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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2
votes
1answer
238 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
vote
2answers
160 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
votes
2answers
61 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
votes
1answer
256 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
66 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
votes
1answer
98 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
votes
3answers
382 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
vote
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
vote
1answer
68 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
55 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
77 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.
0
votes
3answers
740 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

What level of mathematics would I need to understand the physics of a black hole? [duplicate]

I recently went to go see the movie Interstellar and was awed by the visualizations of the wormhole and the black hole Gargantua. I read that noted physicist Kip Thorne was a consulting producer on ...
2
votes
1answer
30 views

What is the difference between a measurement and an experiment?

For example, say I want to determine the atomic structure of a bio molecule. I purify the molecule, get it to crystallize (probably though trial and error), shoot it with X-rays, observe the scatter ...
3
votes
2answers
78 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

Name for Earth?

What is the proper word for 'Earth', as in 'Solar' and 'Lunar'? I cannot find this anywhere; I am guessing there is a word that starts with geo?
0
votes
2answers
131 views

Is the intuition of “absolute simultaneity” necessarily wrong?

I read about Einstein’s theories of relativity with all the interesting stuff like time dilation, mass increase and whatnot. And also about the relativity or conventionality of simultaneity. The ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

An attempt to understand Quantum mechanics [closed]

Can I learn quantum mechanics just by knowing basic calculus and algebra? I know basic differential calculus and integral calculus. I am willing to study to understand what quantum mechanics means. ...
3
votes
0answers
165 views

Why is imaginary time “outdated”? [closed]

I was looking at reviews for Sakurai's Quantum Mechanics textbook, and some mentioned it being outdated, specifically mentioning his use of imaginary time. Is this idea deliberately avoided in modern ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

As an older student, is it better to finish my degree or go straight into studying physics now? [closed]

I'm a 23 year old going through a very early mid-life crisis, and considering a career change to physics. I would be very greatful for any advice :) I'm currently studying medicine, but I've realized ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Quantum physics and constructable numbers [duplicate]

I do not know much about quantum physics. However, I do know it believes the world is discrete ( has quanta). This seems to contradicts the fact that we can create an object of length root 2 since you ...
1
vote
2answers
93 views

What are $\mu$ and $\nu$ in $g_{\mu\nu}$ metric?

What are $\mu$ and $\nu$ in $g_{\mu\nu}$ metric? Consider the metric $g_{\mu\nu} = \begin{pmatrix} 1 & 0 &0 \\ 0 & r^2 & 0\\ 0 & 0 & r^2\sin^2\theta \end{pmatrix}$
0
votes
2answers
70 views

Books on Quantum Measurement

I have been trying to understand clearly the concept of non locality, hidden variables, quantum measurement etc through research papers. I also read Quantum Theory and measurment by Wheeler and Zurek ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

Functions of commuting operators and interactions [closed]

The action of a function of an operator $A$ can be determined by the action on the eigenstates of $A$. If I have two commuting operators $A$ and $B$ and $|a,b\rangle$ is a common eigenstate, I get ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Correction of arrow of particle direction

I have seen a stamp of Richard Feynman where Feynman hold the famous Feynman diagram. But is there any problem of the direction of arrow?
1
vote
2answers
58 views

Is a constant transformation still considered a gauge transformation?

I've never even considered the possibility that a constant transformation would not qualify as a gauge transformation. But I'm reading a paper that seems to make exactly this distinction. In ...
1
vote
4answers
55 views

Who is said to do Work, me or the body?

If I subject my force to a body and it is displaced then the work is said to be done. What is that work done by? Is it said to be done by me or that body?
0
votes
1answer
59 views

If a cube magnet were a die, how would it be numbered?

I have a number of cube-shaped magnets. If I start with 64 cubes all in one long chain and begin arbitrarily "folding over" groups of them so that I am left with a 4x4x4 cube, I rarely get the same ...
5
votes
4answers
313 views

How to find references from publications in the physics literature?

Coming from Computer Science, I'm a bit puzzled about the format of references in physics publications. They usually lack a title, which I'm usually using to locate a publication online (for obtaining ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Role of math in science [closed]

Is it important for a physicist to be good at math? Should he be on par with a mathematician? According to me physics and math are like English and biology we study them in the same language but they ...
0
votes
1answer
251 views

Why quantum electrodynamics? [duplicate]

Most of the people seem pretty much content with classical electromagnetic theory .And most of the applications use classical EM theory .However, in such situations I would like to know what was the ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Statistical mechanics vs. many-body theory

Where is the basic difference of statistical mechanics with many-body physics? What are the systems which cannot be studied in statistical mechanics but in many body theory? After all we know ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of an image on Feynman's shirt

Is there any physical meaning of the image on Feynman's T-shirt?
0
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3answers
70 views

Electric warning signs question

I've always wandered why do the warning signs show the voltage, not the current. I mean, it's the current that kills you.
4
votes
2answers
181 views

Explain the notion of light/electromagnetic waves/photons to a non-physicist

A non-physicist asked me about special relativity. My explanations naturally were based on gedankenexperiments involving light. This forced the question: "What is light? It is particles, isn't? Or is ...
34
votes
8answers
5k views

Will we ever be able to view the past?

By analogy with the sun, whose light is apparently reaching us in 8 minutes, it means that we are only viewing the sun 8 minutes ago when we look up at it. However, what if we were eventually able to ...
2
votes
6answers
216 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
129 views

Why does the mathematical constant $e$ enter into quantum mechanics so much?

In A. Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell, he mentions on pages 11-12 the following formula which he assumes reader had encountered before: \begin{equation} \langle q | p \rangle ~=~ ...
1
vote
0answers
88 views

What's the best GR book for recreational study? [closed]

I currently have four books. Hartle Schutz Cheng Carroll (lecture notes) Which one is best for me to read easily? (especially, for foreigners) Or Do you guys can give good recommendations that ...
0
votes
0answers
56 views

Intuitive model to show difference between photon energy and light intensity?

What would be a good (intuitive, easily comprehensible) model to explain the quantum nature of light insofar as there is a fundamental difference between intensity and photon energy? One example (not ...
0
votes
3answers
106 views

What is the 'normal/standard' formulation of quantum mechanics called?

I know of at least three equivalent formulations of QM: The "normal/standard" one, dealing with Hilbert spaces and state vectors. The Feynman path-integral formulation. The Wigner-Weyl phase space ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Semantics: alternative word for long-ranged interaction? [closed]

I am working on wording for a report. I need to a word to describe long ranged interaction that is constant in strength. But I am aware that people sometimes use 'long-ranged' to mean decaying ...
3
votes
0answers
49 views

Why is an Ampere an SI unit? [duplicate]

It has always annoyed me that an Ampere is an SI unit, rather than a Coulomb. Why is this the case? Was current discovered first historically? I believe that the standards were published in the 1960s, ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Why doesn't a glass french press shatter when boiling water is poured in?

When I was little, I accidentally shattered a glass cooking instrument due to applying far too drastic a temperature change to it. Since then, I've been a bit afraid of doing it again. Of late, I've ...
1
vote
3answers
326 views

Prerequisites for classical mechanics by Susskind

So I am an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering. We had a course on Physics in our freshman year which is equivalent to Classical Mechanics I as taught in MIT. I am interested in studying advanced ...
41
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is the harmonic oscillator so important?

I've been wondering what makes the harmonic oscillator such an important model. What I came up with: It is a (relatively) simple system, making it a perfect example for physics students to learn ...
6
votes
4answers
167 views

Is differential geometry used in solid state?

I'm an undergraduate in physics interested in a career in solid state. While I know that any additional math is helpful--I am on time constraints, and can only take a few supplemental classes. That ...
1
vote
2answers
114 views

Newton's Principia: Astronomical prerequisites?

I am planning to read the Principia but I currently have no knowledge about Astronomy. What astronomy prerequisites do I need to understand the Principia? I would prefer older books (or "treatises"), ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are grams usually only expressed as milligrams, grams or kilograms?

I'm a physics (and electronics and astronomy, etc.) enthusiast. As I learn and research topics, I notice that many SI units are often expressed using a variety of prefixes, such as in electronics ...