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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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
810 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
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
399 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
900 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
517 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
7
votes
2answers
10k 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
1answer
780 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
6k 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
205 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
371 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
251 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
58 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 ...
-4
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 ...
8
votes
7answers
293 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
231 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
607 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
votes
3answers
385 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
472 views

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

What's the physics behind this joke?
5
votes
3answers
654 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
840 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
356 views

How and why will the Milky way collide with the Andromeda?

Hubble's law says that the universe is expanding.How come the milky way and the andromeda are on a collision course?How will they end up colliding with each other?
4
votes
2answers
391 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
110 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
121 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
4answers
368 views

Two soft questions about spin and the particle nature of electrons

How can we define spin as the spin of an electron around it's own axis if an electron is described by a probability cloud of finding an electron in a point in space? How does that probability cloud ...
2
votes
2answers
462 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
372 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
285 views

How much physics a mathematician needs to know to study GR? [duplicate]

I'm intending to study General Relativity on my own. The thing is, my physics background is not very strong. I know classical mechanics and I know some electromagnetism. I'm familiar with Gauss' law, ...
-2
votes
1answer
300 views

How to express $ds$?(when we know expression for $ds^{2}$) [closed]

We know that $$ds^2 = g_{\mu\nu}dx^{\mu}dx^{\nu},$$ Can you say how to calculate $ds$?
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++), ...
7
votes
2answers
314 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
votes
1answer
387 views

Mathematical concept of supersymmetry

I wish to study supersymmetry in field theory(sometime in december). However, I am quite not sure what is needed for its study. In supersymmetry, I just want to get the mathematical idea, such as its ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

Can a scientific theory ever be absolutely proven?

I personally cringe when people talk about scientific theories in the same way we talk about everyday theories. I was under the impression a scientific theory is similar to a mathematical proof; ...
6
votes
0answers
113 views

What kind of physics research can a high-schooler get involved in and form new discoveries in? [closed]

I am a high school student with a strong background in physics, engineering, and computer science. I am very interested in research and formulating my own discoveries in order to learn more about ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

What is meant by “Nothing” in Physics/Quantum Mechanics(QM)?

I am not a phycisist, so please forgive my ignorance. This is related to my posts and this. I am trying to undertand what is meant by the term "Nothing" in physics or Quantum Mechanics since it seems ...
4
votes
1answer
654 views

How many oxygen molecules touch you in your lifetime?

Following up on a comment by BlueRaja to this beautiful answer of Ilmari Karonen, I would like to phrase this follow up question: How many air molecules hit your average human's skin during their ...
3
votes
2answers
551 views

Is Hubble's constant really constant? [duplicate]

How does Hubble's constant resembles age of universe? Isn't universe getting old each day? How can a constant be a reciprocal of age of universe? Hubble's value must be variable, isn't it?
3
votes
3answers
189 views

What widely recognized organizations set standards used by physics?

I recently answered a question about the meaning of the word "dimension" as used in physics. In that response, I provided the definition given in the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM) and ...
2
votes
6answers
191 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
81 views

Doing numerics in physics [closed]

Soon, I am going to write my master thesis in theoretical physics. I assume there, and later on in my career, I will have to do more serious numerics than I did up to this point. That's why I want to ...
2
votes
1answer
165 views

Why are there equations in physics with factors of 2, 3 and 5, but there aren't any with factors of 7 or 11?

I noticed that there are a lot of equations in physics with factors of 2, 3 and 5 (either in the numerator or in the denominator), but there aren't any with factors of 7 or any prime number greater ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

How to pronounce $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$

It seems that $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$ (and its multiples) is commonly used as the unit of mass in particle physics. For example, David Griffiths uses it quite naturally in Introduction to Elementary ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

What is the pressure at the top of a sealed tube being drawn out of water?

Is the atmospheric pressure in a closed container the same as that of the surroundings (1 bar at sea level)? Consider a tube with both ends open with one end dipped into water (like a pipette in ...
2
votes
1answer
986 views

Download only physics and maths wikipedia pages for offline use [closed]

There are tools for downloading the entire wikipedia database (above 8 Gb without pictures), but I would like to download only physics and maths pages, to view them offline. Wikipedia pages have a ...
2
votes
3answers
506 views

Explanation for classic mechanics puzzle

I'm trying to figure out a nice way to describe to a kid the physics behind these experiments: Assuming ideal conditions, we have a small boat with a sale, close to a lake's shore and a fan fixed on ...
2
votes
6answers
8k 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
1answer
511 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 ...