Monthly Archives: August 2012

Q: How are voltage and current related to battery life? What is the difference between batteries with the same voltage, but different shapes or sizes? What about capacitors?

Physicist: Chemical batteries use a pair of chemical reactions to move charges from one terminal to the  other with a fixed voltage, usually 1.5 volts for most batteries you can buy in the store (although there are other kinds of … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Engineering, Physics | 31 Comments

Q: What are virtual particles?

Physicist: In quantum mechanics every event is the sum of the possible ways in which that event can happen.  Often, events can involve the creation and annihilation of particles.  If there are some ways for a thing to happen that … Continue reading

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

Q: Would it be possible to create an antimatter weapon by “harvesting” enough antimatter, containing it in an electro-magnetic field and placing that in a projectile?

Physicist: Yes, but it wouldn’t be easy. Anti-matter is generated one particle at a time, randomly, during high-energy collisions.  These collisions produce all kinds of particles, including a lot of light (which is just wasted energy).  But if you want … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics | 11 Comments

Q: If Earth was flat, would there be a horizon? If so, what would it look like? If the Earth was flat and had infinite area, would that change the answer?

Physicist: There’d definitely still be a horizon if the Earth were flat.  It would be in almost exactly the same place, and look essentially identical.  While the Earth isn’t flat, adherents to that theory are correct in that it’s nearly … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Geometry, Physics | 59 Comments

Q: Is there an experiment which could provide conclusive evidence for either the Many Worlds or Copenhagen interpretations of quantum physics?

Physicist: Probably not. Tiny things don’t act the way they should.  You got super-positions, wave-like behavior, action at a distance, quantum tunneling, quantum teleportation, interaction-free detection, all kinds of things that should be impossible or paradoxical but aren’t.  The laws … Continue reading

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

Q: If you could drill a tunnel through the whole planet and then jumped down this tunnel, how would you fall?

Physicist: This is a beautiful question, in a small part because it’s an interesting thought experiment with some clever math, but mostly because of all the reasons it couldn’t be done and wouldn’t work.  Right off the bat; clearly a … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Brain Teaser, Physics | 87 Comments