4
votes
3answers
463 views

Why trimming the mainsail gives a larger torque to head up

I am learning sailing on a 5m catamaran (Nacra 5). I am familiar with basic aerodynamics and the physics of the sail and keel. We learned that when sailing closed hauled, too tight a mainsail tends ...
3
votes
1answer
556 views

Measuring the vacuum permittivity

So I was reading the EF experiment that's used at the MIT to measure the vacuum permittivity and I was thinking about trying it just to see how it works: ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is it valid to take the partial trace to describe a subsystem?

In derivations of decoherence, there eventually comes a point when we are asked to take the partial trace over the environment. Why should this be valid for an entangled system? Why should taking the ...
4
votes
4answers
571 views

Is the wave function objective or subjective?

Here is a question I am curious about. Is the wave function objective or subjective, or is such a question meaningless? Conventionally, subjectivity is as follows: if a quantity is subjective then ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

Can the entropy of a subsystem exceed the maximum entropy of the system in quantum mechanics?

Quantum mechanics has a peculiar feature, entanglement entropy, allowing the total entropy of a system to be less than the sum of the entropies of the individual subsystems comprising it. Can the ...
2
votes
1answer
232 views

What stochastic process is associated with spontaneous electromagnetic radiation?

Imagine one have an ideal sensor, which can convert the emission to some kinds of signal (typically, voltage, and suppose no noise at all), then what process can describe the measure data? Is it ...
4
votes
1answer
431 views

Proving that the free energy is extensive

If I have two system of an Ideal gas $A$ and $B$ each of these system has a partition function: $Z_{A,B} = \left ( \frac{V_{A,B}}{\lambda_T} \right )^{N_{A,B}}$ Where: $\lambda_T = \left ( ...
31
votes
4answers
3k views

Trace of a commutator is zero - but what about the commutator of $x$ and $p$?

Operators can be cyclically interchanged inside a trace: $${\rm Tr} (AB)~=~{\rm Tr} (BA).$$ This means the trace of a commutator of any two operators is zero: $${\rm Tr} ([A,B])~=~0.$$ But what about ...
4
votes
3answers
734 views

Historical background of wave function collapse

I wonder what were the main experiments that led people to develop the concept of wave function collapse? (I think I am correct in including the Born Rule within the general umbrella of the collapse ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to calculate the projected area at different angles/vectors?

Please help me with the following. I want to know if there is an equation/set of equations to find out the projected area of a (3-D) cube when it is oriented at different angles of attack to the fluid ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does an object when filled with water sink, but without water inside float (in a body of water)?

Why does an object sink when filled with water, even if the same object would float without water inside? For example, put an empty glass cup into water, and it floats. But if you put a plastic ...
2
votes
1answer
378 views

direction of Pockels Effect. Refractive index eigendirections

There is a linear electro-optic effect called Pockels Effect The brief is that refractive index changes due to electric field. If there is an anisotropy (like birefringence) and electric field is in ...
12
votes
3answers
792 views

Can the speed of light become complex inside a metamaterial?

The speed of light in a material is defined as $c = \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon \mu}}$. There are metamaterials with negative permittivity $\epsilon < 0$ and permeability $\mu < 0$ at the same time. ...
-3
votes
2answers
214 views

a question about singularities in gravity and Physics in general

I had this doubt bugging my mind for a long time about singularities in Physics. I heard that R.Penrose and S.Hawking have proposed that there could be singularities at Blackholes and at the time of ...
5
votes
3answers
364 views

bound states of massless fields?

Question: are they mathematically possible at all? physically? with finite mass systems, usually the binding energy contributes to the rest-mass of the system. It would seem that even if you could ...
5
votes
4answers
666 views

Quantum Physics and the Law of Large Numbers

On page 1 of this recent paper by Bousso and Susskind we read. This question is not about philosophy. Without a precise form of decoherence, one cannot claim that anything really "happened", ...
2
votes
3answers
201 views

5MHz RF pulse frequency analysed in software

Is there software available that can analyse a 5MHz RF pulse to give a plot of frequency spectrum. The signal data is visible on a LCD screen or a print out could be obtained.
3
votes
2answers
153 views

What are the conditions for decoherence to be irreversible?

Spin echo experiments have been able to reverse the motions of all the molecules in a gas in statistical mechanics in the manner of Loschmidt. The Fermi-Ulam-Pasta model has solutions with a single ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

A question on a system of particles governed by laws of gravity and electromagnetic field

Consider a system of many point particles each having a certain mass and electric charge and certain initial velocity. This system is completely governed by the laws of gravitation and electromagnetic ...
1
vote
0answers
270 views

Stoke's Drag Constant

I'm trying to calculate Stoke's drag constant using the equation found here. The system I wish to calculate it for is a mass oscillating vertically on a spring through air. The temperature is 25 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What energy is transformed to heat when a candle is burned?

What energy is being transformed to heat when you burn a candle?
1
vote
1answer
268 views

Could a universe with only massless particles develop life/intelligence? [closed]

Is it impossible for a universe that only contains particles/fields with no rest mass to develop life/intelligence? Assume there is no mechanism to generate a rest mass (Higgs, symmetry breaking, ...
2
votes
3answers
443 views

Nuclear physics problem, Why do we use high weight atomic elements?

So as far as I know, nuclear fission uses high weight atomic elements to manufacture power. If the risk of runaway reactions are a major reason for not expanding this technology, why don't we use ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Atomic mass of Copper-63?

This URL lists the mass of Copper-63 as 62.9295975(6) and this other URL lists the mass as 62.939598. These values differ by almost exactly 0.01 which seems hard to explain by experimental error. ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

Convergence of periodic single fermion operators

First, a quick remark: I'm a mathematician, now working on some problems coming from physics (in particular Ising models on quasiperiodic chains). A few things I find rather mysterious. I would ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

Question about gravity probe B

I have a question about the gravity probe B experiment. According to this site: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/04may_epic/ The measurements they made confirm Einsteins ...
0
votes
1answer
439 views

Uses and interpretation of the 'Bowen Ratio' ($B_o=SH/LE$)

The Bowen Ratio is the ratio of sensible heat flux to latent heat flux, so presumably it gives some information about the relative importance of these processes. But it is not clear how this ...
2
votes
2answers
340 views

How does my air-cooling unit work?

During the winter, my office gets a little cold. I have a unit (essentially a space heater) that heats the area around it to help keep me warm. Now that it's summer, I realize the unit also has a ...
7
votes
1answer
546 views

A better conceptual model for cooper pairs in a superconductor

The conceptual model I have been introduced to for cooper pairs in a bulk superconductor is what I would call the "wake" model, where one electron deforms the positively charged lattice, changing the ...
7
votes
2answers
255 views

Would dark matter absorb gravitational waves?

Would the vast and seemingly diffuse clouds of dark matter floating around our galaxy (and most others) absorb gravitational waves? Is this perhaps why we haven't detected any yet?
3
votes
2answers
243 views

Special Relativity and time [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Question about Time Dilation.. I have a question about special relativity which was bothering me for a while now. I know that as one approaches the speed of light, time ...
9
votes
2answers
305 views

Is there a good chance that gravitational waves will be detected in the next years?

Is there a good chance that gravitational waves will be detected in the next years? Theoretical estimates on the size of the effect and the sensitivity of the newest detectors should permit a ...
1
vote
1answer
376 views

Upper equilibrium point of a pendulum with small perturbations

I remember the following fact about a rigid pendulum: The point when the pendulum weight is lowest is a stable equilibrium while the point where the pendulum weight is highest is an unstable one. ...
0
votes
0answers
188 views

Does the Standard model allow for radioactive decay prediction? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Predicting Decay Rates via the Standard Model More specifically, does (any) current theory allow for approximate or exact predictions of atomic decay rates and types ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Radio waves and frequency of photon

How radio waves create the current in antenna in terms of photons? If it is Compton scattering then why is not changed the freuency of photons?
3
votes
0answers
180 views

Calculation of a Gravity Resonance Keyhole

Can anyone describe the mathematics behind the calculation of a resonance keyhole (for a two-body model)? It seems like the size and position of the keyhole should be a function only of mass and ...
0
votes
1answer
176 views

A question on smooth 1-manifolds

Consider two people living on two different smooth 1-manifolds $S$ and $T$ as shown in figure 1. The manifold $S$ is a bump function joining the points $A$ and $B$ and the manifold $T$ is formed by ...
6
votes
6answers
896 views

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing?

Are many-worlds and the multiverse really the same thing? Not too long ago, Susskind and Bousso uploaded the article "The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" with the thesis that the ...
2
votes
1answer
719 views

Determining a radio signal's range

If I know the: Frequency Effective Radiated Power Height Above Average Terrain Radiation Center Above Mean Sea Level Radiation Center Above Ground Level of a radio signal / tower, is there a way ...
1
vote
1answer
246 views

D-branes wrapping divisors and/or cycles

What is the difference between a divisor and a homology cycle? What is the difference between a D-brane wrapped around a divisor and a D-brane wrapped around a cycle? Thanks.
5
votes
1answer
276 views

Uniqueness of quasiclassical consistent histories

The current zeitgeist here is on interpretations of quantum mechanics, so let me add my own two cents here. As you may know, consistent histories is an alternative interpretation proposed in a series ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Why is the sum over string worldsheets of varying genuses unitary?

It can be shown the sum over all Feynman diagrams in quantum field theory leads to a unitary S-matrix. Where can I find a proof that the sum over string worldsheets with varying genuses also leads to ...
2
votes
3answers
214 views

What is the strange event in this simulation of a galactic collision?

I was watching this video on YouTube: 2 Spiral Galaxies w/Supermassive Black Holes Collide Around half way, and again almost at the end, the black holes seem to suddenly give off some sort of force ...
1
vote
0answers
212 views

Physics breakthroughs in the last two decades [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the most important discoveries/breakthroughs in physics recently? The last two decades have seen significant advances in mathematics, where long standing ...
8
votes
1answer
711 views

Size of the universe

This is really a follow up to the Shape of the universe question. In the first answer to the question, Ted Bunn says: However, the best available data seem to indicate that the Universe is very ...
5
votes
1answer
356 views

Mathematically rather than physically speaking, is there something “special” about 10 (or 11) dimensions?

As I understand it, string theory (incorporating bosons and fermions) "works" in $9+1=10$ spacetime dimensions. In the context of dual resonance theory, I've read descriptions of why that is ...
2
votes
1answer
187 views

Apparatus used to test violations of Bell's inequalities

I believe most people are familiar with Bell's Theorem. If I understand correctly, the violations of Bell's inequalities are possible due to the existance of entangled quantum states. Although ...
5
votes
1answer
972 views

Confusion between the de Broglie wavelength of a particle and wave packets

So I learned that the de Broglie wavelength of a particle, $\lambda = \frac{h}{p}$, where h is Planck's constant and p is the momentum of the particle. I also learned that a quantum mechanics ...
2
votes
1answer
312 views

Are inductance and self-inductance synonyms?

Wikipedia mentions that the word self in the word "self-inductance" is to differentiate it from "mutual inductance". But it does not state whether the two things are the same thing. So do the both ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

Is acoustic pressure a statistical term?

Is acoustic pressure a statistical term? Also, what about pressure in a liquid or a gas?

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