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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5
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4answers
527 views

Entropy as an arrow of time

From what I understand, entropy is a concept defined by the experimentalist due to his ignorance of the exact microstate of a system. To say the number of accessible microstates $W$ of the universe is ...
4
votes
1answer
505 views

Way to become a physicist [duplicate]

I am a class 9 student in India. I want to become a physicist. What should I study after class 10? What are my options for colleges and universities? What should I do after my education? What are the ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Chemistry from a physical perspective [duplicate]

I'm currently learning chemistry for the first time, and loving it. I have a reasonably good physics and maths background and it's great to see things like spherical harmonics in quantum mechanics ...
3
votes
2answers
106 views

How to deal with the notation of a function $f$ vs its value $f(x)$ in Physics?

This doubt is very silly, but anyway, I think it's worth asking. The problem is: when we work with mathematics, in many situations we want to consider sets $A$ and $B$ and functions $f : A \to B$. ...
5
votes
2answers
493 views

What is the significance of Lie groups $SO(3)$ and $SU(2)$ to particle physics?

I was hoping someone could give an overview as to how the Lie groups $SO(3)$ and $SU(2)$ and their representations can be applied to describe particle physics? The application of Lie groups and their ...
0
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0answers
65 views

Orbital motion (Mechanics) [duplicate]

I am a student in Mechanical department and I took today a lesson with a title of Orbital motion. I need a good mechanics reference that discusses this topic.
3
votes
2answers
621 views

Equation of everything

Is this equation in the image true? Can you give some topics that I can cover the equation.
2
votes
0answers
67 views

How would Einstein's later years have been different with modern computers? [closed]

This is a historical question partly, and maybe too broad for this site, but would require some familiarity with modern physics research practice so hopefully appropriate here. Einstein's later ...
-2
votes
1answer
93 views

Do Physics concepts build on top of other concepts?

I am taking a calculus based physics class and I am struggling. I am wondering if I do not understand some concepts, will I be unable to understand future concepts introduced in the same class? In ...
0
votes
1answer
184 views

How to know if something is a primitive concept, a law, a definition or a theorem

Some basic Physics books are often misguiding in the sense that they don't make clear whether something is a primitive concept, a law, a definition or a theorem. This is often a little confusing. I've ...
5
votes
2answers
265 views

Do I need to study the “Standard Model” before studying String Theory?

After this semester, I'll have a background up to a first course in QFT (first 5 or 6 chapters of Peskin and Schroeder). The next step in QFT will be something specific to the Standard Model ...
0
votes
4answers
204 views

Can physics (ever) explain intrinsic properties of nature? [closed]

I may be totally off with this quite abstract (?) question(s). But still, here are some closely related sub-questions: Is there a list of currently "known" intrinsic properties of nature? How ...
4
votes
3answers
653 views

What is the next step beyond quantum computation?

Assuming we develop quantum computers one day, what would be theoretically the next step? Would it be string-theory based computers? How would these computers differ performance-wise (ie what can they ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Key difference between 3D and 4D solutions

In many papers in theoretical physics especially in the more advanced theories, I notice that physicists solve problems in 3 dimensions (2 spatial+ 1 temporal). In some specific papers (I can't seem ...
4
votes
1answer
383 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
200 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
285 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
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
133 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
105 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
298 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
193 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
174 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. ...
-1
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
636 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
180 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
41 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
94 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 ...
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votes
2answers
173 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
189 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
94 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
466 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
76 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
383 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
101 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
279 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
323 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
49 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
84 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
54 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
39 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
238 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
195 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
607 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
206 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
176 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
248 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
466 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
2k 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
102 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 ...