438 posts tagged with physics.
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Convert water measurement into speed measurement?

I have a hose that can put out water at 60 litres per second (16 gallons per second) and I want to know if this hose can roughly replicate a wind speed of 275 kilometres per hour (170mph). We will put an object right in front of the hose - so there will be little pressure fall-off from the hose. Is this conversion measurement at all possible? I don't mind if the answer is a little approxiamate.
posted by meech on Oct 5, 2014 - 22 answers


I need help thinking of cool ways to spend $30k or more for high school physics equipment! If you're a physics teacher, or had a great physics teacher in high school (or college), tell me what equipment makes for inspiring and effective physics education. [more inside]
posted by Salvor Hardin on Sep 27, 2014 - 9 answers

How to commission a scientific illustration?

My co-authors and I recently got a paper accepted to a major scientific journal. If we can provide a striking illustration, I think we have a decent chance to make the cover. That would be really cool and might be worth paying an external illustrator for. I never commissioned any artwork before, so I have questions about how to proceed. [more inside]
posted by Herr Zebrurka on Sep 20, 2014 - 7 answers

Careers for Physics Graduates

A couple of years ago, I graduated from [famous university] with a decent bachelors in physics. Since then, I've been working in a job which I'm going to be slightly opaque about, but I'm basically a ‘radiation physicist’ who gets paid by the government. I'm finding lots of aspects of this job unsatisfying and I'm looking for a career change. What are good avenues to explore for physics graduates? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 21, 2014 - 8 answers

Open Skylight: Hot or Not?

My apartment is on the top floor of a single family home. My landlord has advised that we open the skylights, one in the bathroom and one in the stairwell, to help keep the house cool. We have a window AC unit going in one of the rooms (a bedroom next to the bathroom with the skylight). It seems like opening skylights would let the cooler air out, like any window. What is the right move here to keep the apartment cool? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 7, 2014 - 11 answers

Resources to better understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity

I'm seeking recommendations for documentaries or books that offer more than a layman's explanation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, but don't require advanced studies in astrophysics to comprehend. [more inside]
posted by bkpiano on Jun 17, 2014 - 12 answers

Poo vs Gravity

As a by-product of this FPP about a very large water slide, have just been involved in an inconclusive and heated argument about the physics aspects. Hypothetically, what would happen if, halfway down this very fast waterslide in a raft, you (accidentally or deliberately, it doesn't matter) defecated? [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on May 20, 2014 - 13 answers

Ideas for interactive physics activity for kids?

I'm looking for interactive activities that will help to teach physics for a bright 10-year old. [more inside]
posted by cincinnatus c on May 4, 2014 - 8 answers

I have no IDeaL what I'm doing (IDL programming for absolute dum-dums)

So, I recently got selected to do undergraduate physics research this summer. Great! Awesome! Yay me! However, my research advisor has asked me to use something called IDL to analyze tomographic images of compounds and turn them into 3D images. This is good news, because IDL is used a lot by astronomers to analyze astronomical data, and I want to continue my education in astronomy. But, I've never used IDL ever before. I'm not even sure exactly what it is (a programming language?). My question is this: how do I get up to speed so that I can hit the ground running with my research? Difficulty: Research begins in two weeks. Details: [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Apr 25, 2014 - 12 answers

Can you quantify the energy of spring?

It's spring and the plants and trees which have been bare for months are bursting into life. I've been thinking it must take a lot of energy for a tree to go from having no leaves at all to being covered in too many to count in a relatively short period of time. But how much energy exactly? [more inside]
posted by neilb449 on Apr 16, 2014 - 4 answers

The Term is "Layman Theoretical Physicist" not "Kook"

Where do you go to learn about theoretical physics, other than a university? [more inside]
posted by Deodand on Apr 8, 2014 - 22 answers

Calling all chem- physics- and math-philes!

For the grad-level education I want, I need an understanding of chemistry, physics, and calculus at a minimum. I have a BA in a tangentially related field (or will in a couple months). What are the best resources for learning these subjects without spending even more time/money on tuition? [more inside]
posted by Urban Winter on Apr 4, 2014 - 10 answers

Who lifted that balloon up into the stratosphere?

If I tie a 10N weight to a balloon and fill the balloon with helium so that the weight is lifted 100m into the air, then 1kJ of work has been done. Who did that work, and when? Who lost energy?
posted by Galaxor Nebulon on Mar 13, 2014 - 34 answers

Help me find the right Master’s Programme specialising in Oil in Germany

Hi there, I’m in a conundrum - I hold a Bachelors Degree in Physics and I am currently searching for a Master’s Programme at a German University specialising in the management of Oil resources and/or the relation to Oil and Physics that I studied. [more inside]
posted by theTrap on Dec 20, 2013 - 3 answers

Physics Study Guide

For my pal...What is a good physics study guide for: a) 1st semester algebra-based college physics b) lots of solved problems c) without calculus. I remember liking Schaum's in undergrad, but I seem to recall it being calculus based. Thx Hive!
posted by j_curiouser on Dec 15, 2013 - 4 answers

Narrowing my son's grad school search

My son is a junior physics/math major at a small midwestern state university. He needs to start looking at graduate programs. He would prefer to stay in research or academia. How can I help him start this process? (B.S. for me) Location is not an issue. It's more a question of what programs offer the best opportunities and fields of study. How can we find out that kind of information? How can I help him start with a reasonable number of candidates?
posted by DaddyNewt on Nov 27, 2013 - 16 answers

extrapolating temp/energy use difference from small boxes to my condo

Physics geeks! Help me save energy! How do I estimate how much less energy will be used by light siding vs gray siding, based on an experiment with small boxes? I made some identical boxes, put them in the sun, measured temperatures, and am trying to figure out how to scale up. The net has info about different roof colors, but not siding colors. [more inside]
posted by amtho on Nov 19, 2013 - 6 answers

How do I hack scheduling classes when I work all day?

I'm a science teacher who is trying to take prerequisite courses in order to eventually apply for a graduate physics degree. The problem is as a teacher I work a set schedule everyday, and the pre-requisite classes I want are designed for the first-time college goer who is attending school full-time or has a part-time job at night. How do I get the classes I need? [more inside]
posted by Peregrin5 on Nov 18, 2013 - 16 answers

What's my career

Help me find a new career where I don't have to take my job home with me. [more inside]
posted by Salvor Hardin on Nov 13, 2013 - 29 answers

How do I weigh this giant box?

I have a large road case (2.5 / 2.5 / 3 feet) that I need to weigh. It is too big to fit on one scale. Would it work to place one scale under each of the 4 wheels and average the 4 weight readings? My physics-fu is not strong enough to figure this one out on my own. Help!
posted by TheCoug on Nov 4, 2013 - 13 answers

Motorcycle Racing - Why Don't The Bikes Tip Over On The Corners?

Just curious why the motorcycles don't completely tip over when they corner in the motocycle races? [more inside]
posted by dbirchum on Oct 28, 2013 - 32 answers

Trees and snow

Trees in deep snow often have a gap around them where the snow is lower (see here and here). Why is this? Do trees give off enough warmth to melt snow, or do they absorb the snow as water, or is it because falling/blowing snow is blocked by the tree trunk, leaving a kind of shadow?
posted by oulipian on Oct 27, 2013 - 11 answers

A Potentially Electric Question

What is "electric potential"? I've dug through the internet, gone to tutoring, asked my teacher, and nothing has helped. [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Oct 3, 2013 - 26 answers

Do I do any work when I hold out a weight at arm's length?

When I hold out a weight at arm's length, I am doing no work (which, in physics, is motion over a distance against a resisting force, iirc) on it, because it remains stationary. But it feels like work! What about at the level of biophysics? Is keeping the muscle fibers of my arm contracted doing work in any way, perhaps at the cellular level?
posted by thelonius on Sep 11, 2013 - 29 answers

Solve a physics debate among friends?

My friends and I are having a nearly friendly debate about the effects of superhydrophobic coatings on various items, and we've decided to look here for more input. [more inside]
posted by TomMelee on Sep 5, 2013 - 12 answers

Hollow Earth Physics

Until last night I was unaware that the hollow earth conspiracy was a thing. Since then, I've been driven crazy by trying to imagine the physics of it. What would gravity be like on a shell planet? Details about the exact setup within. [more inside]
posted by odinsdream on Aug 17, 2013 - 25 answers

Bugs: secret superpowers?

I have sort of a bozo question about insects and physics. Why is it that when I shoo a wingless insect from, say, my arm, said insects falls the human equivalent of many storeys to the ground and doesn't die? Physics was never my forte, but this seems to defy some basic law, does it not?
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl on Aug 17, 2013 - 11 answers

History of the science of planetary motion for kids

I'm looking for a short book or series of books for my 7.5 year old son describing the history of the search to explain planetary motion. [more inside]
posted by alms on Aug 5, 2013 - 6 answers

I am aware of gravity, yes.

Why do blocks fall? [more inside]
posted by history is a weapon on Jul 30, 2013 - 14 answers

Getting an advanced degree in a different subject than your undergrad?

What are the options available to me for getting an advanced degree in physics when I have an undergraduate degree in a completely different field? [more inside]
posted by Peregrin5 on Jul 17, 2013 - 22 answers

At what pressure is water released from a whale's blow hole?

K, so I've found out through researching this that the water can come out at 200mph, but does anyone know how much pressure the water comes out at? (I've done a fair amount of research on it, but have only found the 200mph bit out. Was hoping I might get some help from the hive.)
posted by sockpim on Jul 15, 2013 - 9 answers

I was banned from collegeconfidential just for asking for some help?

Summer vacations are coming up and I am going to use some of my free time to learn physics and math, subjects that I love. In order to do that i asked if anyone had "exclusive study materials" from their university which they could share. I mentioned that I would like to have acess to tests and exams from other universities and I could give some good materials collected by my colleagues of the physics and math course in exchange. [more inside]
posted by tsuwal on Jul 12, 2013 - 27 answers

Loose Change: Astrotower

The Coney Island Luna Park Astrotower was dismantled this July 4th. The reason given was because weight was removed from the top of the tower it began abnormally swaying, so it had to come down. The swaying was reported by an unidentified tourist. This seems fishy to me, especially the claim that a lighter, less top heavy structure would be less stable. Was there an actual safety issue, or was it more likely that there was some kind of conspiracy to bring the tower down?
posted by Sophont on Jul 8, 2013 - 5 answers

How to draw the vectors for cohesive forces and adhesive forces?

How does the adhesive force between the water and the material of the capillary tube exert an upwards force to create the concave meniscus shape of H2O (or the convex meniscus shape of Hg)? [more inside]
posted by sunnychef88 on Jul 8, 2013 - 3 answers

Physics and Emotions (No New-Age Stuff, Please!)

I need to research physics and emotions in a way that is actually scientific, but most of what I've found while googling is new age stuff. One specific question I have is this: do emotions have wavelengths in any sense of the word? Or other quantitative properties? I would be interested in any general information on the subject as well, especially as it pertains to grief/loss. Book recs, articles, info from your personal knowledge are all welcome. Thanks!
posted by mermaidcafe on Jul 1, 2013 - 27 answers

Conservation of Heat

I read a method for making iced coffee that set off my bullshit detector. The gist of it was "if you put ice in a bunch of hot coffee it will melt and you will have warm liquid", but! "if you brew drip coffee over a pot of ice, since there is only a small amount of hot coffee hitting the ice at each moment, you will have lots of cold coffee!". That's bunk, right? [more inside]
posted by wrok on Jun 24, 2013 - 26 answers

Building/Buying a Digital Timer

I teach Physics and I would love to have a large, easy-to-see digital timer that would allow me to time various demos (i.e. pendulum swinging, ball falling, etc). I've found basically exactly what I want, but it costs $460!! Can it be bought/built for cheaper? Requirements below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Betelgeuse on May 31, 2013 - 16 answers

Defying physics in interpersonal relationships

There are anecdotes, usually of identical twins, who manage to "communicate" even when separated by distance and/or time. One twin just "knows" that something has happened to the other twin. I don't have a twin, but I once had this kind of connection with my then boyfriend. [more inside]
posted by booksandwine on May 29, 2013 - 40 answers

150 to around 120, which bpm is best for pitch?

I have a song at 150 bpm, perfectly in tune. I want to repitch it down to around 120 by slowing it down. At which bpms will the notes be at pitch?
posted by semaphore on May 23, 2013 - 6 answers

How do I go from one kind of nerd to another?

What steps should I take to switch to the aerospace industry from the academic world? [more inside]
posted by vernondalhart on May 21, 2013 - 9 answers

Where can I buy architectural engineering models?

Are there any online stores that sell teaching aids for demonstrating principles of architectural engineering? I am wanting to buy model columns, arches, domes, trusses, cantilevers, and so forth, to use in architectural history classes that I am teaching. The goal is to demonstrate the physical forces that act on buildings, so I don't need models of finished buildings and bridges, but rather models that show how the structures work--preferably in an interactive way. Any leads would be most appreciated.
posted by mortaddams on May 19, 2013 - 3 answers

Skateboard physics

I'm watching the X Games on ESPN, and it's the skateboard competition in a swimming pool-like skateboard park. After the initial drop-in to start a run, the competitors do not put a foot down and kick off, yet they seem to sometimes gain speed during the run, depending on their actions. What's going on here, from a physics perspective? How are they adding energy to speed up? [more inside]
posted by Cool Papa Bell on May 16, 2013 - 5 answers

Swing set loading.

Actual question: what is the formula for the deflection of an intermediately loaded simply supported beam from multiple point loads? Reason for the question so you can question my assumptions (and know that I'm not doing homework): I am building a swing-set, from pretty much standard swing set parts, but want to deviate from the standard dimensions a bit - in particular, I want to make the top beam in a single bay setup 1.75' longer than the usual 10'. I am doing this so I can hang a longer bench swing that would hold a couple of people, so this is more length supporting more load, and I want to calculate some things. More inside! [more inside]
posted by flaterik on May 16, 2013 - 18 answers

How to pronounce an equation in English.

Please help me pronounce this formula related to projectile motion as it would be spoken out loud: L = v0^2 sin2θ / g [more inside]
posted by misozaki on Apr 30, 2013 - 15 answers

How can I relearn high school subjects?

I want to relearn algebra, chemistry, basic mechanics, and basic physics this summer. For free? [more inside]
posted by Grandysaur on Apr 25, 2013 - 12 answers

Can CCTV predict earthquakes?

In this CCTV traffic video of the recent earthquake in China (preceded by a 30s ad), an interference pattern rolls across the screen just before the shaking occurs. Is this an artifact of the recording (or transfer between media), or something "real"?
posted by pjenks on Apr 22, 2013 - 7 answers

♫♫ What do you do with a BS in Physics? ♫♫

Three years ago, I graduated with a Physics degree. Since then, I've been working in a soul-crushing IT job. Realistically, what are my options to push my career forward? Help me find my passion. Lots of snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 25, 2013 - 11 answers

Please approximate temperature range for bodily destruction by heat/cold

What are the fatal ambient temperatures, cold & hot, for the human body? (total destruction, not just death) [more inside]
posted by herbplarfegan on Mar 19, 2013 - 20 answers

Recommended reading on religion and natural laws?

I am a scientifically-minded person who is trying to sort out my religious beliefs. I think it would be helpful to read some debates between deism, atheism, pantheism (Spinozism), and/or a scientifically-grounded theism. Can anyone recommend me books or essays that discuss these topics in ways that are engaging, well-thought-out, and thorough? [more inside]
posted by capricorn on Mar 19, 2013 - 16 answers

Math/Physics Question: Stability of an abruptly stopped object

If you have an object with a given base length and a given CG height, how fast can it travel before you have to worry about it running over an obstacle and falling over? [more inside]
posted by Popular Ethics on Mar 5, 2013 - 16 answers

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