You might be a physics major if...

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby smw543 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:28 pm UTC

I've always felt that what "defines" a scientist is an insatiable curiosity about the world and how it works. (And of course, the purest understanding of the natural world comes through physics.)

Therefore: YMBAPM if you think that all scientific knowledge is interesting (even if it isn't useful. Besides, there's a ton of useless science facts that are easily just as interesting as the useful stuff.)
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby doogly » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:41 pm UTC

YMBAPM if usefulness is a taint on an otherwise interesting question.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Charlie! » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:48 pm UTC

doogly wrote:YMBAPM if usefulness is a taint on an otherwise interesting question.


"PM" in this one, of course, standing for pure mathematician :P
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby eaglef2 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:19 pm UTC

YMBAPM if you calculated the net charge of your body and the Lorenz force acting on it when you run perpendicular to the Earth's magnetic field
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:30 am UTC

eaglef2 wrote:YMBAPM if you calculated the net charge of your body and the Lorenz force acting on it when you run perpendicular to the Earth's magnetic field

Woah woah woah.

Do human bodies really have a net charge? I need to know this.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby asad137 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:39 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:Do human bodies really have a net charge? I need to know this.


You can build up a static charge by shuffling your feet on carpet, no problem.

Asad

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:49 am UTC

asad137 wrote:
Sir_Elderberry wrote:Do human bodies really have a net charge? I need to know this.


You can build up a static charge by shuffling your feet on carpet, no problem.

Asad

I meant, without deliberately inducing one.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby eaglef2 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:05 am UTC

well with negative ions flowing through your blood stream I imagine that humans do carry a net charge
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby quintopia » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:31 am UTC

-If you post the following message to someone on an online dating site:

some guy on okcupid wrote:Yeah, shit, I have the same problem with anyone who can't reproduce Schwinger's calculation of the one-loop QED correction to the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron.


-If the above message was an on-topic reply to something you wrote on an online dating site.

Sorry to quote from the first page, but it's my first time in this thread:

Monty40xi wrote:-You would go see a sci fi movie just on the basis that its laser beams don't show up from the side and its space scenes are quiet.


I would avoid a movie for that reason if it were a space opera. That one "fish out of water" scene in 2001 was really creepy.

And if I were fighting a space battle, I would pump steam out of my ship just to diffract laser beams, and give the bridge some amount of data sonification just so I would have something to draw my attention to important parts of a battle.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby asad137 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:39 am UTC

eaglef2 wrote:well with negative ions flowing through your blood stream I imagine that humans do carry a net charge


A metallic wire has electrons flowing through it but no net charge because there are plenty of positively charged nuclei around to cancel out the net charge.

I think it would be very difficult for humans to carry a net charge in the steady-state as we would quickly equilibrate. That's not to say we couldn't be polarized -- for example, we could have negative charge internally and a positive surface charge -- but the net charge would still be zero.

Asad

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby DrZiro » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:11 pm UTC

Hit3k wrote:
ecshafer wrote:You've ever said "well I'm not a rocket scientist but... wait yes I am."

you might be a theoretical physicist if you're insulted by the title 'rocket scientist'. Just had to put that one in there.

Hell yes! My version is: "This is hardly rocket science. And rocket science isn't that hard anyway."

roundedge wrote:You think latex is the greatest boon to mankind since the printing press

I know certain people who love latex, but no, they're not physicists...

roundedge wrote:An assignment with 4 questions is more than an evening's worth of homework.

Actually, that is at least as true for many other subjects, such as history.
Also, you might be a physics major if you make picky remarks like the one I just made.

Meteorswarm wrote:And here I am thinking, "now, what evolutionary advantage would being spherical convey?" and then I realize I need to change threads.

Keeping warm, obviously.

paradoxeater wrote:you get this joke
a neutron walks into a bar and asks how much a beer is, the bartender says "for you, no charge"

Here's another one, tho: "Why did the meson cross the road? It didn't." I have to admit I still don't quite get that one. Something to do with short lifetimes?

BlackSails wrote:Using calories as a unit of measurement automatically makes you a chemist.

Yes, or possibly a physicist with a side interest in history - the caloric theory is quite interesting. However: If calling kcal "calories" (or "food calories") makes you shudder with horror.

doogly wrote:Better yet, make all quantities dimensionless.

Oh no! Don't hurt my dimension analysis!

Certhas wrote:You might be a mathematical physicist if you ran out of greek letters and had to dip into the hebrew alphabet. (Aleph_n does not count)

Personally I like Cyrillic. Zhe is an awesome letter. I also occasionally use Aramaic, which tends to confuse people.
My professor once, when dealing with several light speeds, found that he had run out of types of c. "What diacritic shall we use now? A cedilla, yes, that's good."

You, sir, name? wrote:That sounds a lot more like a CS major than a physics major.

Indeed. I once (back when I was a CS major) spent 24 hours programming, no breaks, no sleep, no food. Making a wiki in CGI/Perl, I think it was.

On a side note, you might be a computer science major if you angrily point out that the term "computer science" is misleading, and the preferable term is "datalogy". Or maybe that's the linguist in me? Argh, I'm too many stereotypes!

eaglef2 wrote:YMBAPM if you are envious that other people know more than you in your field

I'd say, if other people are envious that you know more than they in their fields.

... if on New Year's Eve, you suddenly get the urge to perform calculations on rockets, rather than actually watching them. I spent three days on that.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby smw543 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:02 am UTC

DrZiro wrote:
roundedge wrote:You think latex is the greatest boon to mankind since the printing press
I know certain people who love latex, but no, they're not physicists...
Ahem.
Spoiler:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:Now you know the difference between funny and sad.
Ubik wrote:But I'm too fond of the penis to let it go.
gmalivuk wrote:If you didn't want people to 'mis'understand you, then you probably should have tried saying something less stupid.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby eaglef2 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:26 am UTC

smw543 wrote:
DrZiro wrote:
roundedge wrote:You think latex is the greatest boon to mankind since the printing press
I know certain people who love latex, but no, they're not physicists...
Ahem.
want some aloe for that burn?
YMBAPM if you still think about that nerd snipping problem
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby smw543 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:33 am UTC

Also, I've known a couple of physics majors who were into latex. (Don't judge a book by its cover.)
Spoiler:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:Now you know the difference between funny and sad.
Ubik wrote:But I'm too fond of the penis to let it go.
gmalivuk wrote:If you didn't want people to 'mis'understand you, then you probably should have tried saying something less stupid.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby DrZiro » Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:Ahem.

Yes, I've heard of it. That's what makes it a joke.

Most of the physicists I know seem to be more into leather. In fact, it seems a surprising number of those who are into latex and similar things are computer scientists. But that's the topic of a very different thread.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Samsoneffect » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:52 am UTC

asad137 wrote:YMBAPM if you read that and thought "Wait, but if you observe it, it doesn't collapse into an empty or full glass..."

Asad


Hm? It collapses, you just have to do a little more than observe it. And it always collapses to empty. :P
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby smw543 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:01 pm UTC

YMBAPM if, when asked the glass half full/empty question, your best attempt at a "simplified" answer (i.e.: without quantum physics) is insisting on knowing what its previous state was; otherwise, the obvious answer is "50% of the glass's volume is occupied by liquid." Duh!
Spoiler:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:Now you know the difference between funny and sad.
Ubik wrote:But I'm too fond of the penis to let it go.
gmalivuk wrote:If you didn't want people to 'mis'understand you, then you probably should have tried saying something less stupid.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby BlackSails » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

YMBAPM if your degree is going to say: Bachleor of Arts (or Science) in Physics :mrgreen:

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby MSTK » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:53 pm UTC

asad137 wrote:
Samsoneffect wrote:You might be a physics major if the glass is in a linear combination of full and empty states.


YMBAPM if you read that and thought "Wait, but if you observe it, it doesn't collapse into an empty or full glass..."

Asad


i think you're thinking of "superposition".

...er, ymbapm if you nitpick like this v.v

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Certhas » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:51 pm UTC

MSTK wrote:
asad137 wrote:
Samsoneffect wrote:You might be a physics major if the glass is in a linear combination of full and empty states.



i think you're thinking of "superposition".

...er, ymbapm if you nitpick like this v.v


You might be a mathematical physicist if it took you a while to figure out what the difference between superposition and linear combination is supposed to be.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:49 am UTC

A while back, a friend pointed out how damaged I've gotten from physics.

I had a cup of coffee that was too warm. So I started putting cutlery into the cup. My friend asked me what the heck I was doing, and I said I was increasing the thermal conductivity of the system by adding heat sinks. He pointed out that the really alarming part wasn't what I was doing, but my physical motivation for doing it, since after all "normal" people might do the same with a much less precise motivation (e.g. "cooling the coffee by adding cold metal")
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby asad137 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:14 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:A while back, a friend pointed out how damaged I've gotten from physics.

I had a cup of coffee that was too warm. So I started putting cutlery into the cup. My friend asked me what the heck I was doing, and I said I was increasing the thermal conductivity of the system by adding heat sinks. He pointed out that the really alarming part wasn't what I was doing, but my physical motivation for doing it, since after all "normal" people might do the same with a much less precise motivation (e.g. "cooling the coffee by adding cold metal")


Actually, if your goal was to cool the metal by transferring heat to the cold metal, you were adding heat capacity, not thermal conductivity. Though it helps that the metal is thermally conductive, that just affects how quickly it cools, not the final equilibrium temperature. Alternatively, if your goal was to use the cutlery as a heat exchanger to the ambient environment, the conductivity is very important.

And I still don't know what the difference between a linear combination of quantum states and a superposition of quantum states is.

Asad

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:41 am UTC

asad137 wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:A while back, a friend pointed out how damaged I've gotten from physics.

I had a cup of coffee that was too warm. So I started putting cutlery into the cup. My friend asked me what the heck I was doing, and I said I was increasing the thermal conductivity of the system by adding heat sinks. He pointed out that the really alarming part wasn't what I was doing, but my physical motivation for doing it, since after all "normal" people might do the same with a much less precise motivation (e.g. "cooling the coffee by adding cold metal")


Actually, if your goal was to cool the metal by transferring heat to the cold metal, you were adding heat capacity, not thermal conductivity. Though it helps that the metal is thermally conductive, that just affects how quickly it cools, not the final equilibrium temperature. Alternatively, if your goal was to use the cutlery as a heat exchanger to the ambient environment, the conductivity is very important.


Initially I just tried to add capacity, but it didn't do that much of a difference (most of the change should have happened fairly quickly, as per Newton's cooling law), so I started bleeding heat out of the system through my hands from the cutlery (While my hands were warmer than the ambient air, they were colder than the cutlery and actively cooled by my blood circulation.)
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Zeroignite » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:48 am UTC

I think an array of forks, pointy side up, would be the best heatsink.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby eaglef2 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:08 am UTC

What about mad scientists? You might be a mad scientist if you decide to make your own version of a finglonger.
or you might be a mad scientist if you decide to carve your name in the Earth's surface with a Times New Roman 20,000 pt. font
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:02 am UTC

eaglef2 wrote:What about mad scientists? You might be a mad scientist if you decide to make your own version of a finglonger.
or you might be a mad scientist if you decide to carve your name in the Earth's surface with a Times New Roman 20,000 pt. font


Pfft! Scoot over to a thread of your own, unless you are mad scientists who are physics majors.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Certhas » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:54 am UTC

asad137 wrote:And I still don't know what the difference between a linear combination of quantum states and a superposition of quantum states is.



I think the key difference is that undergrads will tend to think of "a linear combination of states" as a mathematical statement and "a superposition of quantum states" as a physical statement. The difference isn't in content but in context. Which is why they are the same to a theoretical physicist (or I suspect, to anyone at grad level).
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby asad137 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:04 pm UTC

Certhas wrote:I think the key difference is that undergrads will tend to think of "a linear combination of states" as a mathematical statement and "a superposition of quantum states" as a physical statement. The difference isn't in content but in context. Which is why they are the same to a theoretical physicist (or I suspect, to anyone at grad level).


Oh. They're the same to me, and I'm an experimental physicist :)

Asad

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby The EGE » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:51 pm UTC

At 72 points per inch, size 20,000 font is only 23 feet high. Slightly crazy, yes, but not necessarily mad scientist, or even physics major. Even an english major could manage to do that, given a beach, enough time, and a shovel.

You might be a future physics major if if you find college prep high school physics too easy and instead spend your time figuring out stuff like just how big a rocket motor you need to send something into orbit from the moon.

(if anyone's wondering, it takes somewhere around 1200 to 1500 Ns of total impulse. An Aerotech K motor can launch its own weight plus about half a pound into a 50-mile-high lunar orbit :D )

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby valarauca » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:12 am UTC

You turned off IMPACT (on ABC) as soon as a black dwarf became an rock twice the mass of earth, lodged in the moon, with the moon still orbiting the earth?

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:25 am UTC

valarauca wrote:You turned off IMPACT (on ABC) as soon as a black dwarf became an rock twice the mass of earth, lodged in the moon, with the moon still orbiting the earth?


I watched it, mostly because it was so ridiculously bad.

See also the thread I created as a result of the trauma I suffered from watching it.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby fenrir_darkwolf » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:54 am UTC

You looked down on the you might be a biology major thread, because it is less pure.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby PoliteProgrammer » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:19 am UTC

fenrir_darkwolf wrote:You looked down on the you might be a biology major thread, because it is less pure.

QFT

Corollary:
You might be a physics major if, upon realising there now exist YMBABM and YMBACM threads, you decided to think of some more YMBAPM stereotypes.
Since, you know, we don't like to be beaten. :D

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby thecommabandit » Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:33 pm UTC

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sharlos » Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:53 am UTC

Nothing much to add to the thread but I couldn't let this thread stay at 404 posts. It's unnatural.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Mr Jack » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:24 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:Nothing much to add to the thread but I couldn't let this thread stay at 404 posts. It's unnatural.



You just put it to 404 replies, silly!

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Ended » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

YMBAPM if you try to estimate the frequency of middle C by humming in the shower (a closed tube) to find its resonance modes.

Edit: calculation in spoiler.
Spoiler:
I estimated (I think this was a lucky guess) that the G two below middle C was the lowest mode of the shower, and that this mode had a wavelength of 2*(height of shower) = 4m. This gives a frequency of 340/4 = 85 Hz for that G, and 85*(21/12)17 = 226.9 Hz for middle C. The actual value is 261.6 Hz.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Agent_Irons » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:16 pm UTC

Ended wrote:YMBAPM if you try to estimate the frequency of middle C by humming in the shower (a closed tube) to find its resonance modes.

Edit: calculation in spoiler.
Spoiler:
I estimated (I think this was a lucky guess) that the G two below middle C was the lowest mode of the shower, and that this mode had a wavelength of 2*(height of shower) = 4m. This gives a frequency of 340/4 = 85 Hz for that G, and 85*(21/12)17 = 226.9 Hz for middle C. The actual value is 261.6 Hz.

YMBAPM if the calculation worked. (To within experimental error)
TMBAPM if 15% is pretty good for experimental error.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:33 pm UTC

Agent_Irons wrote:
Ended wrote:YMBAPM if you try to estimate the frequency of middle C by humming in the shower (a closed tube) to find its resonance modes.

Edit: calculation in spoiler.
Spoiler:
I estimated (I think this was a lucky guess) that the G two below middle C was the lowest mode of the shower, and that this mode had a wavelength of 2*(height of shower) = 4m. This gives a frequency of 340/4 = 85 Hz for that G, and 85*(21/12)17 = 226.9 Hz for middle C. The actual value is 261.6 Hz.

YMBAPM if the calculation worked. (To within experimental error)
TMBAPM if 15% is pretty good for experimental error.


You may be an astronomer if within 2 orders of magnitude is pretty good experimental error.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Shivahn » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:56 pm UTC

YMBAPM if, when wondering why your steaming ramen is cooling, you think "ah, the steam is the faster molecules escaping, lowering the root mean square of the kinetic energy of the molecules in the soup", instead of "it's evaporating".


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