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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4answers
353 views

Matrix mechanics for those with wave mechanics background

Just curious: Is there any book or resource that teaches matrix mechanics (quantum mechanics) only without wave mechanics stuff - meaning that the book assumes wave mechanics background.
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0answers
46 views

Undergraduate Math Major Wanting to Learn Physics [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations So I'm a Junior level math major. I've seen some abstract algebra, some differential geometry, and some lie theory. I'm currently working through ...
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5answers
2k views

Math or Physics degree?

I am hoping to become a physicist focusing mainly on the theoretical side in the future. I am trying to decide whether to go for a physics or math undergrad course. Assuming that I am capable of ...
16
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1answer
594 views

Why is the partition function called ''partition function''?

The partition function plays a central role in statistical mechanics. But why is it called ''partition function''?
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1answer
227 views

Considering the wave function is not 'real', what is interfering?

I find the idea of the wave function being 'just' a collection of numbers (probabilities) quite alluring, and elegant in explaining away the whole 'collapse' business (see Luboš' answer to this ...
3
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1answer
687 views

What is the difference between infrared heat and “regular” heat?

In Feynman's terms temperature is the speed at which atoms are 'jiggling'. Now, let's suppose I've just eaten a sizable dinner, and my body temperature just got a tad up. Am I emitting more photons in ...
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0answers
83 views

Searching for a specific Feynman quote [closed]

Pardon that this is strictly speaking not a question about physics but about a quote about physics, but I'm not sure where else to turn to. A while back I read a quote by Feynman in which he says ...
1
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2answers
141 views

Physics and what it means [closed]

I got into a debate with a friend about the meaning of physics and its purpose, he is the sort who will test you and if you get it wrong it somehow gratifies his own self-reflection and self-worth. ...
1
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1answer
280 views

Problem book in Quantum mechanics with emphasis on physical(ly relevant) problems [duplicate]

I am a second year undergraduate and studying quantum mechanics from sakurai's 'Modern Quantum Mechanics'. Is it a good idea to solve problems from sakurai, which are mostly mathematical in nature? I ...
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3answers
242 views

Explanation for classic mechanics puzzle

I'm trying to figure out a nice way to describe to a kid the physics behind these experiments: Assuming ideal conditions, we have a small boat with a sale, close to a lake's shore and a fan fixed on ...
3
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3answers
665 views

What should a physics undergrad aspiring to be a string theorist learn before grad school?

The question I guess is pretty clear. I am a physics undergrad wishing to pursue research in quantum gravity(string theory?). What are the subjects I should learn other than the usual compulsory ...
6
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1answer
333 views

Mathematical concept of supersymmetry

I wish to study supersymmetry in field theory(sometime in december). However, I am quite not sure what is needed for its study. In supersymmetry, I just want to get the mathematical idea, such as its ...
5
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2answers
213 views

How to learn celestial mechanics?

I'm a PhD student in math and am really excited about celestial mechanics. I was wondering if anyone could give me a roadmap for learning this subject. The amount of information about it on the ...
3
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1answer
622 views

How do I learn higher level physics? [closed]

I'm a chemical engineering student (just completed BS and am started the PhD program), but I'm very interested in particle physics as a hobby. I'm dismayed though with the sheer amount of information ...
1
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1answer
246 views

Would someone who is only interested in string theory benefit from working out the problems in Jackson electrodynamics?

This is a soft question. I'm not sure if it is appropriate for this site. Would someone who is only interested in string theory benefit from working out the problems in Jackson electrodynamics? I ...
5
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2answers
1k views

How to choose a suitable topic for PhD in Physics? [closed]

After completion of graduate courses when a student is supposed to start real research in Physics, (to be more specific, suppose in high energy physics), how does one select the problem to work on? ...
1
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0answers
109 views

Finding a research area with a not-too-steep learning curve [closed]

In theoretical physics, I'm torn between high-energy and condensed matter physics. Is it true that the former has a much steeper learning curve than the latter, assuming I don't pick a well-trodden ...
0
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1answer
153 views

Recommended scientific book [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Books that every non-physicist should read I am a student of mathematics, however, physics also has a great impact on my studying. I like reading physical book for broad ...
4
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5answers
691 views

Regarding string theory: how to refute the argument “if it cannot be tested experimentally then it is not science”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What differs string theory from philosophy or religion? I find a lot of people disbelieve in string theory, saying that since it cannot be tested experimentally then it ...
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1answer
213 views

The electron jumps and lets loose photons

Where is the source of the photon. If the photon propagates from within the electrons transit does this point to some sort of field? Does the energy come from a boundary being broken in laymens ...
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4answers
170 views

Why does physics not attempt to explain observations in addition to describing them?

Physics are there to describe observations of things' behaviours to recreate them or basically use nature for your goals. Which is not enough. Why do physicists not try to explain, why things are the ...
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2answers
1k views

Is it safe to study from MIT and Berkeley course series, or they contain wrong information?

After surveying most of the universities introductory physics courses, I found none is using Berkeley physics books or MIT physics books as textbooks. All are using Halliday, or Serway and the like. ...
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11answers
14k views

How do you start self-learning physics [closed]

I think this question has its place here because I am sure some of you are "self-taught experts" and can guide me a little through this process. Considering that : I don't have any physics scholar ...
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2answers
315 views

Advice on classes: Theoretical Mechanics vs E&M II

So I'm having a tough time deciding between courses next semester. I'm a rising 3rd year undergrad math major whose goal is to get a solid understanding of theoretical physics through advanced math ...
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3answers
959 views

Can I study Quantum Computing or Quantum Mechanics with an Engineering background?

I am currently studying Electrical & Electronic Engineering. I wish to pursue Quantum Mechanics or Quantum Computing as my research subject. Is it possible for me to do my M.Tech. and then pursue ...
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3answers
2k views

PhD Research Areas in String Theory

I'm thinking of applying to do a PhD in String Theory, starting in September 2013. I'm gradually learning more about the subject through external reading, but still most papers are impenetrable! Could ...
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0answers
73 views

In positivism, what counts as empirical? [closed]

In positivism, what counts as empirical? Is it the readings of instruments, or the notes on a notebook or computer, or is it the sense perceptions of an experimenter? There certainly is the case we ...
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0answers
46 views

How to make strong base for fundamental physics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations How to make strong base for fundamental physics? I want to learn the fundamentals of physics. But in a simple manners with very general examples. ...
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1answer
513 views

Areas of computer science required for quantum computing

What knowledge of computer science should I have, to be able to pursue research in quantum computing. I am a Physics undergrad and would take three core courses in QM, before the completion of my ...
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4answers
266 views

Is this a valid understanding of Newtonian mechanics?

This is a conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. What the laws mean, how we know they're true, etc. I'm looking for criticism. I know this is really border line on the "don't ask questions ...
0
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2answers
189 views

Funny recurrence in escape velocity calculation of some planets

If we calculate the escape velocity of the not gaseous planets in solar system (mercury, venus, earth, mars...) is it possible to show that the escape velocity measured in Km/h is $E. V. \sim 2 \pi ...
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0answers
89 views

Prerequisites for QFT? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Book recommendations Is there a book that covers everything you need to know (and possibly more) before starting a course on QFT. Alternatively, I need a list of what ...
3
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0answers
64 views

Are scalars starting at around 1300 MeV analogous to some kind of sound in the vacuum glue?

Are scalars starting at around 1300 MeV analogous to some kind of sound in the vacuum glue? Background: There are scalars starting at around 1300 MeV which are probably some combination of ...
3
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4answers
262 views

List of Physical Toys [closed]

There should be a list of toys considered "physical", which demonstrate or make you think over certain physical principles/phenomena. And of course which could just amaze. Related question at MSE is ...
4
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2answers
251 views

Standard notation reference

I'm searching for a compresensive and somewhat complete list of suggested standard notation (the symbols one ought to use in (theoretical) physics and also mathematics). Is there such a collection, ...
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1answer
350 views

Mathematical description in GR

I have heard a phrase somewhere, which can be reduced to the following two points: 1) There exists a handy and underused mathematical apparatus applicable to GR, comparing to which tensor calculus is ...
7
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6answers
515 views

Why are the physical sciences described perfectly by mathematics?

Why are the physical sciences described perfectly by mathematics?
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1answer
170 views

Higgs Boson - only little over GCSE physics? [closed]

According to http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/jul/04/higgs-boson-discovered-live-coverage-cern, the reporter says that higgs boson things are little over GCSE physics. So, English learn a ...
6
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6answers
3k views

Can a scientific theory ever be absolutely proven?

I personally cringe when people talk about scientific theories in the same way we talk about everyday theories. I was under the impression a scientific theory is similar to a mathematical proof; ...
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4answers
2k views

What is meant by “Nothing” in Physics/Quantum Mechanics(QM)?

I am not a phycisist, so please forgive my ignorance. This is related to my posts and this. I am trying to undertand what is meant by the term "Nothing" in physics or Quantum Mechanics since it seems ...
2
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2answers
515 views

Naive question on quantum mechanics and uncertainty principle

This is a follow up on this question, the answer of which points towards Quantum Mechanics. As stated I am not a phycisist so please forgive my ignorance. I will try to understand the issue by going ...
1
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1answer
4k views

Negative and positive energy and Hawking [closed]

I don't have any physics background (except the material we did in high school-long time ago). I was watching a documentary with Stephen Hawking about whether God created the Universe and I could not ...
0
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1answer
142 views

What would be the requirement to learn matrix mechanics?

What would be the requirement to learn matrix mechanics? More specifically, what math do I need? Can anyone recommend me a book that covers all maths needed for matrix mechanics?
0
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1answer
339 views

Variations of double slit experiment with their results to look up

Are there variations of double slit experiment with their results to look up? for example besided the two parallel slits, having two holes or two slits at 90 degree angles?
6
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3answers
377 views

Non equilibrium statistical mechanics

A question kept bothering me about the Non-Equilibrium Statistical mechanics, can somebody give a simple description of how one approaches this subject. Is there a exact formalism, as we have for ...
4
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2answers
1k views

What would it feel like to touch a frictionless surface

Assume there is a completely frictionless surface. Would touching such a surface be possible? If so, what would it feel to the touch?
2
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2answers
322 views

Has the use of the holographic principle of string theory in condensed matter physics silenced the skeptics? [closed]

It seems to me that the use of string theory in calculations of strongly-interacting matter in condensed matter physics is an example of the theory being on the right track. And then there's the ...
5
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2answers
425 views

Current scope of Chaos theory and non-linear dynamics?

I am a physics undergrad interested in stuff like dynamical systems, chaos theory etc. Is there ongoing research in these fields? I am talking about pure research and not applications to things like ...
4
votes
3answers
296 views

How to tell whether a physics theory is beautiful?

A lot of physicists would have agreed that General Relativity is a beautiful theory. My question is that, what really makes a physics theory beautiful? Is there any criteria that a theory must ...
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3answers
355 views

shifting from mathematics to physics

I am a postgraduate in mathematics. I studied physics during my B.Sc.studies.I want to go for further studies in physics particularly in theoretical physics. I am in a job and cant afford regular ...