Questions tagged [popular-science]

Questions in this tag must be answered in a manner that can be understood by a general audience with at most a basic understanding of physics, mathematics and related sciences. Apply it to questions where the asker clearly requests such answers.

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28 views

String theory in layman's language [duplicate]

I am just a teenager, and have heard my elders talking of string theory. I want to know what is this theory? Is it something related to relativity? (which i dont think i understand concept ...
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1answer
47 views

“Probabilities are the ghosts of quantum mechanical amplitudes”

I came across this quote today; [Quantum computers] process information using quantum mechanical amplitudes. And probabilities are sort of the ghosts of amplitudes after they have been degraded to ...
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2answers
39 views

CMB variance as percentage - does that make any sense?

Reading a popular science book that is pretty accurate and in depth, but stumbled upon this line (translated): The variation, that the CMB pattern reveals amounts to less than one hundredth of a ...
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27 views

electrical susceptibility and magnetic susceptibility

Is there a difference between electrical susceptibility and magnetic susceptibility or they are the same thing? if they are different what are the basic definitions for these terms (no mathematics ...
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17 views

Self-locating probabilities when one ceases to be an observer

I have heard (e.g. on Sean Carroll's podcast), that one way at arriving at the Born rule from an Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics is by self-locating probabilties. If some outcome(s) ...
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2answers
80 views

Is this explanation to laymen of how curved space time makes you experience gravity correct?

I always found it hard to explain to the lay person how the gravity they are feeling is caused by curved spacetime. Their reaction was just one of bafflement and they ended up thinking that it is just ...
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1answer
133 views

What causes this weird shape through frosted glass? [closed]

I was looking at my frosted window and found that the light behind it from the neighbors house looked like this: Behind the frosted glass is simply an ordinary CFL bulb. The frosting pattern on the ...
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1answer
126 views

Double Slit Eraser - does the wave function collapse and restore or never collapse

This video shows a rudimentary double slit eraser experiment. He sends photons through a double slit with a polarization film before the double slits (with a 90 degree difference) to obtain "which-way"...
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0answers
45 views

Do radioactive materials have a property for their natural heat output?

Consider room temperature, would a fissile/fissionable element be naturally warmer to the touch (or a sensitive thermometer) compared to say a glass of water (because the atoms have more ongoing ...
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2answers
90 views

How does the weak interaction sense the instability of a nucleus?

To reduce the disruptive energy, the weak interaction allows the number of neutrons to exceed that of protons (...) (via nasa.gov). How did it know it needs to reduce the disruptive energy? Example: ...
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2answers
113 views

Formal name for the “pianology” objection towards contemporary particle physics direction of research?

In a popular science book, an interesting objection towards the current direction of particle physics was stated. I tried to search for more on this, but got nowhere. Since I assume this is not an ...
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1answer
177 views

What are “vibrations” in a field in Quantum Field Theory (QFT)?

For example, in a 2013 article for NOVA Don Lincoln writes: Everywhere in the universe there is a field called the electron field. A physical electron isn’t the field, but rather a localized ...
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41 views

Example of phenomenon that occurs because Bosons don't obey exclusion principle

I am writing an essay targeted at undergrad level, non-science audience and I am trying to find another real world example of what is possible due to the fact that bosons are not subject to Pauli ...
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2answers
69 views

What are some benefits of using a higher temperature of water for cleaning? [closed]

There are lots of benefits of using a higher temperature of water for cleaning. List them!
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6answers
1k views

If photons don't experience time, does that mean time is a consequence of mass? [closed]

If photons don't experience the passage of time because they have no mass, does that mean time is a consequence of mass? To me that's a profound conclusion yet not one I see printed. Is it right?
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4answers
204 views

How are theories selected?

My motivations for asking this question are philosophical but I think this is a question that is best answered by the physics community. There is a problem in the philosophy of science called the '...
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1answer
88 views

Can a signal be sent and received in the same point? What are the limitations?

I'm wondering about this scenario: START: $B$ and $A$ moving to the right with speed $u$ $A$ present in point $X$ Signal $S$ with speed $v'$ sent by $A$ in point $X$ towards $B$ $\require{AMScd}$ \...
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2answers
190 views

Book says that gamma rays don't ionise atoms as they pass through matter?

I am reading the book The Greatest Story Ever Told ... So Far by Lawrence Krauss, and I came across this in chapter 9: In 1930 Bothe and his assistant Herbert Becker observed something completely ...
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1answer
27 views

How to take a Picture of Ice in Mars Pole?

It is say in other thread, that impossible to make satellite orbit above of poles. But there is a claim from NASA, that in pole of Mars there is a cap of ice. So they take a picture of it. How can ...
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93 views

How to show the first low of Kepler's laws

Picture below is from the Kepler's laws of Wiki. I fail to found its proof. I mean that how to use $$ F=G\frac{Mm}{r^2} ~~~~~~\text{and}~~~~~~~ F=ma $$ to prove the orbit of planet must be so. I ...
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1answer
265 views

Can I change the amplitude of light and if so, how? [closed]

Can I change the amplitude of light and if so, how? So I want to know more about light and I need a little information on how to change the amplitude of light. If anyone could help me out here thank ...
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1answer
167 views

Sean Carroll's photons on top of one another

I don't have training in physics, only in mathematics. The following is a passage from From Eternity to here by Sean Carroll, which I wanted to clarify. Photons can be piled on top of one another ...
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1answer
918 views

A question on the ideal gas law and the functioning of a fridge

First let me apologize: I am not a physicist and my question is perhaps not well-suited for this expert forum. I didn't find any other place to ask though. We have the (simplified) formula $$ \frac{P ...
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1answer
146 views

Mistake by Sean Carroll on EPR paradox for layman?

In his book From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll uses a system consisting of a cat (Miss Kitty) and a dog (Mr. Dog) behaving as quantum objects to introduce the EPR paradox. The cat and dog are ...
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2answers
135 views

Representing a 3D toroidal universe

How would one represent a 3-D wrapping object as outlined in the linked article, Classic JRPG Worlds Are Actually Donuts? In short, it explained that to achieve the x-axis and y-axis wrap that is ...
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5answers
1k views

Is it correct to say a quantum particle is in both “states” at the same time?

In popular media, and even in introductory books it is common to say that quantum objects are characterized by the non-intuitive notion of being in two or more eigenstates at "the same time". An ...
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2answers
143 views

The Big Bang and universal elemental abundance. Predictions seems bad and unconvincing?

Allow me to preface this question by stating that I am not a Big Bang denier. I am reading the book A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss. In his book, he presents the following card as one ...
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1answer
170 views

What materials can be used to prevent the settling of particles in the ceramic slurry? [closed]

How can we avoid the Settle particles in the ceramic slurry? What materials can be used for this purpose?
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1answer
144 views

How do you apply General Relativity to the EmDrive Problem?

In the last couple of months a peer reviewed study from NASA has asserted that the results from EmDrive warrant further testing in space. In addition, in the last couple of days the Chinese government ...
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0answers
94 views

formula for equivalence of number of qubits vs classical computational capability

there are many pop sci articles and press releases wrt quantum computing these days and some may tend to stretch precision in description. one particular area that bothers me at the moment: some ...
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2answers
418 views

Black hole as it is portrayed in the Interstellar film [closed]

In the film Interstellar, a character called Cooper travels into a black hole and falls straight into the so-called "tesseract". The tesseract is a 5-dimensional portal in which the ordinary time of ...
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3answers
2k views

Can we simulate the whole universe in computer? [closed]

Here is an idea: As human kind we discovered many laws, formulas, events, etc. in our surrounding environment.here is a way to discover the unknowns : Now if we simulate a virtual world with our ...
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1answer
111 views

The need for Black Energy: 3 challenges against it [closed]

You say that Black Energy is something which is needed to overcome the gravitational pull of our expanding Universe. You say that the Universe would collapse into a singularity due to gravitational ...
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3answers
258 views

Skydiving without a parachute or a wingsuit?

Recently I heard that a skydiver plummets 7600 meters onto a 30m$\times$30m net without a parachute or a wingsuit. I searched online and found a post, which said that a wingsuit is necessary. I have ...
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1answer
3k views

Is running in a zigzag helpful in avoiding being shot by an arrow? [closed]

Two people A and B start at a certain point. B runs away from A to another point. A shoots arrows at B. Is it helpful for A to run in a zigzag rather than in a constant direction? To be more precise:...
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3answers
341 views

Place of consciousness in the Standard Model [closed]

Modern neuroscience and pharmacology has made it clear that the mind originates from the brain. No theory of physics can be complete unless it accounts for consciousness as a fundamental property ...
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1answer
311 views

Why surface tension behaves so differently?

When a needle (or any other object) floats on water, its acting upwards balancing the gravity. But when an object (or may be a needle suspended in water) submerged in water, it acts downwards. Why ...
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1answer
101 views

How would one attach black hole to starship in the Black hole Starship model? [closed]

A black hole starship is a theoretical idea for enabling interstellar travel by propelling a starship by creating an artificial black hole and using a parabolic reflector to reflect its Hawking ...
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0answers
64 views

How would I know if I were a 1 mm tall robot? [closed]

In the 1955 science fiction short story, The Tunnel under the World (SPOILER ALERT) a chemical plant explosion kills all the inhabitants of a town, whose consciousnesses are then uploaded into ...
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1answer
5k views

If my windows are open on a windy day, the curtains sway and the doors slam shut. Why don't I feel this wind?

I am standing indoors, right in front of my open window, as I see my curtains moving back and forth and I can hear my closed doors shaking. I can also hear the wind howling loudly. Why don't I feel ...
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2answers
170 views

Where is the space elevator falling? And the cable holding it?

I guess the concept of a space elevator is pretty well known. The idea, first published by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895, and popularized (among others) by Arthur C. Clarke in The Fountains of ...
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75 views

Warping of space time by objects

Note: This question may seem very silly, because I have never formally studied the physics I'm about to ask about at all, all the knowledge I have is from watching videos on YouTube out of interest or ...
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3answers
6k views

Why do smaller animals survive falls from larger heights?

I remember thinking about this classic problem with my friends back in school and tried to work through it again from a physics point of view. It turned out that it is more complicated that I thought: ...
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1answer
515 views

How do individual masses 'add up' to create a gravitational field?

The combined mass of the Earth is responsible for its local gravitational force. However, this combined mass is made up from of lots and lots (and lots) of atoms, each with their own individual mass ...
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0answers
76 views

Red shift and expansion of universe [duplicate]

We have been led to believe that in the theory of universe expansion, the farthest object is moving faster away from us than the nearest object, attributing the difference to red shift. Question: is ...
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3answers
3k views

Meaning of “realism” in quantum mechanics

When physicists doing work in quantum measurement, decoherence, Bells' inequalities etc. use the term "realism" what exactly do they mean? I'm looking for answers targeted towards, say, someone whose ...
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4answers
2k views

Is the Air Blue? [duplicate]

Randall Monroe, a credible source in my opinion, says that the sky is blue because the air is: Normal light interacts with the atmosphere through Rayleigh scattering. You may have heard of ...
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1answer
73 views

In the Holometer experiment, why would one of the split laser beams arriving back at a slightly different time indicate the universe was quantized?

All the pop-sci articles I've read have a description of the set-up similar to this: It uses a pair of laser interferometers placed close to one another, each sending a one-kilowatt beam of light ...
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0answers
52 views

Why is a rainbow in the sky always an arch? [duplicate]

It's been raining a lot lately in the bay area of California (thankfully! keep it coming rain gods!) which puts me and my dad in a contemplative mood. The rain has given us something to contemplate: ...
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0answers
41 views

How to introduce symmetry of particles to a layperson? [closed]

I want to introduce the concept of special unitary symmetry and how it is important in particle physics to a layperson. Without being technical, is there a way to explain the fundamental concept?

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