Questions tagged [experimental-physics]

for questions about design, process, data, or analysis of experiments and observations.

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37
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8answers
6k views

What is the proof that the universal constants ($G$, $\hbar$, $\ldots$) are really constant in time and space?

Cavendish measured the gravitation constant $G$, but actually he measured that constant on the Earth. What’s the proof that the value of the gravitation constant if measured on Neptune would remain ...
271
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11answers
37k views

What experiment would disprove string theory?

I know that there's big controversy between two groups of physicists: those who support string theory (most of them, I think) and those who oppose it. One of the arguments of the second group is ...
16
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2answers
2k views

LIGO flawed by the identical expansion of laser wavelength and arms in presence of a gravitational wave?

LIGO, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is a large-scale physics experiment aiming to directly detect gravitational waves. The device measures the phase shift laser beams. If I ...
691
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21answers
236k views

Cooling a cup of coffee with help of a spoon

During the breakfast with my colleagues, a question popped into my head: What is the fastest method to cool a cup of coffee, if your only available instrument is a spoon? A qualitative answer would ...
53
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10answers
38k views

How did Newton discover his second law?

I've always assumed/been told that Newton's 2nd law is an empirical law — it must be discovered by experiment. If this is the case, what experiments did Newton do to discover this? Is it related to ...
53
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13answers
16k views

Why is cold fusion considered bogus?

Cold fusion is being mentioned a lot lately because of some new setup that apparently works. This is an unverified claim. See for example: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/01/24/1550205/Italian-...
52
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6answers
5k views

Scattering of light by light: experimental status

Scattering of light by light does not occur in the solutions of Maxwell's equations (since they are linear and EM waves obey superposition), but it is a prediction of QED (the most significant Feynman ...
19
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7answers
3k views

The distance square in the Newton's law of universal gravitation is really a square?

When I was in the university (in the late 90s, circa 1995) I was told there had been research investigating the $2$ (the square of distance) in the Newton's law of universal gravitation. $$F=G\frac{...
13
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5answers
2k views

Are the LIGO observations proof of a black hole merger, and what happened to the black holes?

Recent reports claim that the gravitational waves detected by LIGO match up with the signal expected from two black holes merging as predicted by general relativity. Additionally, the masses of both ...
22
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7answers
8k views

Experimental evidence of a fourth spatial dimension?

As human beings, we observe the world in which we live in three dimensions. However, it is certainly theoretically possible that more dimensions exist. Is there any direct or indirect evidence ...
12
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2answers
1k views

How quark electric charge directly have been measured?

How quarks electric charge directly have been measured when quarks never directly observed in isolation? (Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement.)
33
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5answers
8k views

Interpretation of “transition rate” in Fermi's golden rule

This is a question I asked myself a couple of years back, and which a student recently reminded me of. My off-the-cuff answer is wrong, and whilst I can make some hand-waving responses I'd like a ...
41
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4answers
9k views

Has gravity ever been experimentally measured between two atoms?

Has there been any experiments, or are there any references, demonstrating gravity between atoms? If so, what are the key experiments/papers? Or if not, what is the smallest thing that has actually ...
199
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9answers
19k views

Why is the detection of gravitational waves so significant?

LIGO has announced the detection of gravitational waves on 11 Feb, 2016. I was wondering why the detection of gravitational waves was so significant? I know it is another confirmation of general ...
14
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1answer
502 views

How are neutrino beams emitted at CERN?

As far I know they come from accelerator collisions, but I have read confusing things like magnetically focused. How could neutrinos be guided magnetically if they aren't affected by the ...
19
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6answers
1k views

Speed of neutrinos

Everyone knows it is close to $c$, but how close? What are the recent results?
37
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3answers
9k views

What is the smallest item for which gravity has been recorded or observed?

What is the smallest item for which gravity has been recorded or observed? By this, I mean the smallest object whose gravitational effect upon another object has been detected. (Many thanks to Daniel ...
12
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2answers
2k views

What's wrong with this experiment showing that either FTL communication is possible or complementarity doesn't hold?

The assumptions are: Alice and Bob have perfectly synchronized clocks Alice and Bob have successfully exchanged a pair of entangled photons The idea is simply to have Alice and Bob perform the ...
18
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2answers
12k views

How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years?

If a radioactive material takes a very long time to decay, how is its half life measured or calculated? Do we have to actually observe the radioactive material for a very long time to extrapolate its ...
6
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1answer
506 views

How do we perform transverse measurements in a two level system?

In quantum mechanics any two level system can be mapped onto effective spin variables. If the system is defined by two energy levels, $|E_1\rangle$ and $|E_2\rangle$, the Hamiltonian is $$ H = \left(\...
5
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2answers
566 views

Have experiments ever suggested two different values to the same divergent series?

I believe to have understood that some physical experiments suggest finite values to divergent series (please correct me if I'm wrong, my understanding of these matters is limited). I heard, for ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Is there a good chance that gravitational waves will be detected in the next years?

Is there a good chance that gravitational waves will be detected in the next years? Theoretical estimates on the size of the effect and the sensitivity of the newest detectors should permit a ...
47
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1answer
8k views

Why do earphone wires always get tangled up in pocket?

What is the reason? Is it caused by their narrow shape, the soft material, walking vibration or something else?
24
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1answer
5k views

How did Rømer measure the speed of light by observing Jupiter's moons, centuries ago?

I am interested in the practical method and I like to discover if it is cheap enough to be done as an experiment in a high school.
18
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5answers
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How can I determine whether the mass of an object is evenly distributed?

How can I determine whether the mass of an object is evenly distributed without doing any permanent damage? Suppose I got all the typical lab equipment. I guess I can calculate its center of mass and ...
7
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3answers
929 views

Is there a way to decrease the rate of nuclear Beta decay?

In that question and its answers it was mentioned that you could trigger radioactive decay by bombarding atoms with gamma rays of the right energy level (there may be other solutions I do not know ...
6
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4answers
938 views

Measuring extra-dimensions

I have read and heard in a number of places that extra dimension might be as big as $x$ mm. What I'm wondering is the following: How is length assigned to these extra dimensions? I mean you can ...
57
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0answers
3k views

Status of experimental searches for tachyons?

Now that the dust has settled on the 2011 superluminal neutrino debacle at OPERA, I'm interested in understanding the current status of experimental searches for neutrinos. Although the OPERA claim ...
10
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2answers
4k views

How are Monte Carlo simulations used in experimental high energy physics?

How are Monte Carlo simulations used in experimental high energy physics? Particularly in studying detectors limitations (efficiencies?) and data analysis. I will appreciate giving a simple example ...
23
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6answers
2k views

Has a double slit experiment ever been done using a track chamber or even contemplated?

I tried searches and the question has been posed in other fora, but no experiment came up. Track chambers (cloud chambers, bubble chambers , time projection chambers, solid state detectors like the ...
51
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6answers
99k views

Why is jumping into water from high altitude fatal?

If I jump from an airplane straight positioned upright into the ocean, why is it the same as jumping straight on the ground? Water is a liquid as opposed to the ground, so I would expect that by ...
6
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5answers
4k views

About the Ether Theory acceptance

Why was the Ether Theory refused by Modern Physics? If you please explain me, I just wanted to understand it more.
27
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3answers
1k views

Has the gravitational interaction of antimatter ever been examined experimentally?

I know that the gravitational interaction of antimatter is expected to be the same as normal matter. But my question is, has it ever been experimentally validated? I think it would not be a trivial ...
10
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2answers
13k views

Multiple measurements of the same quantity - combining uncertainties

I have a number of measurements of the same quantity (in this case, the speed of sound in a material). Each of these measurements has their own uncertainty. $$ v_{1} \pm \Delta v_{1} $$ $$ v_{2} \pm \...
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2answers
870 views

Does string theory provide quantitative experimental predictions? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What experiment would disprove string theory? We carefully observe things, observe patterns and then build theories that predict. String theory is frequently criticized for ...
34
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2answers
764 views

experimental bounds on spacetime torsion

Did Gravity Probe B provide any bounds on Einstein-Cartan torsion? is a non-zero torsion value at odds with the results regarding frame-dragging and geodetic effects?
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2answers
348 views

Where to find cross section data for e- + p -> p + e-?

Where to find cross section data for e- + p -> p + e-? PDG's cross section data listing does not include it.
53
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12answers
13k views

Home experiments to derive the speed of light?

Are there any experiments I can do to derive the speed of light with only common household tools?
17
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1answer
24k views

Is it possible to use “negative sound waves” to “cancel out” a sound to create silence?

I saw youtube videos that claimed to do this, although I'm quite certain the videos just excluded sound and lied. However, I am wondering if the physics of this is actually possible - to create a ...
24
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2answers
3k views

What exactly do we see on the famous neutrino image of the sun?

An answer to the question If we could build a neutrino telescope, what would we see? contains a link to a neutrino image of the sun by the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector. There it says that the ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Electromagnetic Momentum

My book says : The fact that electromagnetic radiation of energy carried momentum was known from classical theory and from the experiments of Nichols and Hull in 1903. This relation is also consistent ...
25
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5answers
1k views

How do we know that the nucleus isn't a quark-gluon plasma?

The standard picture of the nucleus of atom is that is several distinct nucleons, which themselves are composed of quarks. However, it seems to me like a much simpler picture is that the nucleus is ...
6
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5answers
4k views

What is the evidence for Inflation of the early universe?

The theory of Inflation explains the apparent consistency of the universe by proposing that the early universe grew exponentially for a 1E-36 seconds. Isn't a simpler explanation that the universe is ...
30
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4answers
4k views

What is wrong with my setup of cloud chamber?

My setup: plastic box (~1l) with the cover painted black mat the bottom of the box covered with sponges saturated with ethyl alcohol (90%) to the limit (all over sponge capacity poured back to bottle)...
26
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3answers
6k views

How do people calculate proportions of dark matter, dark energy and baryonic matter of the universe?

The Wikipedia page on dark matter mentions that the Planck mission had revealed that in our universe ordinary baryonic matter, dark matter and dark energy are present in the ratio: 4.9%, 26.8% and 68....
29
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6answers
12k views

Is this kids experiment a legitimate way to show that air has mass?

Consider the experiment in this link. The experiment includes using a ruler as a lever, with an inflated balloon on one side and a balloon which is not inflated on the other. The aim of the ...
32
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3answers
4k views

How strong were the gravitational waves that LIGO detected at the source?

Congrats to the LIGO team on the announcement of their discovery of gravitational waves! The articles I've read say that the distortion we see here is much smaller than a proton. What about at the ...
13
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4answers
10k views

Is Dr Quantum's Double Slit Experiment video scientifically accurate?

I'm fascinated by the fundamental questions raised by the Double Slit Experiment at the quantum level. I found this "Dr Quantum" video clip which seems like a great explanation. But is it ...
16
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5answers
967 views

Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in Experiments?

As I hope is obvious to everyone reading this, the universe contains more matter than antimatter, presumably because of some slight asymmetry in the amounts of the two generated during the Big Bang. ...
15
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3answers
5k views

Why do neutrino oscillations imply nonzero neutrino masses?

Neutrinos can pass from one family to another (that is, change in flavor) in a process known as neutrino oscillation. The oscillation between the different families occurs randomly, and the likelihood ...