phinds

Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
15,193
4,859
We get a lot of “what if” questions here on Physics Forums. This article will explore three different types and then some suggestions for students who feel their question may fall into one of those types.

“what if” questions that contradict physics as we know it
“what if” questions that are themselves self-contradictory
“what if” questions that can be answered but with some difficulty
suggestions for the student

 
“What If” Questions That Contradict Physics as We Know It
 
Often here on the Physics Forum, people ask questions that, unrealized by them, amount to being exactly “if the laws of physics don’t apply, what do the laws of physics say about ?”.
Sometimes this is just because of a poorly formulated question. For example, if someone asks “what would happen to the Earth if the sun were to suddenly disappear”, it could well be that what they are really want to know is “does the gravity of the sun affect the Earth instantaneously”. The first question is problematic because it...
Continue reading...
 
This is an incredibly useful post as someone new to forums, and rather unsure how and if to post something I've worked on. Thanks phinds!
 
That's odd
 
It would break math...?
 
Last edited:
153
52
Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning
--Samuel Beckett
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"How to Avoid Breaking Physics With Your “What If” Question - Comments" You must log in or register to reply here.

Related Threads for: How to Avoid Breaking Physics With Your “What If” Question - Comments

Replies
15
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
2
Views
2K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top