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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0
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2answers
82 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
1answer
97 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
156 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Why is imaginary time “outdated”?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I was looking at reviews for Sakurai's Quantum Mechanics textbook, and some mentioned it being outdated, specifically mentioning his use of imaginary time.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
65 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
90 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
63 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
40 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

When did the casual definition of the three laws of thermodynamics first appear? [closed]

Who is credited as the source, and when were the laws first stated in this form? (1st Law) You can't win. (2nd Law) You can't break even. (3rd Law) You can't get out of the game.
0
votes
0answers
42 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
55 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
58 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
302 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
233 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
70 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
votes
3answers
64 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.
3
votes
2answers
165 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
213 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
128 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
86 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
50 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
105 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
39 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
46 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
115 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
254 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 ...
39
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
158 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
111 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Realistic Potential Wells

What is meant by the term "realistic" potential wells? I got stuck into the term as I don't know what are the limitations of the word realistic in this case. For example mentioned in line We ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Using theater lamp for heating [duplicate]

I'm asking myself a question about how to warm my house up, and the efficiency of such a thing : I live in a theater, and we got plenty of 1000W lighting fixture, mostly Tungsten incandescence ...
3
votes
0answers
70 views

When did people start to regard “time” as a physical quantity? [closed]

I was trying to figure out how people came to know about time then I realized that people started keeping track of time to know about sunset and sunrise. But I can't figure out how did time came into ...
2
votes
2answers
185 views

Is Physics being formally documented somewhere?

Physics is an extremely diverse subject, with new phenomenon being mapped by the second. So, is it all being formally documented somewhere? I'm specifically looking for a centralized, formal ...
1
vote
2answers
280 views

Examples of applications of real-valued closed 1-forms in physics [closed]

Closed 1-forms are well-studied in foliation topology, algebraic geometry, and theory of manifolds. What are examples of their most typical or most interesting applications in physics? I do not mean ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

GRE subject exam advice [duplicate]

So, I would like to ask those of you who have had this experience for some advice. What book is best for GRE subject exam? I have noticed that some books online have mistakes, so I would like if you ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Advice on Major Selection [closed]

I need a bit of an advice in deciding my major. My university allows only one major (along with minors) and I'm having a little bit of trouble in deciding what to do. Here's the thing. I want to go ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Model Selection in Physics [closed]

My high-level understanding of the scientific method is that it can be summarized in the following steps, in no particular order: Make conjectures & hypotheses (theory) Make predictions ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Good Resource for Classifying Statistical Mechanics Problems [closed]

I've grown very interested in statistical mechanics ever since I took my first course in it. However, it feels like it is just overflowing with many types of problems and plenty of categories to ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

If tachyons were real, where would they originate from? [closed]

If the hypothetical tachyon existed, where would it possibly originate from? or is this question off the realms within the current state of physics. Also what are some ways physicist have tried to ...
3
votes
1answer
648 views

“And God said…and there was light.” What does these equations mean? [duplicate]

Today while I was on the Internet I came across an interesting picture, that caught my eye. It's : I don't have to explain why this picture seems interesting to someone who knows the meaning and ...
4
votes
1answer
276 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!
2
votes
0answers
160 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
85 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

What are some good physics websites for learning in general? [duplicate]

As a 17-year-old who is interested in physics and especially in the laws of the universe, what are some good websites that are clear explanations and straight to the point?