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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How should a theoretical physicist study maths? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should a physics student study mathematics? If some-one wants to do research in string theory for example, Would the Nakahara Topology, geometry and physics book and ...
9
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9answers
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?
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10answers
2k 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 ...
9
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5answers
2k views

How useful is programming in physics?

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), ...
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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 ...
9
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5answers
273 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 ...
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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 ...
9
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1answer
214 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 ...
9
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3answers
155 views

What do the various journals and publications bodies offer for their subscriptions? [closed]

I would like to abide by the site policies on not asking open-ended/chatty questions so if someone feels there is a better location or wording for this question, please feel free to modify it as ...
9
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5answers
809 views

Simple applications of group theory which can be understood by a senior undergrad

I am looking for references (books or web links) which have "simple" examples on the use of group theory in physics or science in general. I have looked at many books on the subject unfortunately ...
8
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5answers
2k views

Graduate School for Theoretical Physics

First off, let me just say that I am unsure if this question is appropriate for this site, and if the community deems it necessary, the question should be closed. So right now I am a fourth year ...
8
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10answers
138 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.) ...
8
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9answers
3k views

Should I begin to study quantum mechanics or wait until I have a stronger base on easier topics? [closed]

I apologize if this is off topic since it does not relate directly to the study of physics, but I could not think of a better place to ask. I am a high school student graduating in a few days and ...
8
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6answers
525 views

Why are the physical sciences described perfectly by mathematics?

Why are the physical sciences described perfectly by mathematics?
8
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2answers
385 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 ...
8
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3answers
1k 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
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7answers
256 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 ...
8
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2answers
276 views

Who is usually credited for the creation of QFT?

I read in a book just now that says: [...] but it was not explained until the invention of quantum field theory by Richard Feynmann [sic] and others in the 1940's. I have been under the ...
8
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2answers
91 views

Can I use two SI prefexes

Is it ok to say $145\,{\rm k\,MPa}$ for $145\, {\rm GPa}$. We are so used to comparing stresses in ${\rm MPa}$ that I want to keep things relative to this unit. So would it be a no-no to do so.
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5answers
216 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
172 views

What strategies can a researcher use when confronted with a long and complicated symbolic expression?

When doing research in theoretical physics, a frequent task one encounters is trying to express some physical quantity as a function of other quantities. A lot of times this can't be done ...
8
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4answers
1k views

What happens when we cut objects?

What is the role of the molecular bonds in the process of cutting something? What the one of the Pauli exclusion principle, responsible for the "hardness" of matter? Moreover, is all the energy ...
8
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3answers
336 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 ...
8
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2answers
250 views

Can a web community write papers?

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 ...
8
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5answers
571 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 ...
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5answers
1k views

Physics book for 15 year old boy [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: List of good classical physics books my name is Bruno Alano. As stated in the title, I'm 15 years old (I'll do 16 on 7 of Feb) and much love Computer Science (C, C++), ...
8
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1answer
2k views

What programming languages would be helpful for a physicist to know? [closed]

From the vantage point of a physicist and the kind of problems he would like a computer program to solve, what are the essential programming languages that a physicist should know. I know C++ and I ...
7
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5answers
919 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? ...
7
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4answers
897 views

Study Quantum Physics

I'm an aspiring physicist who wants to self study some Quantum Physics. My thirst for knowledge is unquenchable and I can not wait 2 more years until I get my first quantum physics class in ...
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8answers
8k views

Which Mechanics book is the best for beginner in math major?

I'm a bachelor student majoring in math, and pretty interested in physics. I would like a book to study for classical mechanics, that will prepare me to work through Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. ...
7
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3answers
90 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 ...
7
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2answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
219 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 ...
7
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4answers
561 views

Church-Turing hypothesis as a fundamental law of physics

The Church-Turing hypothesis says one can not build a computing device which has more computing power (in terms of computability) than the abstract model of Turing machine. So, there is something in ...
7
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5answers
3k views

Math or Physics degree?

I am hoping to become a physicist focusing mainly on the theoretical side in the future. I am trying to decide whether to go for a physics or math undergrad course. Assuming that I am capable of ...
7
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4answers
2k views

What are the best astronomy blogs and podcasts? [closed]

For someone who likes learning about astronomy what are the blogs and/or podcasts that I should be following?
7
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3answers
368 views

Feedback on the paper, 'CCC-predicted low-variance circles in CMB sky and LCDM' by V. G. Gurzadyan and R. Penrose [closed]

Ref: CCC-predicted low-variance circles in CMB sky and LCDM To all cosmology / theoretical physics / related or similar researchers and academics, Are there some updates concerning the issue of ...
7
votes
1answer
571 views

Educational physics stories with a funny punchline [closed]

As a physicist, when I'm giving lectures or during colloquiums, I usually find it necessary to have some appropriate and related jokes in hand. All of the best teachers have some, and they use them ...
7
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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 ...
7
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1answer
236 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? ...
7
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4answers
149 views

$1.7\cdot 10^{-24}$ mole apples a day

As the title suggests I was wondering why the International Bureau of Weights and Measures decided a mole to be a standard (SI-)unit. After some research I found I was not alone with this problem. ...
7
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2answers
456 views

Interesting topics to research in mathematical physics for undergraduates

I'm planning on getting into research in mathematical physics and was wondering about interesting topics I can get into and possibly make some progress on. I'm particularity fond of abstract algebra ...
7
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2answers
44 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. ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Reading Paul Dirac's “Principles of Quantum Mechanics”

I have a similair question to the question here, but regarding a different book. "Principles of Quantum Mechanics" is a 1930 work by British Nobel laureate Paul Dirac. The wikipedia article on this ...
7
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2answers
278 views

Etymology of “Renormalisation”

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know why "renormalisation" is so named? Who first came up with the term, and why was it used? I did a mathematics undergraduate so to me "normalisation" means ...
7
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1answer
592 views

Areas of computer science required for quantum computing

What knowledge of computer science should I have, to be able to pursue research in quantum computing. I am a Physics undergrad and would take three core courses in QM, before the completion of my ...
7
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3answers
878 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 ...
7
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1answer
188 views

Any open areas to work in non equilibrium thermodynamics for a Phd student? [closed]

I see that many papers written on fundamentals of thermodynamics(theory) nowadays are by some old professors somewhere(there may be exceptions). Most active young faculty don't seem to be seriously ...
7
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1answer
406 views

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

What's the physics behind this joke?
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1answer
115 views

An approachable example of a field with a “mass gap”

Preamble: I have come to believe that alot of difficulties in explaining physics to people of all levels comes from the relatively mundane idea of a wave equation with a mass gap $$\left(-\partial^2_t ...