Monthly Archives: May 2014

Q: If time slows down when you travel at high speeds, then couldn’t you travel across the galaxy within your lifetime by just accelerating continuously?

Physicist: Yup!  But sadly, this will never happen. This is a good news / really bad news situation.  On the one hand, it is true (for all intents and purposes) that if you travel fast enough, time will slow down … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Physics, Relativity | 33 Comments

Q: When something falls on your foot, how much force is involved?

Physicist: There’s a cute trick you can use here.  It a falling object starts at rest and ends at rest, then it gains all of its energy from gravity, and all of that energy is deposited in your unfortunate foot. … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Experiments, Physics | 25 Comments

Q: If nothing can escape a black hole’s gravity, then how does the gravity itself escape?

Physicist: A black hole is usually described as a singularity, where all the mass is (or isn’t?), which is surrounded by an “event horizon”.  The event horizon is the “altitude” at which the escape velocity is the speed of light, … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Physics, Relativity | 71 Comments

Q: Is there a formula for finding primes? Do primes follow a pattern?

Physicist: Primes are, for many purposes, basically random.  It’s not easy to “find the next prime” or determine if a given number is prime, but there are tricks.  Which trick depends on the size of the number.  Some of the … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Math, Number Theory | 29 Comments