Author Archives: The Physicist

Q: Does quantum mechanics really say there are other “mes”? Where are they?

Physicist: The short answer is: yes, there are literally different versions of you literally running around doing things that would seem entirely ordinary.  Probably.  In fact, you’re providing one example right now.  But don’t get to excited: the same physics … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Philosophical, Physics, Quantum Theory, Skepticism | 8 Comments

Q: In base ten 1=0.999…, but what about in other bases? What about in base 1?

Physicist: Yup! The “0.999… thing” has been done before, but here’s the idea.  When we write 0.9, 0.99, 0.999, 0.9999, etc. we’re writing a sequence of numbers that gets closer and closer to 1.  Specifically, if there are N 9’s, … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Math | 5 Comments

Q: How many samples do you need to take to know how big a set is?

The Original Question Was: I have machine … and when I press a button, it shows me one object that it selects randomly. There are enough objects that simply pressing the button until I no longer see new objects is … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Math, Probability | 3 Comments

Q: Does anti-matter really move backward through time?

Physicist: The very short answer is: yes, but not in time-traveler-kind-of-way. There is a “symmetry” in physics implied by our most fundamental understanding of physical law, and is never violated by any known process, that’s called the “CPT symmetry“.  It … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Particle Physics, Physics, Skepticism | 3 Comments

Q: How do we know that everyone has a common anecestor? How do we know that someone alive today will someday be a common ancestor to everyone?

The original question was: From biology and genetics we know that any group of living organisms had a mitochondrial most recent common ancestor (mitochondrial Eve): a female organism who lived in the past such that all organisms in this group … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Evolution, Probability | 3 Comments

Q: Are some colors of light impossible? Can any color of light be made?

Physicist: Just so we can talk about this using physics rather than poetry, for the sake of this article “color” really means “frequency”.  Light frequency is a bit more objective than color and includes things we can’t see (like ultraviolet). … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics, Quantum Theory, Relativity | 9 Comments