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143

Things are not empty space. Our classical intuition fails at the quantum level. Matter does not pass through other matter mainly due to the Pauli exclusion principle and due to the electromagnetic repulsion of the electrons. The closer you bring two atoms, i.e. the more the areas of non-zero expectation for their electrons overlap, the stronger will the ...


47

Amazingly this actually happened to a Russian scientist called Anatoli Bugorski (WARNING: this is pretty gruesome). The beam basically just killed all the tissue it passed through. The symptoms were the relatively mundane ones expected from tissue death. The LHC has a much, much greater energy than the one that struck Bugorski, so it would cause a lot more ...


33

A charged particle will create charge separation (ionization) along its path. This will cause harmful chemical reactions to occur in the body, including DNA damage. The effects of these chemical reactions depend on their amount. The body can heal from a low amount on its own, while a high amount will cause radiation sickness and probably death. This can be ...


29

Look at it this way: Suppose you are in a train travelling at 10 m/s. Somebody inside the train throws a ball at you in the opposite direction at 10 m/s. You feel the pain belonging to your first experiment. However, somebody looking at this experiment from outside the train would say that the ball is standing still and you are travelling towards the ball ...


20

It is a standard exercise in quantum electrodynamics to find the angular dependence of the differential cross section. Which more or less means how probable it is for the photons to scatter at a certain angle, given the energy of the incident particles. So assuming the spins of the electron-positron pair is averaged, and that you don't care about the photon ...


14

We do. The LHC accelerates two protons, each with 3.5 TeV of energy, giving a total of 7 TeV in the CoM frame (The energies are from the initial phase of the previous LHC run. Later in the run this was increased to 8 TeV and the combination of the two dataset was what discovered the Higgs boson. The energies are roughly doubling now for Run II, to 13 TeV). ...


13

Nothing happens obviously, when one high energy particle penetrates flesh as cosmic rays continuously impinge on us and some have the energies of the LHC. The cosmic rays reaching us are mainly muons and the damage they do is with electromagnetic scatters/ionisations in their path. The mean energy of muons reaching sea level is about 4 GeV. Muons, being ...


11

If it were possible for one object to pass through another object, then it would be possible for one part of an object to pass through a different part of the same object. Therefore the question asked here is equivalent to the question of why matter is stable. See this question on mathoverflow. That question was more about the stability of individual atoms, ...


10

A simple counterexample: Imagine two particles with opposite direction and equal speed. The center of mass does not move, yet the kinetic energy of the system is non-zero. Now let both particles come to rest (by friction, hitting a wall, whatever). The kinetic energy is now zero, and total momentum has been conserved, while energy is not. The crucial ...


9

Yes, when you fire a pistol the hammer hits the bullet with a relatively small initial kinetic energy but the kinetic energy of the hammer and bullet after the collision is considerably higher. This may seem a silly example, but I think it actually highlights the important principle involved. In general when two bodies undergo an inelastic collision part of ...


9

Let's take everything out of our scenario other than you and the ball. No baseball stadium, no Earth, no spherical cows, NOTHING in the entire universe but you and the ball. (Nope, not even microwave background radiation) Now the question has changed. Now you need to ask whether it's possible to decide whether you're moving towards the ball or vice versa.


8

While people normally quote Newton's Second law as $\vec F = m \vec a$, it is better written as $$ \vec F = \frac{d\vec p}{dt} $$ Force is a rate of change in momentum. This means that the average force applied when an object undergoes some discrete change in its momentum is $$ F_{\text{avg}} = \frac{\Delta p }{\Delta t} $$ The change in your momentum ...


7

Classically we would add the speeds to get $1.8c$, which is obviously not allowed. In relativity you simply use the relativistic velocity addition formula: $$V = \frac{u+v}{1+uv/c^2}$$ Where $u$ and $v$ are the velocities of the particles as seen from some reference frame, and $V$ is the velocity of one particle in the rest frame of the other, i.e., the ...


7

Ayush: Isn't the question telling that the bullet always loses 1/n th of its velocity no matter which plank? Based on the answer provided, it seems the writer wanted you to assume that the energy loss per plank is constant. This is not the same as the bullet losing $1/n^\text{th}$ of its velocity per plank (however, the fact that the question does not ...


6

Backspin! Those shots in which the cue ball "draws" backwards after hitting the target ball involve backspin. Without backspin, the cue ball cannot reverse direction. Consider what happens when the cue ball is not spinning at all when it hits the target ball. The cue ball will come to a dead stop if it hits the target ball straight on. Think of Newton's ...


6

Microscopically, i.e. in the quantum theory the scattering with radiation is a collision of particles with photons such as $$ e^- + \gamma \to e^- + \gamma$$ The momentum vectors of the particles above are $$ \vec p_1+\vec p_2= \vec p_3 + \vec p_4$$ where the identity holds due to momentum conservation. But in general $\vec p_1\neq \vec p_3$ and $\vec ...


6

Regardless of the physical undefinability of "painfulness", I'd like to plug some numbers in a particular scenario: Let's have a momentum of $p = 1000 $m$\cdot$kg/s, A 0.25kg bullet would be fatal, moving at $v = 1000/0.25 = 4000$m/s, while a 2000kg car moves at $v=0.5$m/s, So at least in this scenario and particularly for relatively low momentum ...


6

TL;DR: If you have to choose either "near the handle" or "near the tip", the tip will work better. But there's a point in between these two that works even better; exactly where that point is depends on how you swing the sword, and how its weight is distributed. UPDATED now I am near a computer and can draw diagrams etc. If cutting off the zombie's head ...


5

Your question highlights a common misconception. A satellite in orbit around the Earth is accelerating towards the Earth right now. Any object moving in a circular path has an acceleration towards the center of the circle because the direction, and therefore the velocity, of the object is constantly changing. This acceleration, called centripetal ...


5

I would reason along these lines. Put the system in the centre of mass. Then, at collision, consider the plane through the centre of mass and perpendicular to the line through the centres of the balls. Since this plane is fixed in the frame of the centre of mass, this behaves like a wall the balls smash against, and therefore the velocity vectors after ...


5

Many modern particle accelerators do accelerate both particles towards each other. LEP accelerated electrons and positrons in opposite directions in the same chamber, and the Tevatron did the same for protons and antiprotons. The LHC is a proton-proton collider, and so it has two stacked rings that accelerate protons in different directions. For the BaBar ...


5

The problem is equivalent to 4 spheres colliding simultaneously, where top sphere center is at $60^o$ relative to the $x'x$ axes (same goes for bottom sphere): We'll name them: sphere A (dark blue), and spheres 1, 2, and 3. During the collision the spheres will behave like springs with an infinite hook constant. The forces on the spheres will be ...


5

Momentum is conserved in magnitude and direction. So in order to analyze any situation of momentum conservation, you should always start with $$ \sum \mathbf p_{i}=\sum\mathbf p_f $$ where the subscripts denote the initial and final momenta. As to the ball & wall, you are correct that momentum is not conserved if you are only looking at the ball. If you ...


5

First of all, if the collision is elastic, the distribution of momentum in between the components is completely determined by momentum and energy conservation! This statement is most obvious in the center-of-mass frame where the total momentum is zero and the two objects are moving in opposite directions. The momentum conservation (the total momentum is ...


5

Possibly your confusion arises from not considering that KE is a scalar, whilst momentum is a vector. Yes, there is of course a connection between KE and momentum: $K = p^2/2m$ (for non-relativistic bodies). Thus, for two equal-mass particles heading directly towards each other at equal speeds $v$, their velocities are $\pm {\bf v}$ and their momenta $\pm ...


5

No mater the inertial referential: The pain is linked to the energy dissipated by the change of speed of the 2 objects in any inertial referential. Remarque 1: a part of the energy can be absorbed by the ball by deformation or heating. So a soft ball would make less pain. Remarque 2: The pain depends on what is static behind you and what is static behind ...


5

While a single LHC particle wouldn't be doing much harm, being hit by the LHC beam would be certainly deadly and it would damage the machine badly. Any dense matter that comes into the LHC beam will instantly act as a beam dump. We have a very good idea about what happens in the LHC beam dump, see e.g. ...


5

Let's turn this around. In an inelastic collision, some of the energy, instead of remaining with the center of mass of the objects colliding, is dissipated as heat - an increase in the random motion of the atoms and molecules of the objects colliding. At the (sub) atomic level, the two particles involved in a simple collision are the same two objects that ...



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