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
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1answer
50 views

Prerequisites for Ptolemy's Almagest

I hope this is a valid question to ask on this website (since it's astronomy and not e.g. mechanics, I wasn't so sure). What prerequisites are needed for fully understanding Ptolemy's Almagest. Fully ...
1
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0answers
90 views

A-level electromagnetism experiments? [closed]

Does anybody know any A-level experiments investigating electromagnetism that can produce good data relatively simply?
31
votes
2answers
7k views

What are Stephen Hawking's main contributions to research-level physics?

Without a doubt, Stephen Hawking is the most famous living scientist; indeed, his public visibility in all of history seems to be rivaled only by Einstein and easily eclipses giants of physics such as ...
5
votes
1answer
318 views

“Topological” notions in physics

I've been trying to make sense recently of the usage of 'topological' in various fields of physics, and get sort of an intuition for what this means in context. This all boils down to my main question ...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ and $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$? [closed]

I'm French. I would like to know: How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ : "A scalar B" or "A dot B" ? How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$ : "A vectorial B", "A vector B", "A cross ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

Some books to bridge the gap before GR [duplicate]

I am extremely interested in GR, but somehow feel that the books I read are not really enough. Frankly, I find many question on this site and elsewhere completely bewildering, which makes me think ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Resources to learn about the Higgs theory at undergraduate level

As part of my studies at university, I am doing a project that aims to understand the foundations of the Higgs Mechanism and to ultimately attempt to convey it to an audience in a non technical ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

Defining creation and annihilation operators

Creation and annihilation operators can be defined in several different ways, some more general than others. We usually choose to denote by $a$ the annihilation operator and by $a^\dagger$ the ...
1
vote
2answers
110 views

How to understand “always create before we annihilate, not the other way around”?

On the book QFT in a Nutshell by A.Zee page 61 writes Always create before we annihilate, not the other way around. —Anonymous But in this Phys.SE question we are doing it the other way ...
0
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0answers
24 views

Limit Of Temperature [duplicate]

The last couple of days i have been thinking about temperature and heat and i thought : What happens to temperature if i continually supply a particle with energy? Then i thought at sometime i ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

What topics should I develop complete concepts in before I begin the derivation of GR? [duplicate]

I had just been trying to understand GR but i just cannot understand where some of the formula of field came from. Apparently all those initial formula are from Newtonian physics so please anyone ...
2
votes
0answers
61 views

Which scientists have managed to name their laws/terms after themselves? [closed]

It would be pretty vain for someone to name a scientific law, unit, or term after themselves. "Newtons" as the name for the measurement of force, for example, was adopted in 1948, so I don't expect ...
0
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1answer
84 views

What is the best way to understand Physics? [closed]

What is the best way to understand Physics?
2
votes
0answers
81 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
142 views

Has the Nobel committee mixed up this years prizes for Physics and Chemistry? [closed]

The title of the question is tongue-in-cheek but the question remains: How does the Nobel committee delineate the fields when awarding work which is of such an inter-disciplinary nature. The chemistry ...
2
votes
4answers
149 views

Should I always include units at every step?

I've seen some controversy when solving physical equations on whether to put units all the time after I insert a numerical value to a variable with dimensions or to put the final unit at the last ...
-1
votes
1answer
94 views

dark energy and expansion definition [closed]

I am trying to get a few key points correct regarding expansion and dark energy... Expansion: the Universe has been expanding continuously at different rates since the singularity that caused the ...
2
votes
4answers
407 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

Electron/positron annihilation lines in astrophysics

I have a reasonable understanding of electron/positron annihilation, in that it is a collision between a pair of particles, one matter and one antimatter, that generally produces gamma radiation. ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Simple modelling of seasonal variation of temperature?

I'm really curious about this: What is the simplest (or most simplified) differential equation that accounts for the variations of temperature throughout the year at some point on the northern ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Appearance of the recomposition of a given spectrum? [duplicate]

Given a visible spectrum, i.e. a function from the set of visible wavelengths into the set of intensities, I would like to see the color having this spectrum decomposition. Question: How can I do ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

Mathematical approximation to physics

Why is it often said that any mathematical theory is just an approximate theory of the universe? Wouldn't there be accurate mathematical structures repressing the physical entities of the universe ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Upcoming 'things to watch' in physics [closed]

What are the 'things to watch' in physics happening in the next year or so? E.g. A big astronomical event that happens only every n thousand years, or an experiment in particle physics which will ...
45
votes
7answers
8k views

What technology can result from such expensive experiment as undertaken in CERN?

I wonder what technology can be obtained from such very expensive experiments/institutes as e.g. undertaken in CERN? I understand that e.g. the discovery of the Higgs Boson confirms our understanding ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Acceleration format and interstellar units

Calculating with m/s$^2$ is very helpful when dealing with acceleration on the human range, as accelerating from rest at 4 m/s$^2$ for 3 seconds will give a velocity of 12 m/s. g is also a very ...
2
votes
0answers
194 views

Mathematical Prerequisites for QFT [closed]

I am curious about which areas of mathematics one should be comfortable with before learning QFT. I am familiar with the "learn-it-as-you-go" approach often advocated in physics, but would like to ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Mie theory “upper limit”?

I have read most often that objects experimented with in Mie theory are on a scale not much larger than the incident wavelength (usually a fiber of diameter $5$ microns with an incident wavelength of ...
0
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0answers
31 views

Resources on Solar Neutrino Physics

For a project I'm doing for an introductory Astrophysics course, I'm trying to understand the nuances of solar neutrino physics. However, most of what is said while explaining neutrino oscillations ...
0
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4answers
48 views

Can the term «shadow» pertain to anything else than light? [closed]

Can the term shadow pertain to anything else than light? Feel free to interpret this question in the widest sense possible.
0
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3answers
115 views

The study of the physical universe [closed]

If physics is the study of the physical universe, wouldn't that mean chemistry, biology, neuroscience, zoology, history, economics, sociology, etc, wouldn't they all be subfields of physics? I believe ...
2
votes
0answers
91 views

Really Struggling in electronics. What to do? [closed]

This is my first post so please go easy on me. Okay. Let me introduce myself. I am a first year undergrad CS student who has to study basic electronic course for one semester. As the title says, I am ...
1
vote
0answers
105 views

Doing theoretical physics after an engineering major? [closed]

Some background: I'm majoring in Electronics and Instrumentation engineering, but I want to pursue theoretical physics. I'm currently In my second year of undergrad engineering. I attend some physics ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

Why are some variables summed infinitesimally and others aren't?

This is something that has been bothering me and I hope the title kind of makes sense. It may be a stupid question but please be gentle. My question is, let's say we have current: $$I=\frac{dq}{dt}$$ ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of this “let there be light” joke?

Someone across the restaurant is wearing this shirt, and I certainly don't get it. Update Related: What does this quote about the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric tensor mean?
-2
votes
2answers
73 views

Is the physical design of the human beings the best possible? [closed]

The stature and design of the human body. Is it possible that the best physical structure belongs to a human being? If not. What are the flaws in it and what improvements could be done? Is there ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

The Thermodynamic Limit of Quantum Statistical Mechanics & Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory [closed]

The philosopher of physics Laura Reutsche argues in her book Interpreting Quantum Theories (review/summary here: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/9493/1/ruetsche-review.pdf ) that a "pristine" ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

Quantifier problems of equations in physics

Equations in physics are often written without quantifiers. For instance, from time to time we can see the equation $$E = mc^2$$ is casually written down. I am wondering shouldn't it be written ...
-2
votes
2answers
175 views

Ideas for high school physics paper, including simulations [closed]

I have to write, with two friends, a simulation based physics paper at school. The problem is, that will I am quite familiar with the concepts of calculus and algebra, my friends aren't. So, we could ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Norsk Hydro and heavy water - what was the perceived threat?

Through various raids and acts of sabotage during WWII, the Allies succeeded in preventing Germany from coming into possession of large quantities of heavy water produced by the Norsk Hydro plant in ...
1
vote
5answers
720 views

Physical applications of matrices and determinants

Other than notation devices, I don't see any direct application of matrices/determinants in physics. For example, they are just a different way to write a partial derivative and determinants find if ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

Im a high school finisher and I want to understand Physics theories [duplicate]

I have finished my A Levels (UK high school exam) , and I have studied Further Mathematics, Mathematics, and Physics in high school. I am really interested in learning about theories of Einstein, ...
3
votes
2answers
221 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

How can a biochemist become a physicist? [closed]

I am currently 22 years old, I graduated in Biochemistry and am now finishing my Master's in Bioengineering and Nanosystems, both with high grades. I've been thinking of leaving life sciences since ...
3
votes
2answers
697 views

List of the most fundamental equations of all Physics [closed]

On chapter 18 of "The Feynman Lectures on Physics Volume II: Mainly Electromagnetism and Matter", Richard Feynman presents a table which he says has "all that was known of fundamental classical ...
2
votes
0answers
167 views

Story about a mathematician, a dinner party, and the three-body problem

I remember dimly hearing a story, coincidentally also at a dinner party, and I was trying recently to track the details down with no success. I was hoping someone here might have also heard this story ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Is 'amp' a technically invalid term?

I've been told to use the term ampere in exams and class (I'm in high school), instead of amp as it's not a valid unit, although I've been using the amp for years along with all of my friends who do ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Rectifying incomplete popular notions in cosmology

In looking at the answers to this question regarding light from distant galaxies ever being visible to us: Expansion of the Universe, will light from some galaxies never reach us? I came across a ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Conversion of energy to matter or antimatter?

We all know that matter converts into energy, but will energy convert into matter? Does it form antimatter by converting? Illustrate me with example.