12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are materials that are better at conducting electricity also proportionately better at conducting heat?

It seems like among the electrical conductors there's a relationship between the ability to conduct heat as well as electricity. Eg: Copper is better than aluminum at conducting both electricity and ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force

Pardon me for my stubborn classical/semiclassical brain. But I bet I am not the only one finding such description confusing. If EM force is caused by the exchange of photons, does that mean only when ...
2
votes
0answers
321 views

What is the name of the physical space enveloping all universes? [closed]

Please excuse my question, as i don't come from a physics background, but i was really wondering. Assuming we are in one of numerous universes which all have physical dimensions: What is the name of ...
7
votes
4answers
682 views

Why does an airplane have more lift near the ground?

I've noticed that an airplane appears to have more lift when it's almost touching the ground then it has 100 feet or more in the air. What causes this to occur?
17
votes
10answers
11k views

Why and how is the speed of light in vacuum constant, i.e., independent of reference frame?

I was told that the Galilean relative velocity rule does not apply to the speed of light. No matter how fast two objects are moving, the speed of light will remain same for both of them. How and why ...
56
votes
9answers
43k views

If photons have no mass, how can they have momentum?

As an explanation of why a large gravitational field (such as a black hole) can bend light, I have heard that light has momentum. This is given as a solution to the problem of only massive objects ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the definition of colour (the quantum state)?

I heard somewhere that quarks have a property called 'colour' - what does this mean?
20
votes
4answers
425 views

Paradox?: What is the form of radiation experienced by a harmonically accelerated observer?

Theory predicts that uniform acceleration leads to experiencing thermal radiation (so called Fulling Davies Unruh radiation), associated with the appearance of an event horizon. For non uniform but ...
3
votes
8answers
4k views

Beginner Physics Resources? [closed]

I'm interested in learning physics. I do realize that the subject is large and that it would be easier if I had a specific area of interest. However, I do not. I suppose I want to learn about the ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What does a nucleus look like?

It's a Christmas time and so I hope I'll be pardoned for asking a question which probably doesn't make much sense :-) In standard undergraduate nuclear physics course one learns about models such as ...
16
votes
5answers
943 views

Is there such a thing as “Action at a distance”?

What ever happened to "action at a distance" in entangled quantum states, i.e. the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky (EPR) paradox? I thought they argued that in principle one could communicate faster than ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

What specifically does the phrase “continuum limit” mean?

I'm interested in the meaning of the phrase "continuum limit" specifically as it is often used in expressions relating to the ability of a quantum gravity theory to recover GR in the continuum limit. ...
3
votes
1answer
281 views

What is jet quenching and how far can the hydrodynamic analogy go?

I recently heard about jet quenching concerning data taken by the experiments at the LHC. Apparently it is related to the existence to the quark-gluon plasma. As far as I understood this ...
4
votes
1answer
341 views

Exoplanet surface detail: Limitations on size of space telescope array

How big could an array of space telescopes acting as an interferometer be ? How big would it have to be to resolve exoplanet surface detail the size of Iceland at a distance of 100 light years ?
9
votes
3answers
670 views

How fast do you have to spin an egg to have it standing?

If you take a hardboiled egg and put it on a table and start to spin it, if you spin it fast enough it will start to spin in an upright position. What is the angular velocity needed for this ...
15
votes
4answers
709 views

Anti-gravity in an infinite lattice of point masses

Another interesting infinite lattice problem I found while watching a physics documentary. Imagine an infinite square lattice of point masses, subject to gravity. The masses involved are all $m$ and ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Aspherical lenses

It's known that single spherical lens cannot focus parallel beam of monochromatic light into single point. Could you suggest how should aspherical lens look like to be able to focus in single point ...
12
votes
11answers
6k views

Does 'electricity' have mass? Is 'electricity' tangible?

Background: I'm in a legal academic discussion about the status of electronic 'goods' and whether they qualify as 'goods' in the same way a chair and a pen do. In this context (and specifically at the ...
2
votes
3answers
959 views

What does the optical zoom in telescopes do?

How does the optical zoom works.. Does it brings the light closer to the object... Or Does it just enlarges the picture of the object. In other words... Suppose I have telescope with 1 light-year ...
1
vote
1answer
858 views

Electron/Photon Scattering

Hey guys, I have a final tomorrow and I am going over some assignments. One of the questions from the assignment was: A photon having 37 keV scatters from a free electron at rest. What is the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How efficient is a desktop computer?

As I understand it (and admittedly it's a weak grasp), a computer processes information irreversibly (AND gates, for example), and therefore has some minimum entropy increase associated with its ...
54
votes
17answers
5k views

Is it possible for information to be transmitted faster than light by using a rigid pole?

Is it possible for information (like 1 and 0s) to be transmitted faster than light? For instance, take a rigid pole of several AU in length. Now say you have a person on each end, and one of them ...
2
votes
0answers
4k views

What's the relationship between mass and time? [closed]

This question has arisen from a wish to understand an end-of-universe scenario: heat death. Are time and mass intrinsically linked? If so, does time "run slower" (whatever that may mean) in a ...
3
votes
1answer
786 views

How does an electron microscope work?

I am a physics novice. Google tells me that electron microscopes work much like their optical counterparts -- but the analogy falls apart for me when I think about what I'm "viewing." Obviously, you ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does light refract if photons are not bound by an axle?

In the classic metaphor, a light beam bends for the same reason that a wagon getting one wheel stuck in the sand does...the wheels travel at uneven speeds, and the wheel on the smoother surface ...
12
votes
3answers
16k views

Can magnets rotate infinitely?

There are many videos on youtube in which people arranged magnets in circle and rotated one placing in middle of that circle on a shaft, and the magnet (magnet motor) starts madly and continues its ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Is time travel possible? Is it possible to go back in time?

I read somewhere that according to relativity, black holes and other space related stuff it is possible to jump into past. Is it possible for anything to go back in time either continuously or by ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What principles does an air glider use?

I just saw this video which was kind of nifty. What principles govern this? Is it simply that 700 lbs of air pressure are exerted from that little 1 HP blower? What would you have to take into ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Physical vapor deposition of SiO2

Could you suggest any if it's possible to deposit a layer of SiO2 via PVD? Why doesn't it widely used? Is that correct that I need ~1600C in vacuum? Could you suggest any books/papers about that? ...
4
votes
1answer
867 views

Why does measured pressure change over time in closed hose with temperature gradient

I have a 4' hose that is closed at one end and connected to a Airdata Test Set (precise control of pressure) and a high accuracy pressure monitor on the other end with a T and valve. The valve allows ...
1
vote
1answer
201 views

Electromagnetic weapons: power?

I essentially have three questions concerning weapons based on EM waves or more generally. Focusing on the weapons using radio-waves and/or micro-waves, what power do these types of weapons need to ...
7
votes
2answers
192 views

Why did this glass start popping?

I remember a while ago my father dropped a glass lid and it smashed. It looked something like this. When that happened, for about 5 minutes afterwards, the glass parts were splitting, kind of like ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Can radio waves be formed into a pencil beam?

Laser beams are said to have high "spatial coherence". This means that the beam is highly concentrated even at long distances (low spread). Can this be achieved with radio waves (much longer waves) ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

Shape of volume element in curvilinear system?

I have always pictured volume element as a small cuboid in with volume $dx dy dz$. however in curvilinear system, how would the shape of this volume element be? I mean in spherical polar coordinate ...
6
votes
3answers
338 views

Controllable faster-than-light phase velocity

This is not another question about faster-than-light travel or superluminal communication. I totally appreciate the speed limit capped by physical laws (or theories.) Just curious, since there is no ...
4
votes
2answers
610 views

Potential functions

Can someone please explain what a potential is? Example. velocity potential in ideal flows, acoustic potential (gradient of which gives the particle velocity in a sound wave). Whenever I see potential ...
17
votes
5answers
644 views

What experiments, other than Hubble Expansion, support the Dark Energy theory?

Dark energy is introduced as a constant inside Einstein's equations. Its primary purpose, from what I understand, is to make Einstein's equations compatible with the accelerating expansion of the ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Equivalent spring-constant for infinite square grid of springs

Consider an infinite square grid, where each side of a square is a spring following Hooke's law, with spring constant $k$. What is the relation between the force and displacement between two points? ...
4
votes
4answers
932 views

Oscillate a swing without touching the ground

Is is possible to set a swing into oscillations without touching the ground? This occurred to me while watching the second pirates movie. There is a scene where the ship's crew is suspended in a cage ...
2
votes
1answer
341 views

Cheetah prosthesis efficiency

I want to compare the much-talked about Cheeta running prosthesis to a the normal running process in terms of force and energy, but I don't know where to start. How would you start the comparison? A ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How large is the smallest object that can be detected at a given wavelength?

What is the cross section of the smallest object that can be detected with say visible light ($\lambda$ ~380 - 750 nm) or X - band radar ($\lambda$ ~20 - 50 mm). Does the object need to have one side ...
47
votes
12answers
10k views

How long a straw could Superman use?

To suck water through a straw, you create a partial vacuum in your lungs. Water rises through the straw until the pressure in the straw at the water level equals atmospheric pressure. This ...
51
votes
7answers
5k views

Why does space expansion not expand matter?

REFORMULATED: I have looked at the other questions (ie "why does space expansion affect matter") but can't find the answer I am looking for. My question: There is always mention of space expanding ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What cools a drink?

When you stick ice in a drink, AFAICT (the last physics I took was in high school) two things cool the drink:The ice, being cooler than the drink, gets heat transferred to it from the drink (Newton's ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the cart move? [duplicate]

A while ago someone proposed the following thought experiment to me: A horse attached to a cart is resting on a horizontal road. If the horse attempts to move by pulling the cart, according to the ...
6
votes
2answers
529 views

What are the normal modes of a vertical rope?

Closely related to this question on traveling waves on a hanging rope, I would also like to know what the normal modes are on a rope that hangs vertically, fixed at both ends. Tension in the rope ...
7
votes
2answers
373 views

Will a wave packet undergo dispersion when traveling down a hanging rope?

Suppose I tie one end of a rope to my ceiling and the other end to a spot on my floor directly underneath it. Because the rope has some mass, the tension varies along the rope, from highest at the ...
6
votes
2answers
567 views

Good introductory papers and books on laser physics and pulsed lasers

I am looking for good introductory papers and/or books on the principles of lasers. In particular, I am interested in pulsed laser technology. I understand that Gould, R. Gordon (1959). "The ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How can one find the energy eigenfunctions of a particle in a finite square well via the Klein-Gordon equation?

It is said that Klein-Gordon equation is a relativistic version of the Schrodinger equation. In Schrodinger equation, it is straightforward to include potential energy. But for K-G eqn things seem to ...
52
votes
2answers
33k views

On this infinite grid of resistors, what's the equivalent resistance?

I searched and couldn't find it on the site, so here it is (quoted to the letter): On this infinite grid of ideal one-ohm resistors, what's the equivalent resistance between the two marked nodes? ...

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