Monthly Archives: May 2011

Q: How can we have any idea what a 4D hypercube or any n-D object “looks like”? What is the process of developing a picture of a higher dimensional object?

Physicist: Math.  Math all over. A picture of a 3D object is a “projection” of that object onto a 2D page.  Projection to an artist means taking a picture or drawing a picture.  To a mathematician it means keeping some … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Geometry, Math, Philosophical | 13 Comments

Q: Is it possible to destroy a black hole?

The original question was: Aside from Hawking radiation, is it possible to destroy a black hole? Specifically, could you rotate a black hole fast enough that it was flung apart? Also, assuming that m is the mass necessary for a … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics | 39 Comments

Q: Why does the Earth orbit the Sun?

The original question was: What exactly causes the Earth’s rotation and revolution?  Does this occur due to centripetal force and the lack of friction to stop the Earth from spinning? IE- Newton’s First Law? If so, where did this centripetal … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Equations, Physics | 51 Comments

Q: If you suddenly replaced all the water drops in a rainbow with same-sized spheres of polished diamond, what would happen to the rainbow? How do you calculate the size of a rainbow?

Physicist: A normal rainbow is created when light enters a water droplet, bounces once off of the far side, and comes back out. Diamond “droplets” however don’t make rainbows.  In order to get a rainbow that exists, and isn’t in … Continue reading

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

Q: If we meet aliens, will they have the same math and physics that we do?

Physicist: Similar.  We’re sure to have figured out stuff they haven’t, and they’re sure to have figured out stuff we haven’t.  But there’s likely to be a fair amount of overlap. Some things have a way of being figured out … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Philosophical | 6 Comments

Q: Is 0.9999… repeating really equal to 1?

Mathematician: Usually, in math, there are lots of ways of writing the same thing. For instance: = = = =   As it so happens, 0.9999… repeating is just another way of writing one. A slick way to see this … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Equations, Math | 48 Comments