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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18
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k 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?
9
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
725 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
721 views

An operator on the other side of the Schrödinger equation

A form of the Schrödinger equation is $$ \left[-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \nabla^2 + V(\vec{r}, t)\right]\Psi = i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial t} \Psi $$ The bracketed term is of course the ...
23
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

How are physics and computer science getting united? [closed]

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 ...
7
votes
7answers
30k 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.
3
votes
4answers
192 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
3k views
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Why should any physicist know, to some degree, experimental physics?

I've been trying to design a list with reasons why a proper theoretical physicist should understand the methods and the difficulty of doing experimental physics. So far I've only thought of two ...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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
votes
1answer
902 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
votes
2answers
1k views

Sources to learn about Greens functions

For a physics major, what are the best books/references on Greens functions for self-studying? My mathematical background is on the level of Mathematical Methods in the physical sciences by Mary ...
3
votes
0answers
452 views

A gentle introduction to CFT [closed]

Which is the definition of a conformal field theory? Which are the physical prerequisites one would need to start studying conformal field theories? (i.e Does one need to know supersymmetry? Does one ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Connections between classical and quantum mechanics?

I've done basic or introductory mechanics at the level of Resnick and Halliday. I'm currently studying calculus of variations and the Lagrangian formulation of mechanics on my own. I read somewhere ...
3
votes
1answer
557 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 ...
-3
votes
3answers
1k views

Should linear algebra and vector calculus from traditional courses be replaced with `geometric algebra`? [closed]

geometric algebra gives geometric meaning to linear algebra and much more. it can provide a coordinate free geometric interpretation of spaces. those who learn of ...
9
votes
3answers
14k views

Is time a Scalar or a Vector?

In Wikipedia it's said that time is a scalar quantity. But its hard to understand that how? As stated that we consider only the magnitude of time then its a scalar. But on basis of time we define ...
7
votes
3answers
394 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
2answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
221 views

Semiclassical QED and long-range interaction

I'm interested in the (very) low energy limit of quantum electrodynamics. I've seen that taking this limit does not yield Maxwell equations, but a quantum corrected non-linear version of them. If ...
3
votes
3answers
452 views

Physical significance of getting an non-integrable function in an equation

I just found out during my Calculus course in High School, that there exist functions which cannot be integrated. Then I thought that I come across a lot of integrals while solving Physics ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

Where did the concept of energy come from?

Energy seems to me to be a very abstract thing, and while it clearly works out very nicely, I don't understand how anyone would have thought to come up with it. Where does the concept of energy find ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

The spin and weight of a primary field in CFT

A primary field in Conformal Field Theory transforms as $$\phi (z,\bar{z}) =\left(\frac{dz}{dz'} \right)^h \left(\frac{d\bar{z}}{d\bar{z}'} \right)^\bar{h}\phi (z',\bar{z}') $$ under a conformal ...
2
votes
0answers
79 views

Learning Roadmap to Mathematical Physics [duplicate]

Currently, I am a graduate student specializing in algebraic geometry. On the other hand, I have also become extremely interested in the mathematical physics. However, I am not sure what steps I ...
2
votes
3answers
325 views

How to show that probability and statistics are very important in Quantum Mechanics?

I'm doing a research for my stats class in high school and I chose quantum mechanics as my subject. I narrowed down to electron localization in an atom and radial probability distribution. However, I ...
8
votes
5answers
2k 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
votes
7answers
313 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How important is mathematical proof in physics?

How important are proofs in physics? If something is mathematically proven to follow from something we know is true, does it still require experimental verification? Are there examples of things that ...
7
votes
1answer
263 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
votes
2answers
677 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
593 views

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

What's the physics behind this joke?
5
votes
3answers
760 views

Intuition for Path Integrals and How to Evaluate Them

I'm just starting to come across path integrals in quantum field theory, and want to get the right intuition for the them from the start. The amplitude for propagation from $x_a$ to $x_b$ is typically ...
5
votes
0answers
994 views

10 Big Problems - Condensed Matter [closed]

I think it was Feynman that suggested that you should always carry ten big problems around in your head, and when you encounter a new method, see whether this new method allows you to make progress on ...
4
votes
1answer
309 views

Maths behind gravity assist

What kind of maths is behind gravity assists and in general the theory of orbits, and how deep does it go? I am just wondering if I know enough prerequisites!
4
votes
2answers
435 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
75 views

Ion-propelled vs. Ion Thruster

I am fifteen and an aspiring Mechanical Engineer. I read about ion-propelled aircraft, and was fascinated. On NASA's YouTube channels they outlined Ion Thrusters as a potential way to reach greater ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

What topics do I need to study electromagnetism on the quantum scale? [closed]

What topics do I need to study (in order) so that I can study electromagnetics on the quantum scale? What is the name of the discipline studying electromagnetism on the quantum scale? Do I need to ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Does Bell's inequalities also rule out non-computable local hidden variable theories?

I have beenn reading different articles on Bell's assumptions and interpretations, including superdeterminsm. I always end up dizzy when I try tho think about this specific question, so any hints ...
3
votes
2answers
220 views

Lexical/ontological/semantic knowledge base for physics

(1) Are there lexical/semantic knowledge bases for physics that can be used for automated reasoning and AI (like Princeton's Wordnet and MIT's Conceptnet for common sense English usage)? (2) If not ...
3
votes
6answers
11k views

What distinguishes between physics and chemistry? [closed]

What are the major differences between physics and chemistry? I know that they both study atoms, electrons and molecules, but what makes some topics part of one and some part of another?
2
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
215 views

Is $∣1 \rangle$ an abuse of notation?

In introductory quantum mechanics it is always said that $∣ \rangle$ is nothing but a notation. For example, we can denote the state $\vec \psi$ as $∣\psi \rangle$. In other words, the little arrow ...
2
votes
0answers
167 views

What is the difference between a philosopher of science and a theoretical physicist? [closed]

What is the characteristic objective difference in objectively observable attitudes and research styles between a philosopher of physics and a theoretical physicist? Was Ernst Mach more of a ...
2
votes
2answers
599 views

Human power on treadmill

On an elliptical treadmill a regular person can easily burn 1000 calories in one hour (treadmill reports calories burnt). This translates into: $$(1\times 10^3\mathrm{cal/hr}\times ...
2
votes
4answers
425 views

Why was PACER abandoned?

The PACER project is described in this question: How much of the energy from 1 megaton H Bomb explosion could we capture to do useful work? Why was it abandoned? It seems that it is the only readily ...