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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2answers
99 views

Why can't we precisely define physics? [closed]

While reading a textbook, I came across this statement: "A precise definition of physics is neither possible nor necessary." I was curious why it is not possible but the textbook never ...
1
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1answer
66 views

Quark-gluon plasma: status [closed]

Can we say that a QGP has been observed or is there only suggestive evidence? Is the idea that string theory, through the AdS/CFT correspondence, could help to understand this new state of matter ...
1
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1answer
84 views

Is 'Boltzon' an accepted name for particles following Maxwell-Boltzmann (MB) statistics?

In my curriculum during one of my statistical mechanics visiting lecture classes, our teacher was referring comparatively macro particles following MB statistics as "Boltzon". But I have searched ...
5
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3answers
435 views

Explaining a quote by Weinberg about the signifcance of symmetry groups in physics

When skimming through a book, I found this quote: The universe is an enormous direct product of representations of symmetry groups. —Steven Weinberg I am a mathematician (so I know only basic ...
4
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1answer
397 views

Does “finite” include zero?

Infinity, is clearly not finite. But there is some dissent on whether or not zero is finite. I have seen authors use "finite" to indicate the value of $0$ is excluded as well as infinity. Is there ...
1
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1answer
64 views

Understand the relation of time and the space dimensions of spacetime?

I assume the relation of the three spacial dimensions and the time dimension is handled purely in the mathematical domain, usually. But is there any intuitive description of this relationship, how ...
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0answers
76 views

Exercises with solutions in dimensional analysis - reference request

I am currently trying to brush up on my skills in dimensional analysis, and computing with units. Is there a good source of worked examples, and exercises with solutions? I'd prefer to have solutions ...
19
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3answers
2k views

Programming in physics [closed]

How important is programming in physics? I am studying physics at university and these first years there is actually no approach (as it is understandable) to what working in physics is like. Now, I ...
0
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1answer
70 views

What physical properties can we measure most accurately?

As far as I am aware, frequency is the most accurate physical property we can currently measure. This has led us to very high standards of experimental verification of e.g QED predictions and the CMB ...
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0answers
49 views

Difference between maths in physics degree and maths in a maths degree [closed]

I hope this question belongs on this site. If not, please feel free to recommend another site to move it to. Basically, I was wondering what are the main differences between the maths you learn in a ...
42
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6answers
4k views

What physics paper would a high school student be able to read?

I'm looking for a physics paper which a typical high school student who is new to physics would be able to read and grasp the general idea of the purpose, setup and results, if not the details. To be ...
0
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1answer
94 views

Laplace-Beltrami vs d'Alembert operators in flat vs curved space-time

I am confused with the difference between Laplace-Beltrami (LB) and d'Alembert operators in flat/curved space-time. d'Alembert operator in flat space-time (Minkowski) is defined as $$\Box= ...
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0answers
78 views

What is the meaning of symbols $\delta f$ and $\delta^2f$?

Professor was using these symbols to derive the continuity equation. He defined the infinitesimal mass as $\delta^2m=\rho \delta V$ and the mass that leaves some closed boundary $\partial V$ as ...
2
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1answer
87 views

Statistical Mechanics vs Statistics

Just how much of a representation of statistics do we get in a statistical mechanics curriculum. What are some of the useful facets of stat not in stat mech/quantum mech that physicists should really ...
3
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3answers
66 views

What is nuclide notation referring to? Only the nucleus or the whole atom?

sorry that this is an easy question but I am just a bit confused about nuclide notation. When you say e.g. $^{240}_{94}\text{Pu}$, are you referring to the atom of $\text{Pu}$ or only its nucleus? It ...
1
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2answers
46 views

What does excitation in an atom mean?

This is not regarding the definition of excitation itself. What I'm having trouble with is the difference between "electron excitation" and "atom excitation". When I electron inside the atom gets ...
1
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0answers
36 views

All I need to know to enter undergraduate studies in pure physics [closed]

I want to pursue pure physics after my secondary high school. I was wondering if I know all I need to know to get into this stream. So please list out all the topics I need to know before my ...
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2answers
117 views

Using mega (=10^6) when writing by hand? [closed]

I just solved a problem which had answer 1.7*10^6 m (m=meters) If I wanted to write this using M=10^6 it would be 1.7 Mm, which if I write it by hand would look like "1.7 mm" which is confusing. Is ...
1
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1answer
54 views

Rain system movements and highways?

In my free time I sometimes enjoy watching the weather or radar and trying to predict how a rain system will move. Pretty often I notice that a small rain system or even a large one will congregate or ...
3
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0answers
48 views

Are the fundamental constants of nature independent?

Background: I am a layman and I just watched the video "Infinite Worlds: A Journey through Parallel Universes" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO4uzgiRHkE) featuring a discussion with Andrei Linde, ...
4
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1answer
55 views

“Hollow Earth” like Theories for pedagogical porpuses [closed]

I recently encountered the Hollow Earth theory, and I realize that This kind of theories can be used to give a really interesting discussion of a physical law. For example, If we take the ...
0
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0answers
29 views

Are there computerized ontologies for Relativity and (Experimental) Physics? How to contribute?

As machines and automation can generally assist humanity in physical activities, and even exceed mere human capabilities, so, increasingly, also in tasks of reasoning. A basic component of the latter ...
1
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2answers
89 views

Why isn't all of physics based on other rates of change [duplicate]

Define the jolt/jerk to be $$J(f)={{d^3 f} \over {dt^3}}$$ Why don't we use the concept of jolt more often considering that the change in acceleration is most definitely an important characteristic ...
0
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1answer
24 views

Affects of static electricity on the heart

I have an electricity problem. I get shocked by just about everything. Metal, plastic, etc. flooring can be wood,tile, carpet,linoleum , it doesn't seem to matter. The ones that go through my ...
1
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0answers
99 views

What does it mean: “If you scream in Hilbert space, nobody will hear you!” [closed]

This question may not be appropriate for this site and if it so, sorry for that. Today, I have heard the following quote from one of my friends: If you scream in Hilbert space, nobody will hear ...
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2answers
134 views

Naked Time ( Is there such a thing ?) [closed]

I have lately been concerned with time and whether or not it is an illusion. For argument's sake let's assume it is. Then time should stand on its own. Can anyone describe, (or point me to a paper ...
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1answer
74 views

How do you become a theoretical physicist? [closed]

Is there a specific subject at university called "theoretical physics" or do you get a PhD in Physics and then if your job involves theory you are considered a theoretical physicist?
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1answer
64 views

What is “adjustable constant”?

This is quoted from A.P.French's Vibrations & Waves. Explicit differential form of linear harmonic oscillator is: $$ m\dfrac{d^2x}{dt^2} + kx = 0 \quad \& \quad \dfrac{1}{2} ...
7
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3answers
628 views

Why does the lake surface appear darker in some areas?

What causes the surface of the lake to appear darker in some places? Firstly, I know that it's not fishes that cause it. Secondly, the dark surfaces move from time to time and thus are not ...
2
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2answers
105 views

What unit system does Fahrenheit belong to?

Wikipedia's page for Imperial Units does not list Fahrenheit. The corresponding page for SI Units lists Kelvin as an SI unit, and Celcius as a derived SI unit. This leads me to believe that ...
2
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2answers
92 views

Differential operators in curvilinear coordinates

In the appendix A of Griffith's Electrodynamics text, he cites Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds as a reference more a more complete treatment of taking the gradient, curl, divergence, and Laplacian in ...
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2answers
81 views

What does a unit like $C^{1/5}$ or $kg^{1/2}$ physically mean?

I'm more of a math guy than a physics guy so bear with me.... In fractal geometry, fractals are considered to have fractional dimension. For instance an object such as the Koch curve has a fractal ...
2
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2answers
111 views

How are weights and scales used by the public calibrated?

My physics teacher has a set of masses: things from 1 to 10 grams. My chemistry teacher has electronic balances that measures things in grams. In France, there is a block of metal we hope no one ...
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1answer
120 views

When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles were called Majorana fermions?

Since a number of years, the field of superconductivity has a growing obsession with Majorana fermions. I wonder how far back we can go: When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles ...
1
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0answers
82 views

What is the next step in math education after taking the last undergrad math course? [closed]

Currently I successfully completed the 3rd semester of my B.Sc. in Physics. Since the upcoming summer semester is starting soon and I'm going to have some spare time I can spend, I want to expand and ...
1
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2answers
116 views

What does the “T” stand for in T-duality?

First of all, I am not a physicist. I'm a graduate math student and recently I came across the concept of T-duality. Actually I'm studying generalized complex geometry, which according to this paper ...
0
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2answers
122 views

Help with high school physics [duplicate]

I am studying high school physics and it seems i have memorize the equation and use it mechanically in doing question and memorize lots of physical phenomena.I know a lot of physical phenomena can be ...
2
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1answer
231 views

What was Feynman's famous formula?

In Welton(1983), Memories of Feynman, Welton mentions two formulas which he denotes as Feynman's Famous Formula (FFF) and FFF #2. Which famous formulas is he talking about? Is he maybe talking about ...
1
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2answers
153 views

Sign convention for the Minkowski metric $\eta_{\mu\nu}$

In special relativity, one is confronted with a quadratic form called proper time, which is $c^2t^2-(x^2+y^2+z^2)$, $t$ being time and $x,y,z$ being the space coordinates. One usually introduces a ...
0
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2answers
58 views

Usage of singular or plural SI base units when written in both symbol as well as name [closed]

I have multiple doubts related to the usage of singular or plural SI base units when written in both symbol as well as name. I have framed this question under two parts, namely, Part (a) and Part ...
5
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1answer
243 views

Physical intuition/interpretation of fractional derivatives/integrals?

Oftentimes, when the derivative and integral operations are introduced within the realm of physics, we are taught some physical interpretation of them: Velocity is the derivative of position ...
21
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4answers
3k views

If the LHC-calculated mass of the Higgs is wrong, how long will it take to determine this with confidence? [closed]

After I watched "Particle Fever"--the movie about Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the successful identification of the Higgs boson--I became a bit concerned with that team's handling of various ...
0
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1answer
62 views

Requirements prior to Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What are the requirements in physics and mathematics that somebody must have in order to start learning Quantum Mechanics by himself?
0
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1answer
87 views

What is the meaning of phenomenology?

From what I understand, phenomenology as it is used in science means talking about the details of a phenomenon without going deep into the fundamental physical processes that lead to the phenomenon. ...
3
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3answers
378 views

What would happen to me if I was in the LHC while it was running? [duplicate]

This is possibly a stupid question, but one I have been always wondering. What would happen to me if I was in the center of the Large hadron Collider while it was running? Would the energy of the beam ...
1
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0answers
25 views

Modern textbooks on quantum mechanics [duplicate]

I'm looking for modern textbooks on quantum mechanics that treat topics such as quantum entanglement , bell's theorem , quantum teleportation , quantum information theory , The Many-world ...
1
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1answer
65 views

What is the relationship between harmonic motion and the harmonics of a wave?

I learned about harmonic motion and harmonic oscillators a long time ago in physics, but I can't remember what the relationship between that and and the definition of harmonic in a wave. A harmonic ...
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0answers
54 views

Have any prominent physicists been 'scooped'? [closed]

I'm really curious as to whether any prominent physicists have had a major breakthrough, only to have another scientist publish the achievement before they managed to, and whether the credit was given ...
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1answer
69 views

Production of electric field [closed]

How does varying magnetic field produce an electric field? Is it a natural phenomenon having no reason? i want the process/steps of producing of an electric field by a varying magnetic field.
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3answers
539 views

Forces on a ball thrown upwards

When a ball is thrown up in upward direction, it is said that force is in downward direction. Why we don't we consider the force given to the ball to throw up in the upward direction? Is there is no ...