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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1answer
31 views

Voltage and volume, same SI symbol, how to discern between the two? [on hold]

Both are SI quantities that use the same symbol, namely $V$. It annoys me that I might be working with the wrong unit even though it's easy to see if it's voltage or volume by looking to the whole ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

What physical properties can we measure most accurately?

As far as I am aware, frequency is the most accurate physical property we can currently measure. This has led us to very high standards of experimental verification of e.g QED predictions and the CMB ...
1
vote
1answer
154 views

Wormholes and the illusion of time?

I was watching a video on Youtube by Brian Greene, "the illusion of time."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-u1aaltiq4 In that video, he introduces to me the idea of a "brane," or a slice of the ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

What subtopics should I read in order to understand practical electromagnetism? [on hold]

I apologize if this question might be not exactly on-topic here. But it seems related enough, and I found no better place to ask. I'm a student that is fairly behind in his course. I have already ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Is it a good time to start or I need to work on some more subjects? [on hold]

Is it a good time to start string theory when I did a course on Quantum field theory and on standard model but not the renormalization theory? I used following books: Some chapters of Peskin Some ...
8
votes
1answer
366 views

Reference Request: Classical Mechanics with Symplectic Reduction

I am trying to find a supplement to appendix of Cushman & Bates' book on Global aspects of Classical Integrable Systems, that is less terse and explains mechanics with Lie groups (with dual of Lie ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

Difference between maths in physics degree and maths in a maths degree [closed]

I hope this question belongs on this site. If not, please feel free to recommend another site to move it to. Basically, I was wondering what are the main differences between the maths you learn in a ...
42
votes
6answers
4k views

What physics paper would a high school student be able to read?

I'm looking for a physics paper which a typical high school student who is new to physics would be able to read and grasp the general idea of the purpose, setup and results, if not the details. To be ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Laplace-Beltrami vs d'Alembert operators in flat vs curved space-time

I am confused with the difference between Laplace-Beltrami (LB) and d'Alembert operators in flat/curved space-time. d'Alembert operator in flat space-time (Minkowski) is defined as $$\Box= ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Lab report format help? [closed]

So I'm a second year university physics student, and I keep getting credits for my lab reports. I feel I do a lot more than a 5 is worth. Analyse the shape of the data, theories that correspond to ...
1
vote
2answers
31 views

What does excitation in an atom mean?

This is not regarding the definition of excitation itself. What I'm having trouble with is the difference between "electron excitation" and "atom excitation". When I electron inside the atom gets ...
4
votes
1answer
181 views

Model Selection in Physics [closed]

My high-level understanding of the scientific method is that it can be summarized in the following steps, in no particular order: Make conjectures & hypotheses (theory) Make predictions ...
0
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0answers
54 views

What is the meaning of symbols $\delta f$ and $\delta^2f$?

Professor was using these symbols to derive the continuity equation. He defined the infinitesimal mass as $\delta^2m=\rho \delta V$ and the mass that leaves some closed boundary $\partial V$ as ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Statistical Mechanics vs Statistics

Just how much of a representation of statistics do we get in a statistical mechanics curriculum. What are some of the useful facets of stat not in stat mech/quantum mech that physicists should really ...
5
votes
1answer
212 views

Physical intuition/interpretation of fractional derivatives/integrals?

Oftentimes, when the derivative and integral operations are introduced within the realm of physics, we are taught some physical interpretation of them: Velocity is the derivative of position ...
0
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
42 views

What is nuclide notation referring to? Only the nucleus or the whole atom?

sorry that this is an easy question but I am just a bit confused about nuclide notation. When you say e.g. $^{240}_{94}\text{Pu}$, are you referring to the atom of $\text{Pu}$ or only its nucleus? It ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

What level of mathematics would I need to understand the physics of a black hole? [duplicate]

I recently went to go see the movie Interstellar and was awed by the visualizations of the wormhole and the black hole Gargantua. I read that noted physicist Kip Thorne was a consulting producer on ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

Square-Cube Law?

I've heard about something called the square-cube law. What is it? All I know of it is that it has something to do with mass of large objects and their gravitational influence.
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Journal for high school physics papers

I am currently a senior in high school. I have spent the past four years participating in physics research at a local lab. Are there any journals in which I as a high schooler can publish my research? ...
-3
votes
2answers
112 views

Using mega (=10^6) when writing by hand? [closed]

I just solved a problem which had answer 1.7*10^6 m (m=meters) If I wanted to write this using M=10^6 it would be 1.7 Mm, which if I write it by hand would look like "1.7 mm" which is confusing. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

Explain the notion of light/electromagnetic waves/photons to a non-physicist

A non-physicist asked me about special relativity. My explanations naturally were based on gedankenexperiments involving light. This forced the question: "What is light? It is particles, isn't? Or is ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

All I need to know to enter undergraduate studies in pure physics [closed]

I want to pursue pure physics after my secondary high school. I was wondering if I know all I need to know to get into this stream. So please list out all the topics I need to know before my ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Rain system movements and highways?

In my free time I sometimes enjoy watching the weather or radar and trying to predict how a rain system will move. Pretty often I notice that a small rain system or even a large one will congregate or ...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

Are the fundamental constants of nature independent?

Background: I am a layman and I just watched the video "Infinite Worlds: A Journey through Parallel Universes" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO4uzgiRHkE) featuring a discussion with Andrei Linde, ...
16
votes
11answers
32k views

How do you start learning physics by yourself? [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 ...
2
votes
1answer
171 views

What was Feynman's famous formula?

In Welton(1983), Memories of Feynman, Welton mentions two formulas which he denotes as Feynman's Famous Formula (FFF) and FFF #2. Which famous formulas is he talking about? Is he maybe talking about ...
1
vote
2answers
188 views

Correct terminology for combined kinematic and dynamic state

The kinematic state is defined as the position and orientation in space. The dynamic state is defined as the associated velocities. What is the correct terminology for the combined kinematic and ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

“Hollow Earth” like Theories for pedagogical porpuses [closed]

I recently encountered the Hollow Earth theory, and I realize that This kind of theories can be used to give a really interesting discussion of a physical law. For example, If we take the ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

How does the optimal-gear indicator work? [migrated]

Modern cars like BMW, Ford, Audi come with a system on the panel which tells the driver the next optimal gear to drive. How does it work ? What is the algorithm behind it? What data does it require ...
7
votes
5answers
769 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 ...
38
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is the harmonic oscillator so important?

I've been wondering what makes the harmonic oscillator such an important model. What I came up with: It is a (relatively) simple system, making it a perfect example for physics students to learn ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Are there computerized ontologies for Relativity and (Experimental) Physics? How to contribute?

As machines and automation can generally assist humanity in physical activities, and even exceed mere human capabilities, so, increasingly, also in tasks of reasoning. A basic component of the latter ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

Why isn't all of physics based on other rates of change [duplicate]

Define the jolt/jerk to be $$J(f)={{d^3 f} \over {dt^3}}$$ Why don't we use the concept of jolt more often considering that the change in acceleration is most definitely an important characteristic ...
0
votes
2answers
129 views

Naked Time ( Is there such a thing ?) [closed]

I have lately been concerned with time and whether or not it is an illusion. For argument's sake let's assume it is. Then time should stand on its own. Can anyone describe, (or point me to a paper ...
0
votes
1answer
14 views

Affects of static electricity on the heart

I have an electricity problem. I get shocked by just about everything. Metal, plastic, etc. flooring can be wood,tile, carpet,linoleum , it doesn't seem to matter. The ones that go through my ...
1
vote
0answers
87 views

What does it mean: “If you scream in Hilbert space, nobody will hear you!” [closed]

This question may not be appropriate for this site and if it so, sorry for that. Today, I have heard the following quote from one of my friends: If you scream in Hilbert space, nobody will hear ...
-1
votes
1answer
61 views

How do you become a theoretical physicist? [closed]

Is there a specific subject at university called "theoretical physics" or do you get a PhD in Physics and then if your job involves theory you are considered a theoretical physicist?
0
votes
1answer
61 views

What is “adjustable constant”?

This is quoted from A.P.French's Vibrations & Waves. Explicit differential form of linear harmonic oscillator is: $$ m\dfrac{d^2x}{dt^2} + kx = 0 \quad \& \quad \dfrac{1}{2} ...
7
votes
3answers
392 views

Why does the lake surface appear darker in some areas?

My question: What causes the surface of the lake to appear darker in some places? My take on the matter: Firstly, I don't dare to say it's fishe which cause it. Secondly, the dark surfaces move ...
3
votes
3answers
362 views

What would happen to me if I was in the LHC while it was running? [duplicate]

This is possibly a stupid question, but one I have been always wondering. What would happen to me if I was in the center of the Large hadron Collider while it was running? Would the energy of the beam ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I find a very old paper by W.L. Bragg from 1913?

I'm often looking for old physics papers that had a big impact on science (Nobel prize, for example). But I can't seem to find a lot of them. Is there a reason why some papers are not digitally ...
2
votes
2answers
69 views

What unit system does Fahrenheit belong to?

Wikipedia's page for Imperial Units does not list Fahrenheit. The corresponding page for SI Units lists Kelvin as an SI unit, and Celcius as a derived SI unit. This leads me to believe that ...
5
votes
4answers
292 views

How to find references from publications in the physics literature?

Coming from Computer Science, I'm a bit puzzled about the format of references in physics publications. They usually lack a title, which I'm usually using to locate a publication online (for obtaining ...
8
votes
3answers
875 views

Current scope of Chaos theory and non-linear dynamics? [closed]

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

Differential operators in curvilinear coordinates

In the appendix A of Griffith's Electrodynamics text, he cites Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds as a reference more a more complete treatment of taking the gradient, curl, divergence, and Laplacian in ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

How are weights and scales used by the public calibrated?

My physics teacher has a set of masses: things from 1 to 10 grams. My chemistry teacher has electronic balances that measures things in grams. In France, there is a block of metal we hope no one ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

What does a unit like $C^{1/5}$ or $kg^{1/2}$ physically mean?

I'm more of a math guy than a physics guy so bear with me.... In fractal geometry, fractals are considered to have fractional dimension. For instance an object such as the Koch curve has a fractal ...
21
votes
11answers
4k views

Books that develop interest & critical thinking among high school students

I heard about Yakov Perelman and his books. I just finished reading his two volumes of Physics for Entertainment. What a delightful read! What a splendid author. This is the exact book I've been ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles were called Majorana fermions?

Since a number of years, the field of superconductivity has a growing obsession with Majorana fermions. I wonder how far back we can go: When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles ...