Monthly Archives: July 2010

Q: If gravity is the reaction matter has on space, in that it warps space, why do physicist’s look for a gravity particle? Wouldn’t gravity be just a bi-product of what matter does to space?

Physicist: Isn’t that weird? The name “quantum mechanics” comes from the fact that, at its most base, quantum mechanics requires all particles and energies to come in discrete (one might say “quantized”) packets.  At some point a bunch of physicists … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Particle Physics, Physics, Quantum Theory | 7 Comments

Q: Is it possible to beat the laws of physics?

Physicist: No… But to be fair, when a physical law is beaten it stops being a law.

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Paranoia, Philosophical, Skepticism | 5 Comments

Q: What’s the chance of getting a run of K or more successes (heads) in a row in N Bernoulli trials (coin flips)? Why use approximations when the exact answer is known?

The original question was: Recently I’ve come across a task to calculate the probability that a run of at least K successes occurs in a series of N (K≤N) Bernoulli trials (weighted coin flips), i.e. “what’s the probability that in … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Equations, Math, Probability | 34 Comments

Q: Aren’t physicists just doing experiments to confirm their theories? Couldn’t they “prove” anything they want?

The original question was: When we start investigating particles and effects at the quantum level, it seems we are not really measuring the reality of the particles, but rather, our instruments’ reactions to the particles.  So if we calibrated the … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Philosophical, Physics, Skepticism | 1 Comment

Q: What’s up with that “bowling ball creates a dip in a sheet” analogy of spacetime? Isn’t it gravity that makes the dip in the first place?

The original question was: … also brings up the famous Einstein analogy of a bowling ball in a mattress as bending spacetime. What confuses me is that this seems circular- using the analogy, say we put a bowling ball on … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics, Relativity | 12 Comments

Q: If we find a “Theory of Everything” will we be done?

Physicist: Not even close. One could even make the argument that finding the theory of everything (often called “unified field theory”) is just the start of the real science.  The theory of everything (TOE) will finally tie together all of … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics | 4 Comments