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
98 views

Is an electric lamp a transducer? [closed]

Silly thought. A transducer, by definition, is a device that converts variations in one form of energy to another. An electric lamp converts electricity into visible light - the brightness may vary ...
0
votes
1answer
194 views

What is the pause called at the apex of an object's trajectory?

My apologies for such a basic question--I am a musician, not a physicist. But I cannot anywhere find the word, if one exists, that describes that elegant pause of an object such as a ball, thrown ...
-3
votes
1answer
88 views

Didactics question (“teams and times”) [closed]

In sports it is commonplace to distinguish a "team" (as characterized by the players who took part in a match, playing together against another team), from the "score" (such as the final score of ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

How can we claim something violates some physical law, when so many physical laws have been postulated?

For example, Einstein postulated that the speed of light, c, is constant in all inertial frames of reference. Bohr postulated that electrons go around the atom in ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Walter Lewin Lectures in HD

I like the lectures by Walter Lewin 8.0x. However the quality of the videos is pretty bad. Is there any way (DVD, web,...) to get the lecture videos in a good quality, best in HD?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

What happens when we cut objects?

What is the role of the molecular bonds in the process of cutting something? What the one of the Pauli exclusion principle, responsible for the "hardness" of matter? Moreover, is all the energy ...
1
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4answers
390 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.
1
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0answers
51 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
17
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1answer
674 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''?
2
votes
1answer
240 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
votes
1answer
883 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
87 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
vote
2answers
154 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
vote
1answer
311 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
252 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
800 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
351 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
votes
2answers
241 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
votes
1answer
661 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
vote
1answer
263 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
votes
2answers
2k 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
vote
0answers
113 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
votes
1answer
163 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
votes
5answers
717 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
224 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
175 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 ...
2
votes
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. ...
12
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11answers
18k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
341 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
74 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 ...
0
votes
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. ...
7
votes
1answer
598 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
290 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
votes
2answers
196 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
100 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
votes
0answers
66 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
votes
4answers
274 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
votes
2answers
262 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
367 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 ...
8
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6answers
527 views

Why are the physical sciences described perfectly by mathematics?

Why are the physical sciences described perfectly by mathematics?
-3
votes
1answer
174 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
votes
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; ...
4
votes
4answers
3k 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
votes
2answers
562 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
vote
1answer
5k 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
votes
1answer
149 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
votes
1answer
386 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?