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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

-2
votes
0answers
20 views

Book on thermodynamics for International Physics Olympiad? [duplicate]

I'm a junior in high school studying for the IPhO and I've started learning thermodynamics as part of my preparation. I have a guide to the exam that says things like this will be tested: Carnot ...
-3
votes
0answers
18 views

Books for students [duplicate]

Can any one please suggest me books for physics. I need a book for good theory and concept . And a book for practice , it should contain some solved questions. The both the books should contain ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

High School Physics What to Do [duplicate]

I am an aspiring physicist in high school and I would like to know ways to get involved. Of course, it would look great for potential physics colleges, but I really want to understand physics better. ...
-5
votes
2answers
77 views

Soft question - Why do theoretical physics ? and what is its motivation? [on hold]

Okay some background - I am a Theoretical physics graduate student (and i would go even further calling myself a math person) and quite recently I have been into this question and am finding it hard ...
1
vote
3answers
635 views

Is net work and total work same?

According to my text book Total Work = Delta Kinetic Energy = KEf - KEi But then work is defined to be dot product of Force (vector) and Displacement (vector). Also to my knowledge work is ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

What is the name of basis states of bulk k.p Hamiltonian?

A k.p Hamiltonian for a bulk material can be represented by 8x8 matrix in basis of $|S\uparrow\rangle$, $|S\downarrow\rangle$, $|X\uparrow\rangle$, $|Y\uparrow\rangle$, $|Z\uparrow\rangle$, ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Notation of integrals

Hi I am relatively new to quantum mechanics. I encountered a certain use of notation which I am curious about, I will provide the context and question now: We have the basis $\{ | \vec{r} \rangle \} ...
-3
votes
1answer
64 views

Writing Tensor in LaTeX [closed]

How can I write this in LaTeX? Each time I am trying to write it down the compilers is showing me error for multiple subscription.
3
votes
1answer
240 views

What causes charge buildup in a cloud before a lightning storm?

I am curious what causes the charge build up in a cloud before lightning occurs. I have seen in a few places such as this, that the process is not fully understood. Is this some form of static ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

How to convert from overtone to harmonics and vice versa?

I was given this question: If the pipe length in a tube is 1.9 m, at the air temperature inside the tube is 28 °C, determine the fundamental frequency of the note played, fourth harmonic and the ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

Linear Algebra for Quantum Physics

A week ago I asked people on this site what mathematical background was needed for understanding Quantum Physics, and most of you mentioned Linear Algebra, so I decided to conduct a self-study of ...
3
votes
0answers
45 views

Physical Interpretation of the Graph of the Legendre Transform?

See Making Sense of the Legendre Transform and Legendre Transforms for Dummies. Look at the following diagram from the first link: I was trying to think of the simplest example to interpret this ...
-1
votes
2answers
78 views

Is electromotive force really a force? [duplicate]

As far the definition goes emf of electromotive force is basically potential difference. It even has dimensions of potential. Then why is it called a force?
3
votes
0answers
118 views

How are these modern, sexy physics figures made? [closed]

I am curious to know how the figures in these popular introductory physics textbooks are made. As examples of what I mean, see the posted figures and my comments, all from various editions of Serway ...
4
votes
2answers
89 views

What S means in S-duality?

As I know, there are many dualities related to S-duality. For example, Montonen-Olive duality, Seiberg duality. and so on. so, I wonder that what "S" means in the term "S-duality". If this is a stupid ...
-2
votes
1answer
243 views

Why there are constant numbers in the universe? [closed]

Why the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is always the constant $\pi$? Moreover many of you know better about golden ratio $\phi$, Euler's number e, and many other constants. How ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

The scope of physics, as taught in modern times

I am asking this question based on my recent experience as a physics major at a well-known school of science and engineering. My basic question is, Why does the field of physics (at least at an ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

What is beyond Gamma Rays and Radiowaves in the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

The electromagnetic spectrum is commonly refered to as consisting of; Radio-waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Visible Light, Ultraviolet, X-rays, Gamma Rays - of increasing frequency from left to right. ...
12
votes
1answer
518 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
1answer
51 views

Quantum teleportation and macroscopic objects

Purely speculative. If not allowed, I'll delete. If quantum teleportation was scalable to macroscopic objects, I assume it would require an amount of matter at the destination, equal to the amount of ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Physical intuition for higher order derivatives

Could somebody give me an intuitive physical interpretation of higher order derivatives (from 2 and so on), that is not related to position - velocity - acceleration - jerk - etc?
0
votes
0answers
18 views

2-D Ising model temperature of equilibrium [duplicate]

I have simulated 2-D Ising model in C#, but my scatter plot for magnetization versus temperature is an decreasing line (you know that the correct plot decreases quickly in a temperature near 2.3). ...
1
vote
2answers
422 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
938 views

Meaning of the word “Moment”?

This question is more of a question about the origin of a physical term moment used in many contexts. My question is about the linguistic or historical meaning of the word "moment". Please don't ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

What is gate symmetry?

I just read this interesting interview with Frank Wilczek and he talks a couple of times about gate symmetry, without ever defining the term. This isn't a term I've come across, and google throws up ...
-1
votes
1answer
50 views

Sequence of topics for studying quantum theory (Research strategy) [duplicate]

I am trying to learn about the higher level basics of physics. I want to cover up all that is included in particle physics/quantum physics. Now being in high school, I only know partially about ...
3
votes
0answers
63 views

Self Learning Quantum Mechanics and QFT, how to? [closed]

I've searched the board and several threads were found, but they all were very old and closed. I'm interested in learning and understanding quantum mechanics, after that possibly also QFT. I have ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Why doesn't a glass french press shatter when boiling water is poured in?

When I was little, I accidentally shattered a glass cooking instrument due to applying far too drastic a temperature change to it. Since then, I've been a bit afraid of doing it again. Of late, I've ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Popular books on QM

After some discussions with my friend about some "popular" aspects of quantum mechanics, my friend asked me whether there exist any books that could convey the basic ideas in a non-technical way (my ...
40
votes
16answers
13k views

Comprehensive book on group theory for physicists?

I am looking for a good source on group theory aimed at physicists. I'd prefer one with a good general introduction to group theory, not just focusing on Lie groups or crystal groups but one that ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

How to consolidate what you've learned? [closed]

I'm reading through two books right now on the topics on quantum mechanics and particle physics. I'd like to know, how does one generally go back and consolidate what they've learned? There are ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Clear, coherent electromagnetism textbook [duplicate]

I have recently finished a year-long introductory undergraduate course on electromagnetism, but I did not get a very good sense of how everything fits together conceptually. Are there any good ...
16
votes
11answers
3k views

Physics the Why vs. How question?

I've been told that a physicist never asks why and must always ask how. Is this true? Have all discoveries in physics been due to asking how? or have some been discovered by asking why?
7
votes
3answers
512 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

Water maintains equal level in connected vessels. What is this property called? [closed]

How water maintains same level in connected tubes or vessels? Is this a specific property?
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Does the analogous saying: “matter is essentially 'condensed' energy” have any merit?

Einstein in his derivation of special relativity came upon the equivalence of energy and matter, and given the right circumstances, the relation can go either way - matter can become energy, and ...
0
votes
2answers
131 views

How are unitary matrices and unitary random matrices associated with physics or quantum mechanics? [closed]

Please forgive my ignorance, my back ground is not physics. I am looking for distance measure between two unitary matrix (for my work). So my starting point is where else unitary matrix is ...
-1
votes
2answers
106 views

Disproving the mathematical universe hypothesis [closed]

The mathematical universe hypothesis is claimed by Lee Smolin to be falsifiable: [...] it is easy to disprove the mathematical-universe hypothesis. Simply exhibit one property of the natural world ...
12
votes
4answers
5k views

What happens when we cut objects?

What is the role of the molecular bonds in the process of cutting something? What is the role of the Pauli exclusion principle, responsible for the "hardness" of matter? Moreover, is all the energy ...
3
votes
0answers
31 views

Lab equipment - where to start [closed]

I've started to seriously study physics on my own, using various resources such as edX courses etc. However I believe that carrying out experiments will help me gain a deeper understanding of the ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

What is geomagnetic text? [closed]

What is meant by the term "GEOMAGNETIC TEXT"? I googled it but could not find any information about it. My textbook mentioned it as some kind of reference book and tells that calculated magnetic field ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Understanding the mathematical terms in Physics [closed]

I understand well only when I get a physical picture of the concept. Is it good? or should I change.
-2
votes
2answers
94 views

What causes the expansion of space? [closed]

What is causing space to expand? Is it due to some kind of innate property or is it due to some force? I did a google search on this and found lots of articles explaining that space is expanding ...
1
vote
1answer
261 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
84 views

Could I create a banana? [closed]

As I understand it, until such time as stars were formed and heavier elements could be created, there was just hydrogen and helium, plus trace amounts of lithium an beryllium. Question: if everything ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

How to teach/learn physics - reference request

I remember reading a paper (or a transcript of a talk) which describes the process of learning/teaching physics as a landing on a planet. In order to find a suitable place to land, you need to orbit ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Note and homework organization [closed]

this is my first post here so please forgive any errors! I am currently in a mechanics class and having a little trouble trying to figure out how I should structure my lecture notes and my homework. I ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Confusion about the use of the term “Phase Space” in Strogatz text

I've just started learning about Hamiltonian mechanics, and from the definition given in Taylor's classical mechanics, phase space must always have an even dimension. However, I recall from reading ...
1
vote
1answer
121 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 ...
0
votes
5answers
425 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 ...