study of exoplanets reaching saturation point [closed]

In recent exoplanet meeting The Next 40 Years of Exoplanets, it was mentioned a few times that the field/topic is becoming saturated. In what ways is it becoming saturated, and can you see the effect ...
0
votes
2answers
384 views

How is an arbitrary operator usually denoted in quantum mechanics?

Which symbols are usually used to denote an arbitrary operator in quantum mechanics, such as O in the following example? $O \mbox{ is Hermitian} \Leftrightarrow \Im{\left< O \right>} = 0$
8
votes
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
votes
2answers
56 views

Where to find Lunar Eclipse data

I am wondering whether there's a good resource to find data about upcoming Lunar Eclipses. For example, showing the percentage of the eclipse over time. Such as: 17:23 GMT - 0%, 17:40 GMT - 10%, etc.
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How to convert a FITS file to .xls Excel file?

We are trying to determine the isophots in elliptical galaxies in order to check De-Vaucouleurs law. To do so, we want to convert the data from a FITS file to Excel and analyze it using Excel math ...
8
votes
10answers
205 views

Are there websites or programmes that permit a simulation of the night sky in the past and the future on an ordinary computer?

Are there websites or programs that permit a simulation of the night sky in the past and the future on an ordinary computer? (For the past, I would be content with objects visible to the naked eye.)
24
votes
3answers
5k views

How to determine what size telescope to buy

A couple of years ago my son showed an interest in astronomy and we bought a 6" reflector telescope. We use it pretty regularly and have enjoyed it immensely. Lately we've both been wishing we had ...
7
votes
2answers
18k views

How much force is in a keystroke? (estimated, of course)?

I'm a software developer, and I need to calculate the estimated amount of force expended typing stored text. Preferrably in some interesting way. (i.e. the force exerted on keys thus far is enough to ...
11
votes
2answers
130 views

Who should I contact if I see an unknown object in the sky?

Who should I contact if I see an unknown object in the sky? Should I contact the nearest observatory? Or is there some official place run by, say, NASA or ESA that take in observations in their ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Recommended progression with which to learn physics for fun

I enjoy reading up on new topics in physics and astronomy, and learning the concepts and ideas in the major theories, like relativity and quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, one thing that I lack ...