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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3
votes
1answer
270 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
182 views

Expansion of the universe and strain

From cosmological models that involve expansion of the universe, can we not say that there are ever increasing tidal forces felt by solid bodies? If so, the material in solid bodies like metal ...
1
vote
1answer
262 views

How widespread is the meme “QM is counterintuitive” in academic physics? [closed]

I have recently entered university — studying CS — and I have spoken to many physics students on campus. Most of these — when propmted — will gladly proclaim that QM is ...
1
vote
2answers
631 views

What Is The Difference Between The Maths That Physicists Use And The Maths On A Typical Mathematics Degree

Cross-posted to Math.SE here. Physicists are widely respected for using and sometimes even inventing mathematics yet physicists study Physics which is a subject in its own right. So surely someone ...
0
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1answer
112 views

Does physics address the topic of consciousness?

Does physics address the topic of consciousness? For instance, does physics say anything about how it might arise or what might be its qualitative properties? I'm wondering because it's interesting ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Physical structures that trap information

I labeled this question "soft" because it might not make any sense. Anyway, what I'm wondering is if there's a notion in physics that deals with the ability of matter to trap information. For ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Finding a paper about error analysis in DNA sequencing in solid state nanopores using entropy meta-heuristics

I attended a talk at the APS March Meeting in Baltimore with the following abstract: http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/MAR13/Event/186412 I have been trying to find a paper that covers the topic of ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

Why do humans like to break the second law of thermodynamics? [closed]

Roughly speaking, Entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. However as humans, we tend to do the complete opposite. For instance, in a home if a painting that is hanging on the wall is ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Why Counterclockwise starts from East?

In vector lessons, we have counterclockwise angle of rotation of the vector starts from East. "The direction of a vector is often expressed as a counterclockwise angle of rotation of the vector about ...
4
votes
2answers
163 views

How do people historically have come to use the Yang-Mills theory in physics?

There are many books, in which Yang-Mills theory is introduced "just like that". But I didn't find some book with set of historical arguments, which had led people to using it in quantum field theory. ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Online physics notes for graduate level topics [duplicate]

I am sorry if the question is not welcome here. I asked this question after getting inspired by J.S Milne's stupendous notes on a wide range of grad/research level areas of Pure Mathematics, which ...
-1
votes
1answer
144 views

Does a fundamental principle require specific concepts? [closed]

The angular momentum principle is a fundamental principle. So it can explain a large variety of phenomenon. Doesn't it need concepts like center of mass also for explaining phenomenon? Or just the ...
1
vote
1answer
412 views

How to learn physics? [duplicate]

I am an engineering student (CSE) in India..But recently I have developed a strong love to physics..I want to learn physics and understand it in deep..I know physics is the search of deep fundamental ...
-4
votes
1answer
164 views

A ballpark figure on physicists [closed]

1) Out of the 7 billion+ people alive today, around how many have earned a PhD in physics? 2) Around how many physicists are working today? 3) Around how many physicists are being added to the work ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Prequisite for the Feynman lectures? [duplicate]

It obviously requires single- and multi-variable calculus and linear algebra, but what else? And where do you suggest to get that background from?this isn't a duplicate because I'm for the math needed ...
2
votes
0answers
83 views

Differential Equations - Waves (Physics self-study suggestions) [closed]

I apologize ahead of time, in case this post is not allowed. After taking a few courses at a community college, I've taken the fall 2013 semester off (I was accepted into a university for the spring ...
-2
votes
2answers
160 views

does time exist in space or does space exist in time [duplicate]

Does time exist in space or does space exist in time? Alternatively, perhaps both are independent existences? Another possibility is that this question is beyond the capacities of the human mind.
0
votes
1answer
121 views

About units and plural form

The plural form of physical units are always confusing me. I asked some senior students, some of them said we need to use plural form of units but some said units are always singular. For example, 1 ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Which physics subjects should a math major follow if s/he's interested in Smart Grid Networks?

I study mathematics and I would like to work on Smart Grid Networks in the (near) future. I would like to do so by applying optimization theory, percolation theory, Markov chains and more to problems ...
2
votes
5answers
345 views

Why mathematical equations can describe this world? [closed]

Since I want to understand the world, I learn physics from textbooks. But I feel there is a gap between the textbook and the world. I do not know why the equations in the textbook can control the ...
0
votes
0answers
74 views

What kind of physics topics exist? [duplicate]

The question says everything I want to know, but for more details: I enjoy studying physics but the problem is that I can't find any information with a summary of all physics topics, collected ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

What does one need to learn to become a experimental particles physicist? [closed]

I know one needs E&M, classical, quantum, statmech at the graduate level. But what more does one need? Are quantum field theory, relativistic QM, advanced math needed? or just an advanced course ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Are there examples of online physics collaboration similar to polymath for mathematicians?

When it comes to maths collaboration online, the mathematicians seem to be very well organised. A recent example is Polymath8 from Terence Tao's blog: The main objectives of the polymath8 project, ...
1
vote
2answers
240 views

Why are diffraction gratings not called interference gratings?

It seems to me that diffraction gratings are completely described by the double slit experiment-why then is it called a diffraction grating?
3
votes
3answers
207 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Helping/explanatory notes for Landau&Lifschitz Physics Course [duplicate]

I've recently restored my interest on theoretical physics (I have a master degree in Electrical Engineering) and began my study with first volume of the Physics Course by Landau and Lifshitz. This is ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Any projects to build a telescope in space?

Like in the title. With E-ELT we are pushing the limit of what we can build on the ground. With JWST we are pushing the limit of what can we launch into space. So instead, why don't we launch tools ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Books for learning Mathematics in Physics? [duplicate]

Currently I'm doing Advanced Classical Mechanics courses. I'm finding it hard to understand due to the lack of knowledge in linear algebra, multi variable calculus and other chapters. Can anyone ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

A set of problems for “The Theoretical Minimum” Stanford course [duplicate]

I'm really excited by an opportunity to watch Leonard Susskind's course "The Theoretical Minimum". However, I couldn't find any physics problems on the website, and I'm a little bit wary of just ...
1
vote
2answers
170 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

What do you call the period after sunrise when the sky is bright?

At sunrise, the sky isn't actually up in the sky yet. Twilight occurs before sunrise, then at sunrise the leading part of the sun crosses the horizon. But, the sky isn't bright yet. It takes some time ...
7
votes
4answers
494 views

Church-Turing hypothesis as a fundamental law of physics

The Church-Turing hypothesis says one can not build a computing device which has more computing power (in terms of computability) than the abstract model of Turing machine. So, there is something in ...
1
vote
0answers
188 views

Good place/supervisor for PhD in Theory of Condensed matter [closed]

I am currently finishing my undegraduate degree in physics and would like to do PhD in Theory of Condensed Matter field. Could you give advice on which are good groups/supervisors in the field. ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

Celestial Time-Keeping and Navigation

Say, for sake of argument, someone was randomly transported in time and space. Would it be possible for them to determine their location on Earth and the current time using just observations of the ...
1
vote
2answers
189 views

Should we necessarily express the dimensions of a physical quantity within square brackets? [duplicate]

For example, should we write the dimension of mass, e.g. $\mathrm{kg}$ as $[M]$ or is it enough to write it as $M$?
0
votes
3answers
259 views

Measuring speed of a vehicle

I'm very primitive with my thought. So please help if you can in layman terms with an answer to this question. Here we go- by using a street power pole as the source responder, is it possible to read ...
19
votes
8answers
1k views

Why is there a size limitation on animals?

Why is there a size limitation on human/animal growth? Assuming the technology exists for man to grow to 200 feet high, it's pretty much a given that the stress on the skeletal structure and joints ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Does magnetism affect corrosion?

Supposing there is an iron nail that is left to rust, if we compare the time it takes to rust with that of a magnetized iron nail, will there be any difference in the time of corrosion (assuming other ...
1
vote
1answer
110 views

What cause scientists to study Black Body Radiation?

After spending hours understanding what exactly Black Body radiation and Ultraviolet catastrophe is, I cannot help myself asking what was the reason that make scientists such as Wilhelm Wien and Max ...
7
votes
2answers
260 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
307 views

Would a sea level rise (on the other side of the Earth) if you would dip your finger into the ocean?

(I'm not a physicist & I hope this question isn't too basic/lame) The question says it all & assuming: No atmosphere No Earth rotation Not a single object in the ocean(s) Ignore all other ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

Material to read before taking College Physics 1? [duplicate]

I'm transferring to a 4-year university from a 2-year college. I earned a Computer Science A.S., but must now combine Computer Science with Advanced Physics for my B.S. I'm actually very excited for ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

Education : Students devising and solving their own problems [closed]

I apologize in advance for the nature of this question. I have been thinking lately of methods to increase the quality of my self-study. I have been meaning, but never actually got to, in addition ...
7
votes
1answer
462 views

Educational physics stories with a funny punchline [closed]

As a physicist, when I'm giving lectures or during colloquiums, I usually find it necessary to have some appropriate and related jokes in hand. All of the best teachers have some, and they use them ...
0
votes
2answers
156 views

What is the required prerequisite knowledge of QM, for starting QFT?

As a physics bsc student, I have a very limited knowledge of QM: Dirac formalism, Schrodinger equation and simple solutions (oscillators, particle in a given potential, hydrogen-like atom etc). There ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Canonical everyday-life example of a technology that could not work without humans mastering QM in analogy to the application of GR in GPS?

The GPS is a very handy example in explaining to a broad audience why it is useful for humanity to know the laws of general relativity. It nicely bridges the abstract theory with daily life ...
0
votes
1answer
272 views

Are Lagrangians and Hamiltonians used by Engineers?

Analytical Mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian) are useful in Physics (e.g. in Quantum Mechanics) but are they also used in application, by engineers? For example, are they used in designing bridges ...
2
votes
4answers
133 views

Suggestions of a non-linear example for a small research project on numerical solution of ODEs?

I'm a first year undergrad and I'm doing a small research extension on numerically solving ODEs. I have done the main ODE course at my university, as well as physics. The second part of the project ...
5
votes
0answers
82 views

An approachable example of a field with a “mass gap”

Preamble: I have come to believe that alot of difficulties in explaining physics to people of all levels comes from the relatively mundane idea of a wave equation with a mass gap $$\left(-\partial^2_t ...
0
votes
0answers
60 views

What is the most important unsolved problem in physics? [duplicate]

there are a list for unsolved problems in physics but which one is the most important unsolved problem in physics?