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Most Mind Blowing Physics statements

  1. Jun 7, 2009 #1
    What is the most mind blowing thing you have ever seen thats physcis related. I want to hear things that i never ever thought was true. things like "Because of the uncertainty principle, when you try to prove something is made of matter, it is true, but when you try to prove something is a wave, it is also true." and things like "Quantum entanglement shows that two things can transfer information at faster than light speeds." and "Until we observe the spin of an electron, it has no definite spin, the act of observing it actually forces it to choose a spin, which also forces its entagled partner to choose the opposite spin."

    I want to hear things that i never thought were possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2009 #2
    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    the most mind-blowing physics idea i've heard of is string theory, in all of its aspects. the idea of 11 dimensions, 3 dimensions of our space, one of time, and a 7-dimensional calabi-yau manifold thing, is so crazy. and inside these calabi-yau manifolds exist tiny rubber bands, strings, whose properties (frequency, primarily, and energy) define it to behave like a particle of the standard model. like, an electron is really a string that vibrates like this and a down-quark is really a string that vibrates like that. i am amazed by the idea of messenger particles, and branes, and how there are open-ended strings that are, as if, "strapped" to the fabric of the universe we live in, where are "closed" strings float freely among everywhere. it is hypothesized that gravity's particles, gravitons, are represented by closed strings, which explains why gravity is so weak - its force-action is not solely restricted to our universe alone. i also love how there were 5 versions of string theory, and then ed witten put them all together as "different mirror reflections of the one same grand unified thing" which was m theory.

    i hope the actual string theorists here do not regard me as spewing nonsense :) my knowledge of string theory is just the result of my readings of brian greene, lisa randall, and leonard susskind.
  4. Jun 7, 2009 #3
    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

  5. Jun 7, 2009 #4


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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    Either the declaration that at least one inertial frames exists.

    Or the Clausius and Kelvin statements leading to notion of a state function called entropy, which is given by dq/T under some conditions.
  6. Jun 8, 2009 #5
    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    well, take this new statement from me -
    "matter and wave are the same thing."
    i bet, one day you'll read or hear of it somewhere else too.
  7. Jun 8, 2009 #6


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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    From BC do not now what year.

    All matter is formed out of tiny parts, and if we would ever be able to destroy those parts we would have the power to destroy the world.

    It is a bit philosophical but reminds me of the ongoing atomic age.
  8. Jun 8, 2009 #7


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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    the fact that nothing can move faster than light
    and that the faster you move the slower time moves for you.
  9. Jun 8, 2009 #8
    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    There are billions of neutrinos passing through your fingernail every second.
  10. Jun 8, 2009 #9
    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    F = ma

    Everything is derived from this one equation. It is the most powerful equaiton in all of physics, and it's absolutely non-intutive. I challenge you to find a physics book without this equation in it.
  11. Jun 9, 2009 #10
    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    Didn't mulligan use that in his oil drop experiment to figure out the charge of an electron?

    For me: Time dilation, Length Contraction, the uncertainty principle,
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  12. Jun 9, 2009 #11

    Chi Meson

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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    Mulligan kept messing up his first shot at St. Andrews and would ask to take it again. Millikan did the oil drop experiment.
  13. Jun 9, 2009 #12
    You can move through time.

    To the extent that if you travel fast enough, you could return to find the earth extinct, or perhaps even the entire universe. Travelling at light speed you would experience zero time and so presumably you can travel to the end of the universe!

    I don't study physics but the idea of time being relative to movement has got to be the absolutely most mind blowing statement ever.
  14. Jun 9, 2009 #13
    Can you please explain why such and such is so?
    Certainly, but to be honest I haven't got a clue.
  15. Jun 9, 2009 #14


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    "the electron interferes with itself"
  16. Jun 10, 2009 #15

    Chi Meson

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    I've decided on one.

    A single photon of light, which would have a small probability of reflecting off the top surface of a thin film, will sometimes change to zero probability of reflection depending on the thickness of the film on the underside of the surface.

    After that, anything else to do with photons is a close tie for "second-most-mind-blowing."
  17. Jun 10, 2009 #16
    When I first read it it blew my mind away... it was awhile ago mind you.

    That no objects actually touch each other. If I bounce a basketball off the ground the molecules of the ball never touch the floor.
  18. Jun 10, 2009 #17


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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    And Millikan kept messing up the oil drop experiment, but he ignored those measurements.

    You're right about the effervescent wave - I always thought it was just a maths trick to get momentum to balance, then my wife did her PhD on sensors made from it.
  19. Jun 10, 2009 #18
    My favorite statement in classical physics is that light is an electromagnetic wave whose speed we can predict from experiments with charged pithballs and current carrying wires!

    My favorite statement in relativity is that a static electric field will also have a magetic component when viewed by a moving observer!

    Quantum physics has so much predictive power that I cannot possibly choose just one prediction, but the most mind blowing result for me is that because of quantum mechanics the universe violates Bell's inequalities!

    I really like the positive spirit of this thread, buy I found Cyrus' post to be so disagreeable that I have to spoil the thread with the following argument:
    Hmm, how do you go from Newton's 2nd to Maxwell's equations?

    In relativistic quantum mechanics the maxwell fields pop right out of the principle of locality together with the U(1) gauge symmetry of the wavefunction (i.e. the statement that quantum states are only determined up to a phase). In this sense, the quantum version of Hamilton's equations (i.e. Dirac's equation) does allow you to derive E&M.

    The logical basis for F = ma is almost never presented, although it is in fact quite simple. If the current state of the universe, the collection of all positions and velocities of all particles, is sufficient to determine the universe's state at a later time, then in particular the second derivative must be determine by those positions and velocities:

    x'' = F(x,x')

    The concept of "force' is superfluous; the empirical task in mechanics is to determine the form of F(x,x'), e.g. Hooke's law F(x,x') = -k x . Obviously the theoretical task is to determine the motion given knowledge of F(x,x').

    How about Howard Georgi's "Lie Algebras in Particle Physics." Heck, there are entire books about classical mechanics at an advanced level that do not mention Newton's law e.g. http://www.worldscibooks.com/physics/3905.html".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  20. Jun 10, 2009 #19

    George Jones

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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    Einstein's equation, [itex]G = 8 \pi T[/itex], of general relativity.

    One side of Einstein's equation, [itex]G[/itex],is geometrical and is related to the curvature of spacetime, and the other side, [itex]T[/itex], is related to the distribution of energy/mass/momentum. Since this is an equation, it is impossible to change just one side: change the geometry side and this means that distribution of energy/mass/momentum must also be changed; change the distribution of energy/mass/momentum, and this means geometry must also be changed.

    According to John Wheeler, "... (spacetime) geometry tell matter how to move, and matter tells (spacetime) geometry how to curve ..."
  21. Jun 10, 2009 #20

    Chi Meson

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    Re: Most Ming Blowing Physics statements

    So Millikan took a Mulligan, big deal!
  22. Jun 10, 2009 #21
    Do you have a link or any follow up for this, would be interested to have a look :bugeye:
  23. Jun 10, 2009 #22
    the existence of anti matter which is identical to regular matter but will annihilate it on contact

    also the ability for light rays to be tied in knots

    magnetic vortices are pretty wacky

    so are bubbles of spacetime that could transport matter faster than light

    entanglement, that's messed up..

    super conductivity


    electric and magnetic forces are really the same thing
  24. Jun 10, 2009 #23


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    For me the most mind blowing physics statements,

    Energy cannot be created, Energy cannot be destroyed.
    No system can exceed 100%

    Perpetual motion is impossible. Somehow that does not compute in my brain, it's like saying
    2+2= 3.something.

    I'm trying to get past this, but the only Einstein quality I seem to possess is my vivid imagination, which he said is better than knowledge. Why would a man as brilliant as he was make such a statement???

    P.S. I should have said "more important than knowledge"
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  25. Jun 10, 2009 #24

    Almost everything in quantum or electromagnetism.
  26. Jun 10, 2009 #25


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    Bell's theorem.
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