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56
votes
6answers
10k views

Can we theoretically balance a perfectly symmetrical pencil on its one-atom tip?

I was asked by an undergrad student about this question. I think if we were to take away air molecules around the pencil and cool it to absolute zero, that pencil would theoretically balance. Am I ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

Deducing instability growth rates from the Hamiltonian for the nonlinear schrodinger equation

Consider the following nonlinear Schrodinger equation (NLSE): $$A_t+iA_{xx}+i|A|^2A = 0$$ where $A$ is a complex valued function of $(x,t)$. A solution to this equation is $A=a_oe^{-ia_o^2t}$. We ...
1
vote
0answers
11 views

why can noise induce multistability, particularly in (bio)chemical systems

There are several instances that people claim that a system is monostable in a deterministic model, but when they consider stochastic models, from either master equations or Fokker-Planck equations, ...
6
votes
2answers
394 views

Is Dyson Sphere a stable construction?

Suppose that a star is encompassed by a Dyson Sphere. Do we need a position control system for the Dyson Sphere to keep its origin always aligned with the center of the star? Will it stay aligned ...
35
votes
3answers
5k views

Is it possible that every single isotope is radioactive, and isotopes which we call stable are actually unstable but have an extremely long half-life?

I've read that tellurium-128 has an half-life of $2.2 \times 10^{24}$ years, much bigger than the age of the universe. So I've thought that maybe every single isotope of every single atom are ...
1
vote
0answers
9 views

Recursion relations and stability analysis

I have a recursion relation in the form of the following two equations: $X_{t+1} = X_t + V_{t+1} \\ V_{t+1} = wV_t + cy(g-X_t)$ I want to write these two equations into a matrix form so that I can ...
-1
votes
2answers
133 views

Why are planets in unstable equilibrium in a stable orbit

It is well known that a planet in stable orbit is in unstable equilibrium. If e.g. the moon was just a few m/s slower in velocity, or a few m closer to the earth than it is, the gravity would ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Rayleigh-Taylor Instability dependence on acceleration direction

I'm trying to bolster my understanding of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, and I've gotten stuck on the point of which fluid (more or less dense) is being accelerated into the other. Cases of uniform ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

Vacuum stability in quantum field theory

What exactly do people mean when they talk about the scale dependence of the effective potential ($V$)? I explain the motivation for my question (and hence my confusion) below. Please correct me as ...
5
votes
1answer
56 views

Why is a hexagon such a stable shape for materials?

A hexagonal lattice is famously the shape of graphene, the source of the 2010 Nobel prize. The shape also shows up in beehives and in the basalt columns of Giant's Causeway in County Antrim. ...
1
vote
2answers
27 views

Notions of “confined” and “metastable” states?

What is the exact definition of terms "confined state" and "metastable state", in the context of quantum mechanics? Can we also have a "confined metastable state"? Can we somehow easily link these ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Is an elastic, gravitating object stable?

As I understand, an object can contract under its own gravitantional pull. Then as it does so, different parts of the object must move with some velocity. This in turn means that their relativistic ...
20
votes
4answers
5k views

Stability of rotation of a rectangular prism

I've noticed something curious about the rotation of a rectangular prism. If I take a box with height $\neq$ width $\neq$ depth and flip it into the air around different axes of rotation, some motions ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Coexistence at Lagrange points

I was wondering how precise the location of an object in a Lagrange point needs to be to maintain stability, since it seems that several natural objects (asteroids) exists together in some of these ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

MHD stability - boundary conditions

In Freidberg's 'Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy,' ch. 12.4 p 311, right after deriving the Linear Force operator and momentum equation in which it is used $$ -\rho \omega^2 \boldsymbol\xi = ...
14
votes
1answer
209 views

Does anyone know the mechanism behind this double helix cloud formation?

This looks like m=2 swirling instability mode of the axisymmetric jet, but how could an axisymmetric jet form up in the sky like that?
7
votes
4answers
458 views

Question on the stability of the solar system

One of the pertinent questions about many body systems that causes me much wonder is why the solar system is so stable for billions of years. I came across the idea of "resonance" and albeit an useful ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Mars and Jupiter colliding [duplicate]

I was going to post a comment on my own theory about Mars and Jupiter colliding, but I just read the rules and it breaks it...badly. I was looking for informal peer review. So my question is, has ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

2D room with electron-point-charges (stability)

Is there a fast way to find out stable #"point charges" & constellation for this kind of Simulation. The 2D repeating itselve in each direction till infinity, so i've a kind of symetrie here. ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Measure of stability

Is there a measure of stability of different systems? What I mean by stability is the ability of a system to return to its original position, even when inputted with high amounts of energy. The more ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Temporal properties of a photon

Naively, one can attempt to consider the (impossible) light-speed inertial frame. From there you arrive at nonsense conclusions like 'the universe is flattened in the direction of travel' which must ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Earth-Sun Lagrange points L4/L5 existence

Why do Lagrange points L4 and L5 exist at all? Consider the mass of Jupiter equals 320 Earth masses, and distance from Lagrange point to Jupiter is about 4-6 A.U. We get that the gravity of Jupiter ...
0
votes
2answers
386 views

How, exactly, does a reaction wheel work?

Reaction wheels, mounted on spacecrafts and satellites, are used for precision attitude control. It is not clear to me how they can do this, though. My best guess is that when a motor accelerates a ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Why does graphene exist?

I started to read some articles on graphene and almost all say that graphene was discovered late because physicists thought it would be unstable. Despite this, I didn't found a clear explanation of ...
0
votes
0answers
97 views

Calculations to Determine Force Required for Gyroscopic Stabalization

I am currently undertaking a project involving gyroscopes, the aim of which is to stabilize a large object. I have read that gyroscopes work because of conservation of angular momentum, and if you ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Argument for stability of journal bearing via inertial and viscous forces?

As I understand a journal bearing, a rotor is levitated by hydraulic forces from the lubricant. While these are lots of studies on this subject, I can't manage to find a paper that coherently breaks ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Classical Mechanics - Potential Energy Function [closed]

Question The potential energy function of a particle of mass $m$ is: $$V(x) = \frac{cx}{x^2+a^2}$$ where c and a are positive constants. Qualitatively sketch $V$ as a function of $x$. Find two ...
2
votes
3answers
184 views

Unstable equilibrium in a pendulum

Consider a pendulum with a bob and a massless, rigid, hinged rod attached to the bob. The bob is at rest at the bottom most position. Neglecting friction, is it possible to impart such a velocity ...
2
votes
1answer
174 views

Earnshaw's theorem and springs

Earnshaw's theorem states that the Laplacian of the potential energy of a small charge moving through a landscape full of static negative and/or positive charges (and gravity) is zero. Thus you can't ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Is there always an equilibrium point in space for gravity?

For instance, for a two-body system, there will always be a point in-between the two in which the forces of gravity completely cancel, and if I were there then I would experience no net force. I ...
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Linearized equations

What is $V_{\alpha\beta}$? And what is a symmetric, positive definite potential energy matrix? And why is there a linearized equation like this?
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Stability of a system

What do we mean by "stability of a system " in a Lagrangian of a model? Let's say that we have a very simple model like this $$L=\frac{1}{2}K_{ij}\dot{q}_i\dot{q}_j-\frac{1}{2}F_{ij}q_iq_j,$$ where ...
12
votes
4answers
752 views

Is it possible that 5 planets can revolve around a single star in a single orbit?

I'm writing a novel and I'm quite confused if this system could be possible in the real universe. Is it possible that a system exist, where 5 identical planets which could be of same characteristics ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

Does leaning (banking) help cause turning on a bicycle?

I think it's clear enough that if you turn your bicycle's steering wheel left, while moving, and you don't lean left, the bike will fall over (to the right) as you turn. I figure this is because the ...
2
votes
1answer
165 views

Importance of periodic orbits

In the study of dynamical systems, one often talks about solutions that repeat themselves after a certain time, hence their name of "periodic orbits". Then one moves to the distinction of "stable" ...
0
votes
2answers
108 views

Why is there a limited range of possible soap bubble size?

Soap bubbles are never "too small" or "too large". What defines the range of possible diameters of a soap bubble? Related questions: Why do steam bubbles increase in size as they rise, Why is the ...
37
votes
8answers
7k views

Why doesn't a bike/bicycle fall if going with a high speed?

Why does a bike/bicycle fall when its speed is very low or close to zero and is balanced when going with a high speed?
4
votes
2answers
430 views

Understanding the Jacobian Matrix

Taking the example of a two dimensional system, desribred by the following ODE's: \begin{align} \frac{dx_1}{dt}&=f_1(x_1,x_2)\\ \frac{dx_2}{dt}&=f_2(x_1,x_2) \end{align} The Jacobian Matrix ...
2
votes
4answers
244 views

How does the position of lift affect the stability of the lifted object?

Consider this example: Treat G as 10. The blue blocks provide lift of 10N, or -1KG. The red block has a weight of 20N, or 2KG. The black bar has no weight. All have their center of gravity in ...
18
votes
11answers
4k views

Where did Schrödinger solve the radiating problem of Bohr's model?

One of the problems with Bohr's theory to describe the hydrogen atom, was that the electron orbiting around the nucleus has an acceleration. Therefore it radiates and loses energy, until it would ...
7
votes
2answers
163 views

Stable muon density inside a white dwarf star?

It occurs to me (though I'm hardly the first) that the decay $$ \mu^- \to e^- + \bar \nu_e + \nu_\mu $$ should be forbidden in electron-degenerate matter, since there must be an empty state available ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

Examining the presence of persistent domain from time series data

There are three variables, $X_t$, $Y_t$, and $Z_t$ that are dependent of each other, and I have the time series data of those variables from replicated experiments. The stochastic dynamics look quite ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Why is plasma confinement on the NIF called inertial confinement when it appears to be confined by pressure?

I've heard that unlike Tokamaks that use magnetic confinement of the plasma, the NIF project uses 'inertial' confinement. What's inertial about it? Do they spin the plasma to use angular momentum like ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Stability of planet-enclosing shell supported by atmosphere

I understand that a hollow spherical shell of uniform density gives net zero gravitational attraction to objects inside it. So in vacuum, a ball at the centre of a spherical shell would not be stable ...
7
votes
1answer
140 views

Why Are Normal Shock Waves Unstable in a Converging Channel?

While learning about shock waves in an introductory Gas Dynamics course, it was revealed that normal shocks are unstable if formed in a converging channel. Even if the local conditions ostensibly ...
1
vote
2answers
684 views

Why a mono-atomic crystal layer (2D) can't be stable?

According to Peierls and Landau, 2D crystals were thermodynamically unstable. They can't exist! Of course, this theory was disapproved in 2004 (example: graphene). What is the general definition of ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Why does the weighing balance restore when tilted and released

I'm talking about a Weighing Balance shown in the figure: Press & Hold on onside of the horizontal beam and then release it. It makes some oscillations and comes back to equilibrium like shown ...
2
votes
3answers
124 views

How to do linear stability analysis on this system of ODEs?

I was trying to do linear stability analysis of spring pendulum. I arrived at the differential equations which describe the system. But I am unable to proceed to linear stability analysis. Is it ...
12
votes
4answers
568 views

Why are alpha particles such a prominent form of radiation and not other types of nucleon arrangement?

It is said in many textbooks that alpha decay involves emitting alpha particles, which are very stable. Indeed, the binding energy (~28.3 MeV) is higher than for $Z$-neighboring stable isotopes. But ...
4
votes
2answers
296 views

Changes in planetary orbit?

Forgive a novice and her naive curiosity, but I was wondering about planetary orbit and the aging of planets. As a planet ages, does its transit around its sun/star decrease or increase in speed? ...