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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7
votes
2answers
369 views

Understanding Cherns-Simons-Witten Theory

I want to read about Wittens work, on Cherns-Simons theory, and relations to knots and jones polynomials. I am extremely motivated to read his paper: Quantum Field Theory and Jones polynomial. What ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What math do I need for mathematical physics? In what manner should I learn math? [closed]

I'm a freshman undergraduate. I've got my sight on mathematical physics. I love math but I don't have the talent nor the inclination for purely abstract mathematics. I also love physics. The only ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Best physics olympiad resources [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations I am looking for good book recommendations at the level of high-school physics. I am having in mind to find out as to what are the typical books ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the best open-access journals in physics?

I would like to support open-access journals by choosing to publish in journals which allow readers free online access. Ideally I would also like to retain copyright instead of signing it over 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
793 views

Mathematical Physics Book Recommendation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Best books for mathematical background? I want to learn contemporary mathematical physics, so that, for example, I can read Witten's latest paper without checking other ...
5
votes
4answers
556 views

Entropy as an arrow of time

From what I understand, entropy is a concept defined by the experimentalist due to his ignorance of the exact microstate of a system. To say the number of accessible microstates $W$ of the universe is ...
8
votes
3answers
350 views

Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics

I was reading Supersymmetry in Quantum Mechanics and got stuck in the various mathematical terminology like "Graded-Lie Algebra", "Super Algebra". Is there any good lecture notes concerning these ...
13
votes
3answers
287 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 ...
12
votes
10answers
1k views

Physics the Why vs. How question?

I've been told that a physicist never asks why and must always ask how. Is this true? Have all discoveries in physics been due to asking how? or have some been discovered by asking why?
4
votes
1answer
210 views

Is there a theory which treats particles as classical point singularities?

Is there a published theory that looks at all matter as occupying no space and only being felt because of its gravitational pull? We've been taught in school that matter has mass and occupies space. ...
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?
1
vote
2answers
415 views

What is a good introductory text to astronomy [closed]

What is a good and easy to read introductory text for an adult with limited basic scientific knowledge to astronomy for someone without a telescope and lives in a big city and why do you think that ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Classical Mechanics for Mathematician [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which Mechanics book is the best for beginner in math major? I am looking for suitable ways to learn mechanics in mathematician's perspective. I went through: ...
10
votes
4answers
485 views

What is an interpretation of quantum mechanics?

In the sense of "Copenhagen Interpretation", what exactly is an interpretation? What purpose does an interpretation serve? Can an interpretation be tested or even be correct or incorrect independent ...
3
votes
3answers
346 views

Would a sea level rise (on the other side of the Earth) if you would dip your finger into the ocean?

(I'm not a physicist & I hope this question isn't too basic/lame) The question says it all & assuming: No atmosphere No Earth rotation Not a single object in the ocean(s) Ignore all other ...
3
votes
1answer
676 views

Need for a side book for E.Soper`s Classical Theory Of Fields.

I am reading now E Soper Classical Theory Of Fields now and sometimes it is very hard to follow the equations.So I need a side book to read it comfortably.Landau`s book is not helping as its content ...
3
votes
3answers
644 views

Textbook on group theory to be able to start QFT

I am very enthusiastic about learning QFT. How much group theory would I need to master? Please could you recommend me a textbook on group theory, which would help me to start QFT?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

A professional physics career without a degree?

I learned programming as a child, for fun. Now I am working as a programmer, even though I got a business major degree. I wonder if there are career paths for doing physics other than becoming a ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Quantum phyics project for a high schooler [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Study Quantum Physics I am a high schooler who is interested in physics and mathematics, and I have a kind of 'high-school thesis' coming up in a year and a half or so. ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What math is needed to understand the Schrödinger equation?

If I now see the Schrödinger equation, I just see a bunch of weird symbols, but I want to know what it actually means. So I'm taking a course of Linear Algebra and I'm planning on starting with PDE's ...
12
votes
4answers
864 views

What does it mean to say that the electron is a near-perfect sphere?

It's announced that researchers at Imperial College London has found that the electron is almost a perfect sphere. The popular articles all have a nice photo of a billiard ball, etc. It is reported ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Why is a dipole moment called a dipole moment?

The General Formula for a moment is the following one: $$ \vec{M} = \vec{r} \times \vec{F}. $$ However the formula for a dipole moment is this one: $$ \vec{p} = Q \vec{d}. $$ How comes this is still ...
2
votes
0answers
129 views

Mathematical Prerequisites for QFT [closed]

I am curious about which areas of mathematics one should be comfortable with before learning QFT. I am familiar with the "learn-it-as-you-go" approach often advocated in physics, but would like to ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Why “Dark Energy” is called energy instead of force?

The overly simplified explanation I'm giving myself right now is dark energy causes the opposite of what gravity does, that's why the universe is expanding. Now where gravity is a force, why dark ...
2
votes
4answers
203 views

Expansion of the universe and strain

From cosmological models that involve expansion of the universe, can we not say that there are ever increasing tidal forces felt by solid bodies? If so, the material in solid bodies like metal ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Physical structures that trap information

I labeled this question "soft" because it might not make any sense. Anyway, what I'm wondering is if there's a notion in physics that deals with the ability of matter to trap information. For ...
2
votes
2answers
680 views

Naive question on quantum mechanics and uncertainty principle

This is a follow up on this question, the answer of which points towards Quantum Mechanics. As stated I am not a phycisist so please forgive my ignorance. I will try to understand the issue by going ...
2
votes
4answers
429 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Negative and positive energy and Hawking [closed]

I don't have any physics background (except the material we did in high school-long time ago). I was watching a documentary with Stephen Hawking about whether God created the Universe and I could not ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Is everything in the physical world composite?

In philosophy there is a principle that anything composite cannot have existed eternally, since it is preceded by its parts and whatever forces assembled it. Is everything in the physical world ...
0
votes
3answers
953 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 ...
31
votes
24answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
39
votes
1answer
2k views

What happened to David John Candlin?

This is an ultra-soft question about relatively recent history. While reading some of Mandelstam's papers, I noticed that he cites David John Candlin consistenly whenever he does anything with ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a physics Puzzles site like Project Euler?

I am looking for a site that publishing riddles and problems such as Project Euler publishes problems in computer science. Is there any similar site that is hardcore in the area of physics? This ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?

I have no background in physics but there is a question that has been bothering me, so I'm asking you. Are there at least 2 physical theories that are : Mathematically identical, which means that ...
9
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are they called “cyclic” coordinates?

In Lagrangian formalism, when $\frac{\partial L}{\partial q} = 0$, the coordinate $q$ is called cyclic and a corresponding conserved quantity exists. But why is it called cyclic?
12
votes
5answers
644 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Difference between theoretical physics and mathematical physics?

I'm a huge fan of mathematical physics and I know what the formal definitions of those two areas are, I've seen them. But I still get completely baffled when someone asks me to explain it simply. The ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How are physics and computer science getting united?

How is theoretical computer science getting united with physics? Phenomena like Quantum Computing uses Quantum Mechanics to be able to compute things, how are computers helping not just to model our ...
19
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
7answers
22k views

What jobs can you get after Studying Physics at University? [closed]

What types of jobs can you get after a degree in Physics? My sister is choosing her course and thinking of doing physics but isn't sure what she can do after it.
4
votes
2answers
389 views

In what order should the subjects be studied in order to get to String Theory [duplicate]

I know: Quantum Mechanics (Griffiths Level, currently doing Sakurai Level) Mechanics (Newtonian+ Lagrangian/Hamiltonian but at level lower than Goldstein/Landau) Classical Electrodynamics ...
3
votes
4answers
181 views

Is it possible to have incommensurable but equally valid theories of nature which fits all experimental data?

Is it possible to have mutually incommensurable but equally valid theories of nature which fits all experimental data? The philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend defended this seemingly outrageous ...
8
votes
1answer
418 views

Is it possible to kill a human with a powerful magnet?

I'm asking in terms of physics. Can powerful magnetic induction rearrange spins of my body in such way I will die? How? Or maybe it can rip all iron from me, which would make my blood cells useless? ...
3
votes
1answer
493 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 ...
39
votes
3answers
3k views