Monthly Archives: October 2013

Q: “i” had to be made up to solve the square root of negative one. But doesn’t something new need to be made up for the square root of i?

Physicist: The beauty of complex numbers (numbers that involve ) is that the answer to this question is a surprisingly resounding: nopers. The one thing that needs to be known about is that, by definition, .  Other than that it … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Math | 17 Comments

Q: Could the tidal forces of the Sun and Moon be used to generate power directly?

The original question was: If a machine enclosed in a building could, as I think it could, detect the tidal forces of the sun and moon upon the Earth could the effect be used to extract useful energy from those … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Engineering, Physics | 5 Comments

Q: What would it be like if another planet just barely missed colliding with the Earth?

Physicist: There’s a long history of big things in the solar system slamming into each other.  Recently (the last 4.5 billion years or so) there haven’t been a lot of planetary collisions, but there are still lots of “minor” collisions … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Physics | 17 Comments

Q: What are “delayed choice experiments”? Can “wave function collapse” be used to send information?

Physicist: There are a lot of big claims made about entanglement, but there are two carved-in-stone facts that help cut through some of the more grandiose claims.  First, (maximally) entangled states always act exactly like a perfectly random state, until … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Entropy/Information, Experiments, Philosophical, Physics, Probability, Quantum Theory, Skepticism | 6 Comments