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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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
211 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.)
25
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
19k 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 ...
-2
votes
4answers
865 views

Why do Engineers manipulate coordinate systems? [closed]

When tackling a physics problem, An Engineer will manipulate the axes/coordinate system where a Mathematicians and/or Physicists will use the original coordinate system and math. Why do Engineers ...
12
votes
4answers
944 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
0answers
205 views

What is the role of metaphysics in physics? [closed]

Newton's work was related to Enlightenment philosophy. Einstein was influenced by Mach. The founders of quantum mechanics had strong philosophical opinions. What is the role of metaphysics in the ...
8
votes
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 ...
24
votes
11answers
15k views

Graduate Physics Problems Books

Need to brush up on my late-undergrad and early-grad physics and was wondering if anyone can recommend books or lecture notes (hard copy, or on-line) that also have solutions. Two that I have come ...
0
votes
1answer
209 views

My computer turns on when it “sees” me [closed]

Before asking, I swear that, for how it may seem strange, this is all true. Very briefly, when my pc is off and I am near it, it turns on. I do not touch anything. Nobody else have the same effect. I ...
1
vote
0answers
214 views

Physics breakthroughs in the last two decades [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the most important discoveries/breakthroughs in physics recently? The last two decades have seen significant advances in mathematics, where long standing ...
0
votes
1answer
807 views

Famous physicists' quotations [closed]

I recently watched Sydney Coleman's 'Quantum Mechanics In Your Face,' and very much enjoyed it. (Highly recommended.) In it, Professor Coleman quotes a very clever comment by a philosopher called ...
4
votes
2answers
315 views

Any resources to learn how to interpret formulae/diagrams?

Are there any materials exploring intermediate levels (of any sub-subject) which give plain English descriptions along side formulas/equations/diagrams/notations?
7
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
409 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
516 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 (...
2
votes
1answer
641 views

What is the mathematical nature of space time quantization in string theory/super string theory?

I don't know much about string theory, apart from it being a theory of everything which brings QM, QED and nuclear forces and gravity under one single roof. I am curious to know from a mathematical ...
13
votes
8answers
15k 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. ...
16
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
531 views

The Superconducting Super Collider: what went wrong?

The Superconducting Super Collider was famously cancelled in 1993 after running enormously over budget. According to the wikipedia page: During the design and the first construction stage, a ...
4
votes
1answer
552 views

Do Sears Physics and Berkeley Physics Series provide intuition? [closed]

I'm freshman of Math major, because we don't have any physics course. But I'm very interested in Physics. But I'm not very sure which is better or say, more suitable for me. Sears and Zemansky's ...
1
vote
2answers
627 views

Give me examples of crackpots who were right after all [closed]

I am interested in examples of crackpots coming up with correct results in physics. Why do mainstream physicists look down so much upon "crackpots"?
0
votes
2answers
234 views

The future of particle physics [closed]

Eventually, we are going to reach our limits in particle physics, or maybe find the theory of everything. Particle physics isn't easy by any means. It requires at the minimum years of graduate school ...
-3
votes
4answers
981 views

Who works professionally on reformulation of QFT?

P. Dirac was worried with the infinities and their discarding in QED. He wanted us to reformulate the theory in order to eliminate infinities and renormalizations from the very beginning. Is there ...
1
vote
1answer
771 views

Can you give me some examples of recreational physics? [closed]

Can you give me some examples of recreational physics? Thx
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Is there a good Modern English translation of Newton's “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” available for free viewing or download?

I have found several nice versions available for purchase, but all of the free ones are either Latin, old English, or pixellated. I searched google and was only able to locate the free ones linked to ...
1
vote
0answers
228 views

Is the conclusion that the cosmic burst observed in the Draco constellation from gamma rays that are streaming towards a massive black hole correct?

Referencing this news article: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/cosmic-burst-in-far-away-galaxy-puzzles-nasa-20110408-1d6kz.html It also references an event id: (GRB) 110328A The article ...
8
votes
5answers
233 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
832 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
243 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to validate a new physics theory and keep the credit for it [closed]

For the last few years, My friend worked on figuring out the "theory of everything". She is afraid of sharing her theory with well known physicists, because she doesn't want other people to take ...
1
vote
3answers
633 views

Where can I find pirated copies of journals? [closed]

As you all know, journal subscriptions are extremely expensive, and many colleges and libraries don't subscribe to them. Many important articles aren't available on the preprint server arxiv. My ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

List of physics paradoxes [closed]

What are some important examples of paradoxes in physics which are still currently unresolved?
8
votes
5answers
857 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
590 views

Going Beyond Introductory Physics [closed]

Due to certain reasons, I don't have the chance for going to college for under-graduation, but that doesn't mean I can't choose to walk the hard path and learn. Over the past month or so a lot of ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Is it possible to work on physics independently outside academia?

The traditional physics career is an academic job at some university, with the eventual goal of becoming a tenured professor. Is it possible for a mostly self-educated outsider working outside ...
2
votes
0answers
238 views

Is there any reason to major in physics if you're certain you will never do a Ph.D? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What sort of jobs do physics graduates with B.Sc/M.Sc get? I've been told over and over again..."I would not major in physics unless you are looking to get a Ph.D." What is ...
7
votes
0answers
626 views

Julian Schwinger videos, is there any? [closed]

I googled in vain and found nothing. I am surprised. Maybe somebody knows about videos of Julian Schwinger available on Internet?
4
votes
4answers
844 views

Is it possible to restart formal higher education in physics at a later age? [closed]

I would begin by apologizing for a soft question. Reading the FAQ, I have tried to formulate my question precisely in the last paragraph and you may skip the following paragraph where I make ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
5answers
1k 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? ...
4
votes
6answers
4k views

Are Zeppelins still not feasible?

As far as i know Zeppelins were abandoned because they were not safe, back in time. Is it still the case in 2011 though? In my opinion it is more economical to operate a Zeppelin than a plane and they ...
1
vote
3answers
584 views

What are the modern marvels in Physics that seem crazy but true? [closed]

What are the modern marvels in Physics which are crazy but true? Ideas which are ridiculed and dismissed in the beginning but passed the test of time?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How to write units?

In a scientific article, should I write "3m", "3 m", "3 meters", or "3 [meters]" ?
0
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Knotted token-ring network

Suppose we have a rigid token-ring network. An observer at any node can seemingly determine the angular momentum of the network by measuring the time it takes for a packet to travel around the ring ...
1
vote
2answers
371 views

What happens to internal energy in high-density materials?

Normal-density materials have internal energy, which is the sum of the average energies associated to each of the degrees of freedom. Degrees of freedom can be described as vibrational, translational, ...