Questions tagged [approximations]

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2answers
70 views

Is the harmonic oscillator approximation valid in occasion of very powerful fields?

I noted that in physics, to study electromagnetic wave phenomena when there is a sinusoidal behaviour, often is used the approximation of harmonic oscillation. I tried to understand the basics of why ...
2
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1answer
191 views

How can I find the metric in weak field limit for specific theory?

What is the general approach to finding a modified version of Poisson equation by means of the weak field limit of a specific gravitational theory? What is the first step? Can you introduce the main ...
2
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2answers
117 views

Violating Quantization of Charge?

Isn't it the violation of "the quantization of charge" when we use $dQ$ for calculation like integration or derivation?
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2answers
428 views

Why are angular velocities of double pendulum small in small angle approximation? [duplicate]

In the lagrangian for double pendulum for small angles, the term $\dot{\theta}_1\dot{\theta}_2 \left [ 1-\frac{(\theta_1-\theta_2)^2}{2} \right ]$ is replaced with $\dot{\theta}_1\dot{\theta}_2$, ...
2
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2answers
124 views

Are some laws in physics really as simple as they seem?

For example, is $F = ma$ really an exact formula, or is it an approximation? I know a lot of formula's come from taking the first few terms of a Taylor expansion, so I was wondering if the simple ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Neglecting some wave functions by assuming that the angle between tension force and horizontal is small in the derivation of wave equation in $1D$

In the derivation of the wave equation in classical mechanics in one dimension in a string. It's assumed that the angle between the tension and the horizontal line is small. This is assumed to allow ...
2
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2answers
911 views

Why does GW-DFT give higher bandgaps in semiconductors

Usually the GW Density Functional Theory (DFT) gives larger band gaps in semiconductors compared to the LDA and GGA methods. This seems to be related to the screened potential in GW, but it is not ...
2
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1answer
70 views

Small oscillations in the given potential

The task is to find the period of small oscillations in the potential $$U=U_0\tan^2{\Big(\frac{x^2}{a^2}\Big)}.$$ I started with finding the stable equilibrium points: $\frac{dU}{dx}=0$ $2U_{0}\...
2
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1answer
69 views

Can the jerk diverge?

In other words can the acceleration change instantly? In direction and/or magnitude. There are two aspects to this question. In a problem, can you treat acceleration as changing instantly? (when in ...
2
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1answer
48 views

How do you expand $\langle x'-\Delta x'\rvert \alpha\rangle$?

In my textbook (Sakurai) the following identity is often used: $$ \left< x'-\Delta x' \, \middle| \, \alpha\right>~=~\left< x' \, \middle| \, \alpha \right> - \Delta x'\frac{\partial}{\...
2
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1answer
107 views

In what physical situations is the weak-field limit invalid?

in the weak-field limit gravitation is described by a symmetric tensor field $h_{μν}(x)$ in flat spacetime. Linear theory suffices for nearly all experimental applications of general relativity ...
2
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1answer
123 views

Gravitational $n$-body problem with tidal forces

This year I'm working on modelling the gravitational $n$-body problem using Newton's law of gravity where I assume that for large enough distances, planetary bodies can be modelled as point masses. ...
2
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4answers
311 views

Velocity between two running animals

One animal $A$ can run $100$ km/h and another animal $B$ can run $85$ km/h. Suppose the slower animal $B$ starts running $25$ meters ahead of the faster animal $A$ in a direction. How can I ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Electric field at surface of a spherical shell

The shell theorem provides a well known result that for a spherical shell with uniformly distributed charge $Q$ and radius $R$, the electric field at a distance of $r$ from the center is: $$\begin{...
2
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2answers
100 views

Why is that a question can be answered with several theories? [closed]

This may be silly and I am sorry for that but it is confusing me. My teacher was teaching us about path of electrons around a nucleus. He told us that many theories have been proposed about path of an ...
2
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1answer
534 views

Fresnel diffraction approximation (parabolic waves)

The Huygens-Fresnel principle (Introduction to Fourier Optics, Goodman), $$ U(x,y)=\frac{z}{i\lambda}\int_\Sigma U(\xi,\eta)\frac{e^{ikr}}{r}d\xi d\eta\,, $$ where $\cos \theta=\frac{z}{r}$, shows ...
2
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3answers
39 views

Why do we assume differential coefficients of number of molecules?

In many portions of physics (like Maxwell's velocity distribution law) we assume statements like- Number of molecules having velocity between $c$ to $c+dc$ is $dn$. But number of molecules $n$ is ...
2
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1answer
530 views

Lagrangian for small oscillations

For a double pendulum we can consider 2 generalised coordinates $\theta_1$ (angle between first mass and vertical axis) and $\theta_2$ (angle between second mass and vertical axis). The Lagrangian to ...
2
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1answer
163 views

How can the fictitious mass in the Car-Parrinello method reproduce the “real” dynamics?

In the Car-Parrinello method, to solve simultaneously the classical equations of motion for the atoms and the Kohn-Sham equations for the electrons, the following effective Lagrangian is used: $$ \tag{...
2
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2answers
334 views

Computing microstate probabilities based on Boltzmann distribution for chemical systems - Is it rigorous?

One approach to predicting the folded structure of a polymer (DNA, RNA, protein) is to compute the probability that any particular part of the polymer $x_i$ is "paired" with another part of the ...
2
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1answer
555 views

Zero entropy change

If you put a object in contact with a heat reservoir that is infinitesimally higher in temperature than the object and allow equilibrium to be reached the entropy change is zero right?
2
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1answer
606 views

A missing factor of 2 in the standard Hartree-Fock mean field?

Let's start from a very simple argument: If $A$ and $B$ are some operators, then I can write their product as $$AB = (A-\langle A\rangle)(B - \langle B \rangle) + \langle A \rangle B + A \langle B \...
2
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1answer
329 views

Using the Scalar Electrostatic Potential to Calculate Transition Probabilities

transition probabilites of atomic systems prone to some time-varying electromagnetic field are very often calculated using perturbation theory leading to expressions including the vector potential $\...
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0answers
21 views

How does approximations to assumptions lead to approximations to solutions?

I was reading Physics SE 228313. It talks about using Born-von Karman condition to model metal lattices. Is there any mathematical justification that approximations to physical condition would give ...
2
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3answers
79 views

Oscillator with decaying restoring force

Suppose a system that is described by the equation of motion: $$ \ddot{x} = -k\cdot x\cdot \exp\left(-\frac{t^2}{2\sigma^2}\right). $$ (For example a spring with decaying stiffness.) I'd like to ...
2
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0answers
40 views

Anomalous curvature coupling corrections for $Dp$-branes worldvolume actions

The Chern-Simons term of an (abelian brane) is commonly written as $$ \sim\int_{\mathcal M_{p+1}}\sum_iC_{i}[e^{2\pi\alpha'F+B}], $$ where $C_i$ is the background Ramond-Ramond $i$-form, $F$ is the ...
2
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1answer
81 views

Why does mass increase when gravitational potential energy increases?

I saw a solved example in a book (Concepts of Physics by H.C. Verma, volume 2), where there is a body near surface of the earth, the problem is to calculate the increase in mass of the body when it is ...
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0answers
106 views

Validity of the thin wall approximation

Inspired by the question How can I understand the tunneling problem by Euclidean path integral where the quadratic fluctuation has a negative eigenvalue?, I decided to come back to the first paper by ...
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0answers
27 views

Maximum intensification by refraction

Suppose that a beam of light in a medium with index of refraction $n$ reaches the surface of the medium, with vacuum on the outside. Its incident angle with respect to the normal is $\theta$. Only a ...
2
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0answers
298 views

Approximating the equivalent resistance of a large resistor network

Per the elegant solution of this Phys.SE question we can find the equivalent resistance between nodes $k$ and $l$ of a resistor network like this: $$R_{kl} = {{\rm det}A^{(kl)} \over {\rm det} A^{(l)}...
2
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0answers
141 views

Phase-shifting of instantaneous eigenstates in the adiabatic approximation

In my book Quantum Mechanics by B.H. Bransden and C.J. Joachain, there is a chapter on the adiabatic approximation. Here, the authors assume that the time-dependent Hamiltonian $\hat{H}(t)$ changes ...
2
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0answers
101 views

Planck's theory question

Could you please tell me why Planck's theory ceases to be valid when the sizes of the bodies and/or their separation distances are comparable to, or smaller than, the wavelength. My professor told me ...
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0answers
281 views

Idealizations of an object as a point particle

Why is it that an object can be idealized as a point particle or 'particle like' to solve problems? What are the limits of such a tool?
2
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3answers
278 views

Moment of inertia related question [closed]

Sorry for the undetailed title, but when the moment of inertia is calculated in a solid cylinder, the volume of a "sheet" of the cylinder is calculated. I've only seen the volume as $$length*thickness*...
2
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1answer
357 views

Approximate formula for the volume of water at a given temperature

Sorry for asking this kind of question. Do you recongnize this formula? $$V(T) = 0.0000679T^3+0.0085043T^2- 0.0624T+999.87$$ when $V$ is volume of water in $\mathrm{ml}$, $T$ is temperature in ...
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0answers
35 views

Adiabatic approximation with scaled time?

In this article (page 3) they have following expression for the coefficients in the adiabatic approximation: $$\dot a_k(t)=-a_k(t) \langle k| \dot k \rangle -\sum_{n\ne k} a_n(t) \frac{\langle k(t)|\...
2
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0answers
413 views

Taylor expansion with fractional powers [closed]

In a physics problem, I was expanding in a small parameter $x$, and arrived at the answer $$\cos^{-1}(1-x).$$ This function blows up if you take a Taylor expansion, because for small $x$, it looks ...
2
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0answers
101 views

Why is stat mech involved in mean field theory?

Mean field theory involves approximating an interacting system by a non-interacting one, by replacing some operators with their expectation value. However, to my surprise, free energy is involved in ...
2
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0answers
129 views

Numerical problem with Hartree-Fock equations for dilute Bose gas

I have to solve the following set of equations self-consistently: $$\begin{align} n_c(\mathbf{r}) & = \frac{1}{g}\left[\mu - V_{\rm ext}(\mathbf{r}) - 2 g n_{T}(\mathbf{r}) \right] \\[3mm] n_{T}(\...
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0answers
159 views

Hyperfine structure in hydrogen

Consider the Dirac equation for bounded electron in hydrogen atom. I am trying to get a clear physical explanation for all mathematical terms that appear in the Hamiltonian and energy spectrum. ...
2
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0answers
129 views

I have a problem with the variational method approximation in quantum mechanics. Is my issue valid, or am I misunderstanding something?

The variational method for approximating the ground state of a Hamiltonian $H$ by providing a lower bound is simple enough. If we construct any test wave function $|\bar{0}\rangle$ then the claim is $$...
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0answers
87 views

How fast do I have to dry myself for a hot shower to heat my body?

I am not a physicist. I would like to know how fast do I have to dry myself after taking a hot shower to get more heat from the shower, than lost because the water on my skin increasing heat exchange ...
2
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0answers
84 views

WKB formula and Langer correction [duplicate]

The general WKB approximation formula states that $$ \int_a^b\sqrt{E_k-V(x)} = (k+1)\pi \text{ with } x \in [a,b] $$ for a regular Schrödinger equation (without the $\hbar$ and such). However, in the ...
2
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1answer
572 views

Proof of the conservation of the energy functional for the Gross-Pitaevskii equation?

From the Gross-Pitaevskii equation \begin{equation}i\hbar\frac{\partial\psi}{\partial t}=\left(-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m}\nabla^2+V+g|\psi|^2\right)\psi\end{equation} using the variational relation \begin{...
2
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0answers
769 views

Adiabatic approximation and time-dependent problems

I am an undergraduate physics student. I have a question in approximation methods for time-dependent problems in quantum mechanics. I read the proof of the adiabatic theorem but I didn't understand it....
2
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0answers
408 views

Limits of integration for the radial wave function of the Hydrogen atom in the WKB approximation

I am working a problem where we have to find the energy eigenvalues for the radial wave function of the hydrogen atom for $\ell=0$ using the WKB approximation. I am sure that I set up the integral ...
2
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3answers
619 views

Index of Refraction in Metal: Approximating Complex Perturbation

If you consider waves in a metal, you can write the index of refraction for the metal as, $$ n^2 = 1 - \frac{\omega_p^2}{\omega^2} $$ I am interested in what will happen if the index is perturbed by ...
1
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3answers
186 views

Why do we invent non-physical concepts (like e.g. point particles) to study physical phenomenons?

There is nothing exist like point particles in reality then why did we invented the notion of point particles and how does it relate to real world?
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4answers
125 views

Approximations of the kind $x \ll y$ [closed]

I have an expression for a force due to charged particle given as $$F=\frac{kQq}{2L}\left(\frac{1}{\sqrt{R^2+(H+L)^2}}-\frac{1}{\sqrt{R^2+(H-L)^2}}\right) \tag{1}$$ where $R$, $L$ and $H$ are distance ...
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5answers
575 views

Why does a massless, frictionless piston move from high pressure to low pressure?

Consider an ideal gas kept in a rigid cylinder with a movable massless, frictionless piston at the top. Let the pressure inside the cylinder be $P$ at pressure exerted by the surrounding on the ...