Hot answers tagged big-list
I'm not sure i'll be able to post all the links i'd like to (not enough 'reputation points' yet), but i'll try to point to the major refs i know. Matilde Marcolli has a nice paper entitled "Number Theory in Physics" explaining the several places in Physics where Number Theory shows up. [Tangentially, there's a paper by Christopher Deninger entitled "Some ...
Books Galileo and Einstein very interesting book, 200 pages, by Michael Fowler , Text for Physics 109, Fall 2009 (from Babylonians and Greeks to Einstein) Physics Made Easy Karura notes Classical and quantum mechanics via Lie algebras by Arnold Neumaier, Dennis Westra , 502 pages, (arxiv) by Hans de Vries: 'Physics Quest' Understanding Relativistic ...
Arthur Suvorov gives a nice comment, I am just going to give a list of a few specific physical problems I can think of from the top of my head. Yang Mills existence and mass gap (Millenium Prize) and generally the problematic of rigorous definitions and constructions of quantum field theories Navier Stokes equations and smoothness (also Millenium) - it's ...
There is a lot of good books in CM, QM, EM... but what every physicist should read, undoubtly, are The Feynman Lectures on Physics.
One that jumps to mind is Hooke's law (extension of a spring). Hang a spring or thick elastic band and load it with increasing weights. See that extension is proportional to load at least initially. A natural extension of that is to also measure oscillation time/frequency. Another one would be Archimedes principle, and play with floating/sinking different ...
Neutron stars were predicted in 1934 by Baade and Zwicky, one year after the discovery of the neutron. They were not observationally confirmed until 1965 by Hewish and Okoye. It's hard to beat a prediction that sat around for 30 years before being confirmed.
Off the top of my head, the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation was hypothesized as a consequence of Big Bang Theory before it was observed by accident by Penzias and Wilson. Also the light element abundances, also a consequence of BBT, was theoretical and is still being refined today through observations that supported the initial theory. I don't know ...
A Sizable Mystery Here's a mystery that remains poorly understood, though there have been many attempts to explain it: Why does volume -- the ability of matter to fill up space exclusively -- depend on how particles rotate? By volume I mean for example the fact that you can pound on a desk with your fist, and your fist stops at the desk. The matter in ...
The Reference Frame it is the only one that is challenging.
The worst analogy I have seen is that of general relativity where they show a curved sheet and how a ball revolves due to the curvature. (Source: http://xkcd.com/895/ , CC-BY-NC license) As far as I remember, I have seen this at two places: The movie "Einstein and Eddington" where Arthur Eddington explains Einstein's theory to his housemaid Carl Sagan ...
Quantum field theory Fields, by W. Siegel Quantum Field Theory, by Mark Srednicki Superspace, or One thousand and one lessons in supersymmetry by S.J. Gates Jr, M.T. Grisaru, M. Rocek and W. Siegel
Here's a journal link (full disclosure: I'm on the editorial board). Communications in Number Theory and Physics
Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics Sussman, Wisdom, Mayer A No-Nonsense Introduction to General Relativity, Sean Carroll
Mathematical Tools for Physics, James Nearing Also available in paperback from Dover. Undergraduate-level math methods book. Clear writing, many problems and exercises (usually without solution). IMHO better than Boas.
John Baez's Stuff It is more mathematics, but a lot of physics/mathematical physics related "stuff" also.
I think everyone needs to read Feynman's QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. While there are many great books on QFT, this one shows you the inner workings of the microscopic world like none other. It also gets bonus points for being accessible to basically everyone.
A semi-silly idea that I've read about is the Primon gas, a model where the Riemann zeta function arises as the partition function of a quantum statistical mechanical system. More seriously, take a look at the papers of Yuri Manin and Matilde Marcolli on the hep-th arxiv, which attempt to connect the holographic principle to arithmetic geometry. I think ...
One formative book for me was Ed Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism. Purcell was my early education in thinking like a physicist. It introduced me to thought experiments, simple models, and the usefulness of new mathematical tools. It's mathematically very clear, and physically insightful. The problems are extremely rich. It manages a huge deal of ...
You want the book by V.I. Arnold, Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway It is terribly important to recognize that stupendous effort does not always result in substantial gain.
The deflection of light by the sun was first predicted by Einstein's general relativity, then observed in a solar eclipse.
The flow of a fluid, such as air, is something very common place. It is what provides lift and drag on airplanes. You can feel its effects if you stick your hand out the window of a moving car. However, we still do not know everything about the state of fluid flow called turbulence and how a laminar flow transitions to it. Although the governing equations ...
(I have a suggestion to make this question a CW.) General Physics: (Early undergrad and advanced high school) Problems in Physics I.E Irodov - (Highly recommended) Problems in Physics S S Krotov - (Once again, highly recommended but out of print) Physics Olympiad Books - (Haven't read but saw some olympiad problems back in the day) Physics by example ...
Roger Penrose: The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, before they start studying. If that doesn't discourage you you're up to the task.
The "solar system" analogy of the atomic nucleus and electrons is certainly a very misleading one, in many ways. Unfortunately, this is all too often the model taught until late high school or early undergraduate level. The Bohr model, or more usually the fuller quantum mechanical description, is of course required to do any useful physics. The shell model ...
Cosmic Variance Science, Technology, and The Future NOTE It would be great if someone who knows the blog well would write a few words about it. Just give a little more detail of what it's about. 3 sentences is more than enough. This is community wiki, so most people can edit it freely.
I really like The Princeton Guide to Mathematics (Amazon, Google) Even though I believe it was meant more as a sort of Encyclopedia rather than an actual Textbook, I really like to read it as a "normal" book. Basically, whenever I understand some new mathematical concept I look it up in the Guide and see how it branches out and often find new interesting ...
Applications of Classical Physics, Kip Thorne and Roger Blandford Unpublished so far, this book covers special relativity, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, continuum mechanics, and some general relativity at the graduate level. I've read about a third of it. It's well-written and surprisingly-polished for being a freely-available preprint. ...
Lots of real world physics problems contain a huge number of variables and therefore have very complicated equations describing their associated dynamics. An example of this is non-linear partial differential equations, which are notoriously difficult to solve. As an example, take the Navier-Stokes equations. These are real physics equations which describe ...
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