Spins, Rotations, and the Beauty of Complex Numbers

This is a simple quantum state ... |➚> = α|↑> + β|↓> ... built from an up |↑> state and a down state |↓>. α and β are complex numbers. The result |➚> is in the middle, oblique. The oblique state is a superposition or the up and down base states. Making a measurement, you … Continue reading Spins, Rotations, and the Beauty of Complex Numbers

Poets Who Speak of Jupiter

In the third chapter of the first volume of his legendary physics lectures, Richard Feynman discusses the relation of physics to other sciences. He says that astronomy got physics started, and its most remarkable discovery is that stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth. He adds this famous … Continue reading Poets Who Speak of Jupiter

An Efficiency Greater Than 1?

No, my next project is not building a Perpetuum Mobile. Sometimes I mull upon definitions of performance indicators. It seems straight-forward that the efficiency of a wood log or oil burner is smaller than 1 - if combustion is not perfect you will never be able to turn the caloric value into heat, due to … Continue reading An Efficiency Greater Than 1?

Mastering Geometry is a Lost Art

I am trying to learn Quantum Field Theory the hard way: Alone and from textbooks. But there is something harder than the abstract math of advanced quantum physics: You can aim at comprehending ancient texts on physics. If you are an accomplished physicist, chemist or engineer - try to understand Sadi Carnot's reasoning that was … Continue reading Mastering Geometry is a Lost Art

Surprise Potatoes in the Soldiers’ Vegetable Soup!

Having blogged for more than a year I have finally reached the status of renowned, serious blogger. I have carved out my niche, and I have been asked for providing feedback on a book in that particular category. Of course, it is a book of spam poems.  Surprise Potatoes in the Soldiers’ Vegetable Soup ... … Continue reading Surprise Potatoes in the Soldiers’ Vegetable Soup!

Is It Determinism if We Can Calculate Probabilities Exactly?

I set a stretch goal for myself: I want to force myself to keep some posts of mine short. As a fan of MinutePhysics I am launching a new category: Physics in a Nutshell. I am going to try to tackle a question that has bothered me for a while - hopefully briefly and concisely. ___________________________________ The question of … Continue reading Is It Determinism if We Can Calculate Probabilities Exactly?

The Spinning Gyroscope and Intuition in Physics

If we would set this spinning top into motion, it would not fall, even if its axis would not be oriented perpendicular to the floor. Instead, its axis would change its orientation slowly. The spinning motion seems to stabilize the gyroscope, just as the moving bicycle is sort of stabilized by its turning wheels. This sounds … Continue reading The Spinning Gyroscope and Intuition in Physics

Sniffing the Path (On the Fascination of Classical Mechanics)

Newton's law has been superseded by relativity and quantum mechanics, and our universe is strange and compelling from a philosophical perspective. Classical Mechanics is dull. I do not believe that. The fundamentals of Newtonian Mechanics can be represented in a way that is different from well-known Force = Mass Times Acceleration - being mathematically equivalent, … Continue reading Sniffing the Path (On the Fascination of Classical Mechanics)

Unification of Two Phenomena Well Known

Unification is a key word that invokes some associations: The Grand Unified Theory and Einstein's unsuccessful quest for it, of course the detection of the Higgs boson and the confirmation of the validity of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, or Kepler's Harmonices Mundi. Unification might be driven by the search for elegance and simplicity in the universe. Nevertheless, in retrospect … Continue reading Unification of Two Phenomena Well Known

Real Physicists Do Not Read Popular Science Books

At least this is what I believed for quite a while. Now I think I was wrong - not only for the reason that also real scientists might enjoy light entertainment or stay informed about their colleagues' science outreach activities. First of all, I am not even sure if I still qualify as a real … Continue reading Real Physicists Do Not Read Popular Science Books