By Masud Chaichian, Hugo Perez Rojas, Anca Tureanu

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Extra resources for Basic Concepts in Physics: From the Cosmos to Quarks

Sample text

Fig. 16 Angular momentum of a satellite S that moves around the Earth E. The angular momentum is L D r p. 4 Newton’s Laws 25 S p2=p1+Δp 2 Δp 1 p1 Fig. 17 The Sun exerts a continuous force on the planet producing an increase in its linear momentum by the amount p between two successive positions 1 and 2. This vector p is directed along the radius vector joining the planet to the Sun. Fig. 18 If the air resistance is neglected, the trajectory described by a stone thrown in the way shown in the figure is approximately a parabolic arc.

When the pendulum oscillates, an enormous number of molecules of air (each of them having three degrees of freedom) collide with it. When the thread moves relative to the nail at the point of contact, it collides with a very large number of constituent particles of the nail (atoms and ions forming the lattice of the metal, and electrons). Energy dissipation in the pendulum (and in other physical systems) is related to the energy transfer from a system with very few degrees of freedom to other systems with a very large number of degrees of freedom, and the energy is in this case disordered.

Photons have spin equal to 1 and mesons have spin 0. Particles with spin 1/2 (or any half-integer) are called fermions, in honour of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), and they obey Pauli’s exclusion principle, formulated in 1925 by Wolfgang Pauli (1900–1958). On the other hand, if a particle has integer spin, it is called a boson, in honour of the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose (1894–1974). Bosons do not obey the Pauli principle. The angular momentum of an isolated system of particles is also conserved if the particles exert equal and opposite forces on one another.