28
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I use an antenna as a light source?

Can I use a normal metal antenna to emit visible light?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do stars have absorption spectra?

Absorption spectra are a result of light of a certain wavelength exciting an atom from a lower energy level to a higher one and at the same time being absorbed. However, the atom should eventually go ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Can black holes form in a finite amount of time?

One thing I know about black holes is that an object gets closer to the event horizon, gravitation time dilation make it move more slower from an outside perspective, so that it looks like it take an ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How Non-abelian anyons arise in solid-state systems?

Recently it has been studied non-abelian anyons in some solid-state systems. These states are being studied for the creation and manipulation of qubits in quantum computing. But, how these ...
6
votes
2answers
353 views

Why is the answer to this diffusion example unintuitive?

Imagine a linear decrease in concentration from left to right. Using Fick's first law, $J = -D \frac{d \psi}{d x}$ for all x, from left to right, we have the same flux amount because the decrease is ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

How do you find the velocity function of a mechanical wave?

With the form $y(x,t)=A\sin(kx-\omega t+\phi_0)$, there are two variables, How do I find the velocity? I don't know I can apply derivative with two variables.
1
vote
3answers
456 views

Space as “flat” plane

I was watching the documentary Carl Sagan did about gravity (I believe it's quite old though) and wondered about space being "flat" and that mass creates dents in this plane as shown at about 3 ...
4
votes
1answer
960 views

Do derivatives anticommute with Grassmann variables and complex numbers in a many-body path integral?

I'm trying to learn how to do a many-body path integral for both fermions and bosons, and I'm stuck. I'm following Altland and Simons - Condensed Matter Field Theory, chapter 4. On page 167, equation ...
6
votes
1answer
655 views

CFTs and formalizing quantum field theory

Moshe's recent questions on formalizing quantum field theory and lattices as a definition of field theory remind me of something I occasionally idly wonder about, and maybe this site can tell me the ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Mathematical background for Quantum Mechanics [duplicate]

What are some good sources to learn the mathematical background of Quantum Mechanics? I am talking functional analysis, operator theory etc etc...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

trying to understand Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

I am a computer scientist interested in network theory. I have come across the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) because of its connections to complex networks. What I know about condensation is the ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

“Velvet way” to Grassmann numbers

In my opinion, the Grassmann number "apparatus" is one of the least intuitive things in modern physics. I remember that it took a lot of effort when I was studying this. The problem was not in the ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Vanishing of field strength in gauged WZW model

Consider gWZW action $S_{gWZW}(g,A)=S_{WZW}(g)+S_{gauge}(g,A)$, where $S_{WZW}$ is usual WZW action being sum of sigma model and WZ terms for field $g$ taking values in group $G$ and $S_{gauge}=\int ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Pressure drop in a pipe due to cooling

I’m trying to better my understanding of the thermodynamics and momentum balance of pipe flows. The following situation, however, is making me scratch my head and I’ve found no help in my books. ...
5
votes
1answer
580 views

Pedagogical explanations of critical dimensions of string theories

Once you understand the formalism, I think it's clearest to say the critical dimension of the space-time arises because we need to cancel the central charge of the (super)conformal ghosts on the ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Chaos theory and determinism

My professor in class went a little over chaos theory, and basically said that Newtonian determinism no longer applies, since as time goes to infinity, no matter how close together two initial points ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a D-brane?

I know that in string theory, D-branes are objects on which open strings are attached with Dirichlet boundary conditions. But what exactly is a brane? Are they equally fundamental objects like string? ...
3
votes
4answers
294 views

Could ball lightening be a form of plasma?

With regard to the recent arXiv article: J. D. Shelton, Eddy Current Model of Ball Lightening http://arxiv.org/abs/1102.1224 I wonder if this is a reasonable explanation of ball lightening, or if ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Bose-Einstein condensate in 1D

I've read that for a Bose-Einstein gas in 1D there's no condensation. Why this happenes? How can I prove that?
1
vote
0answers
642 views

Do symmetries increase the number of conserved quantities? [closed]

Let us consider a classical mechanical system of N particles in a constant external field. We have 3N coordinates and 3N velocities, so totally 6N unknown variables. We have 6N ordinary differential ...
6
votes
3answers
443 views

Why (in relatively non-technical terms) are Calabi-Yau manifolds favored for compactified dimensions in string theory?

I was hoping for an answer in general terms avoiding things like holonomy, Chern classes, Kahler manifolds, fibre bundles and terms of similar ilk. Simply, what are the compelling reasons for ...
8
votes
5answers
656 views

Is quantum field theory defined by its lattice regularization?

One statement I've heard many times is that QFT is "defined" by the lattice, or that the "only" definition of QFT is on the lattice (when such definition exists, e.g in pure Yang-Mills theory). I've ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Can Noether's theorem be understood intuitively?

Noether's theorem is one of those surprisingly clear results of mathematical calculations, for which I am inclined to think that some kind of intuitive understanding should or must be possible. ...
5
votes
3answers
189 views

Open/Closed Branes

Hello this is my first question. For an open string you can pick different boundary conditions for the endpoints along different directions of space time. For example, you can choose Dirichlet ...
5
votes
2answers
433 views

Can the work done between two non-equilibrium states be calculated?

The work done during a process between two equilibrium states can be described by thermodynamics. Even when process itself is out of equilibrium, the thermodynamic laws can still be used, though ...
4
votes
2answers
923 views

Does van Eck phreaking really work, or is it an urban myth?

Van Eck phreaking, the ability to reconstruct distally the text on a CRT or LCD screen using the leaking em from the target computer, was in the news about five to ten years ago. It is talked about as ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the need for the Higgs mechanism and electroweak unification?

The Higgs mechanism allows massless fields to acquire mass through their coupling to a scalar field. But if the masses cannot be predicted because the couplings have to be fixed, what really is the ...
10
votes
3answers
841 views

Is there a relativistic (quantum) thermodynamics?

Does a relativistic version of quantum thermodynamics exist? I.e. in a non-inertial frame of reference, can I, an external observer, calculate quantities like magnetisation within the non-inertial ...
7
votes
3answers
705 views

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity?

Does Wick rotation work for quantum gravity? The Euclidean Einstein-Hilbert action isn't bounded from below.
18
votes
5answers
4k views

What does it mean for a Hamiltonian or system to be gapped or gapless?

I've read some papers recently that talk about gapped Hamiltonians or gapless systems, but what does it mean? Edit: Is an XX spin chain in a magnetic field gapped? Why or why not?
8
votes
2answers
504 views

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST?

Why do Faddeev-Popov ghosts decouple in BRST? What is the physical reason behind it? Not just the mathematical reason. If BRST quantization is specifically engineered to make the ghosts decouple, how ...
6
votes
3answers
522 views

The Big Bang in an infinite universe

If the universe is spatially infinite (and assuming, if it makes a difference, that we don't have eternal inflation), what actually happened 13.7 billion years ago? Was the energy density infinite (or ...
-1
votes
1answer
579 views

How does particle physics compare to other fields of physics? [closed]

Okay, so I just read through huge sections of http://gordonwatts.wordpress.com, which I found quite interesting. There are some questions that really came to my mind. Do a lot of particle physicists ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

How do alpha and beta particles ionise surrounding particles?

I've been wondering about this question for a while. If you have alpha and beta particles released from a radioactive core, how do they ionise surrounding particles?
5
votes
2answers
648 views

Global symmetries in quantum gravity

In several papers (including a recent one by Banks and Seiberg) people mention a "folk-theorem" about the impossibility to have global symmetries in a consistent theory of quantum gravity. I remember ...
5
votes
1answer
575 views

Why is the Gupta-Bleuler gauge unfashionable?

In the early days of quantum electrodynamics, the most popular gauge chosen was the Gupta-Bleuler gauge stating that for physical states, $$\langle \chi | \partial^\mu A_\mu | \psi \rangle = 0.$$ ...
4
votes
1answer
269 views

What is wall crossing?

I know that it must have something to do with (gauge?) theories with N=2 supersymmetry, BPS states and even black holes, but most papers on the subject are too technical for me. So what is wall ...
2
votes
0answers
223 views

Singularities in Bianchi models in general relativity ( physical science)

what are the conditions to check point type singularity in a bianchi type model ? bianchi type model are of Type I,II,III,IX,IV or u can say we use different Bianchi type models having some specific ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

How much CP violation does the weak force cause?

I'm looking for the most readable quantitative explanation, with the least amount of difficult mathematics. Rather than an answer with just a number, I'd like to see the derivation from the CKM ...
4
votes
2answers
974 views

Stress tensor in a cube with shear forces

I want to calculate stress matrix in a cube with two faces parallel to x axis and perpendicular to z axis (sorry I don't know how can I put a picture in this post). There are two force uniform ...
4
votes
7answers
709 views

Most techologically applicable physics research area

Lets say you're an undergrad physics student with a lot of "sense" for technology and limited theoretical abilities. Now you need some kind of a career advice about the specific field of physics to ...
6
votes
1answer
463 views

Low frequency electromagnetic waves in General Relativity

I am becoming familiar with the Geometric Optics approximation in General Relativity which (to summarise) says that EM waves follow null geodesics under the geometric optics approximation. In the ...
6
votes
3answers
588 views

Black holes in a head-on collision

Assume two uncharged non-rotating black holes traveling straight at each other with no outside forces acting on the system. What is thought to happen to the kinetic energy of these two masses when ...
5
votes
1answer
531 views

Estimating hydrogen loss by Jeans escape

I'm looking at Jeans (thermal) escape of hydrogen from the early Earth's atmosphere. I understand how to calculate the rate in (g cm^-2 s^-1) using the number density, average particle velocity, and ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Interference of polarized light

Does polarized light interfere?
12
votes
17answers
3k views

Can pure maths create new theories in physics or does the “idea” ALWAYS come before the math?

I am in a debate with a friend about the value of string theory in physics. He is concerned that we are wasting valuable intellectual and financial resources on a path that is fanciful and can't ever ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How is the Joukowsky Transform used to calculate the Flow of an Airfoil?

As I read in The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, the Joukowsky transform $$w(z) = \frac12\left( z + \frac1z \right)$$ after Nikolai Zhukovsky (transcribed in several versions from Никола́й Его́рович ...
2
votes
3answers
594 views

How long for a frictionless top to fall over?

We've previously discussed why it is that spinning tops do not fall over, see: Why don't spinning tops fall over? However, as the highest rated answer notes, the angular momentum of the spinning top ...
4
votes
10answers
1k views

What is the wavefunction of the observer himself?

I am aware about different interpretations of quantum mechanics out there but would mostly like to see an answer from the perspective of Copenhagen interpretation (or relative quantum mechanics if you ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What happens to a fly floating in the air when the train starts moving

I was wondering, within a static train, for a fly which is currently floating in the air and not moving at all, what will happen if: The train starts to accelerate and move forward. Will the ...

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