Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Physics/Archive March 2009

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A discussion on the use of the A-Class in wikiprojects is taking place.

If you have an opinion, please share it at Assessment_working_group#Second_task:_Initial_discussion_on_A-Class. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 08:04, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Request for help from WP:MEASURE

I've been doing some article assessment at WikiProject Measurement recently and I came across the article Apothecaries' system (not one of mine) which seems pretty good. For the time being, I've rated it as A-class on our project quality scale, but I would welcome further comments so I have opened a peer review here. If there are editors with any knowledge or interest in the subject, I'd be grateful if they could read through the article and tell us if there is anything important which should be in there but which isn't at the moment. Cheers! Physchim62 (talk) 11:20, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Dispute at Oberth effect

The dispute concerns the explanation for the paradoxical effect, and where the energy for it comes from.

As one of the parties in the dispute I don't think I should try to explain the two sides here. However, I copy and pasted the discussions up to this point to Talk:Oberth_effect#Disagreement_over_explantion_of_paradox. -- Wingedsubmariner (talk) 16:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Article alerts

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link insertions to the Xstructure website

Hello, it appears that someone is "spamming" links to the Xtrusture website, which appears to be associated with and is hosted on a russian research. There is a discussion here, a bit of scientific feedback would be appreciated, could you look at the links being inserted and comment on wheter those links are useful to the articles? --Enric Naval (talk) 21:43, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Possible plagiarist in two physics articles

There's a discussion going on about some possible plagiarism by Lantonov (talk · contribs) at WP:ANI#Plagiarist caught red-handed and refusing to cooperate. Among his contributions are some physics articles: BKL singularity, Synchronous frame, Loránd Eötvös, Stress-energy-momentum pseudotensor, Casimir effect, General relativity, and maybe others (I didn't go back through his whole edit history). It may be worthwhile for some project participants to check whether there are any problems with his additions to these articles. —David Eppstein (talk) 21:52, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

I looked at all of Lantonov's contributions to Stress-energy-momentum pseudotensor (but not the talk page); and he had added nothing to the article which could be plagiarism. JRSpriggs (talk) 03:54, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. The AN/I seems without merit. --Michael C. Price talk 07:15, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Inflation expert (or at least non-amateur) wanted

If anyone reading this thread understands inflation better than I do, I would appreciate any comments on the bullet points below. It all seems pretty elementary and unlikely to be wrong, but it also seems to contradict a lot of what I've read about inflation in textbooks and popular books. I've known for years that claims that inflation is "faster than light" are wrong, but it was disconcerting to find that, for example, inflationary expansion is actually slower than the traditional big bang expansion and inflation that ends "10−32 seconds after the big bang" lasts for substantially longer than 10−32 seconds. I'm inclined to write a "common misconceptions about inflation" section for Wikipedia, but before I do that I'd better check that I haven't made a terrible mistake.

  • Correct?
    The image on the right shows my current understanding of inflation: an era of quasi-exponential expansion followed by an era of radiation-dominated expansion. There ought to be a smooth transition between the two, but since I don't understand that part I just stitched an exponential curve and a square-root curve together at a point, making the assumption that doesn't change much during the transition. Is this pretty much the right shape? My biggest worry is that there's a sudden decrease in during reheating for some reason, which would invalidate a lot of what I wrote below, but I can't see why there would be.
  • When people say that inflation ended at (say) 10−32 seconds "after the big bang", I assume they're measuring from the point marked "0" on that chart, i.e. from the natural origin of the radiation-dominated part of the expansion? I can't see where else they could be measuring from, since the inflationary expansion doesn't have any natural origin point and the physics before inflation is totally unknown.
  • Inflation has to start well to the left of the 0 point in order to fit in enough e-folds of expansion. My crude model turns out to always have 0.5 e-fold of expansion between 0 and tR regardless of the various scaling factors. Typical inflationary models need at least 50 e-folds, so inflation must start at −100 tR or earlier in cosmological time on my graph. Is that correct? I've never seen any source say that inflation begins "before the big bang", even those that say it ends at a specific time "after the big bang".
  • The inflationary expansion is exponential, but it's not rapid, at least not compared to the radiation-dominated expansion in the traditional big bang model. Inflation solves the horizon problem not by being fast but by being slow: it spends a long time at a very small scale factor where the comoving speed of light is enormous. The comoving size of the particle horizon does increase very rapidly during inflation, but even that increase is slower than in the traditional model in the time range of 0 to tR, where they can be compared. (The rate of increase is proportional to 1/a, and a is smaller in the traditional model.) All of the extra inflationary increase happens at times before the traditional big bang. Is that all correct?
  • Incorrect?
    The image on the right seems to be wrong in at least three ways: it shows inflation as starting at a positive cosmological time, it shows the radius (presumably the comoving particle horizon radius) as increasing more rapidly in the inflationary model, instead of less rapidly, and it shows the radius as smaller before inflation instead of larger after. Correct?
  • A lot of sources treat inflation as just another era in the big bang expansion, with decelerating FLRW expansion both before and after. Early inflationary models were like that, but I was under the impression that those models have been discarded and the modern approach is to make as few assumptions as possible about the state of the universe before inflation. In particular, no one these days treats it as FLRW—is that right? (My main source for this is this paper by Linde, but maybe he's twisting history to support his political agenda.)

Thanks. -- BenRG (talk) 16:57, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

As I know inflation was caused by some scalar field φ, which can assume large values acting like cosmological term in the present universe. When this field decays and heats the universe, the expansion slows abruptly. Ruslik (talk) 19:37, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
To BenRG: You seem to have a lot of misconceptions. See Cosmic inflation. The distance between two points in space can indeed increase faster than c, if they are far enough apart. Cosmic inflation is very much faster than ordinary expansion. Your picture is wrong and the other one is more nearly correct. See Friedmann equations. When inflation ends, there is a sudden reduction in from a very large value to a value which is approximately zero. This results in a sudden and drastic reduction in With the correct idea, one sees that the creation event lies to the right of zero in your picture rather than to its left. Do not forget that there may have been a period of non-inflationary expansion before the inflation as well as after it. JRSpriggs (talk) 20:01, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
It's all well and good to have a sudden reduction in , but that would still leave approximately the same before and after the end of inflation, which (if true) would seem to compel BenRG's conclusions. What we need to get the conventional picture is a large negative spike in . The ordinary FRW equations do not explain why such a spike should occur -- which is alright because nobody claims that FRW predicts an inflationary phase. I think the missing link is that FRW (and Einstein) assumes that the cosmological constant is, well, constant. It does not say what happens while it changes. It is not unreasonable that terms involving derivatives of might show up in the expression for , and those could provide a drop in and invalidate BenRG's arguments. –Henning Makholm (talk) 20:23, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
It is correct that is approximately the same before and after the end of inflation. It's just the sign of that has flipped.
Another thing to be aware of (and beware of) is that there is considerably more uncertainty about how inflation started than how it ended. Inflation may well have going on for ever (i.e, had no beginning, see eternal inflation). What we call the big bag is really the end of inflation. --Michael C. Price talk 10:41, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

To Henning Makholm: Forgive me for not being clearer. If we include the cosmological "constant" into the density , then one gets

In the inflationary era, we have

and thus

In the radiation era, we have

and thus

So, as you suggested, it does change from a positive value to a negative value. Notice that the density is a positive constant during the inflationary era and continuous over the boundary while becoming proportional to during the radiation era. JRSpriggs (talk) 07:41, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, but again, doesn't also suddenly drop? In the standard plot it sure looks like is very high during the inflation, and then suddenly drops to a relatively low (and decreasing) value at the transition.
It the density is continuous, it seems that we suddenly gain a lot of pressure during the transition. Doesn't that violate stress-energy conservation? My (rough and probably wrong) understanding was that stress-energy is not conserved across the phase transition, which would give a reason to briefly drop a lot more rapidly than it continues to do in the radiation era. –Henning Makholm (talk) 11:27, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
MichaelCPrice, thanks, but are you sure? And do the rest of my conclusions follow from that, or did I make a mistake somewhere else? JRSpriggs, what you've written about the decrease in is certainly correct and I understand it well. What you said about the rapidity of inflation I still think is wrong because I can't see any way to fit it into the model. If inflation is more rapid than radiation-dominated expansion then my graph above must be wrong, but what precisely is wrong with it? It's based on exactly the math you just wrote down. Regarding the faster-than-light issue, comoving speeds exceed c even in the present era. It's okay to say that expansion is faster than light, but wrong to say that inflationary expansion is faster than light (with the implication that non-inflationary expansion isn't).
Horizonte inflacionario.svg
Henning, there are some plots that show the scale factor versus H−1 rather than versus cosmological time. On those the scale factor goes "straight up" during inflation, which seems correct since H is roughly constant during inflation. There's an example to the right, and here's another. If there were a sudden decrease in at the end of inflation then it ought to appear as an extra segment on that chart. I've also seen plots of scale factor versus time in which inflation looks rapid (which necessitates a "kink" at the end), but I see no reason to trust those plots. It seems likely to me that they were drawn by hand to get the shape that the artist thought was necessary. I've also seen plots that agree with mine, like this one at Ned Wright's site. -- BenRG (talk) 12:54, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I haven't studied everybodies' statements here carefully, so I'm not sure which conclusions are invalidated by which assumptions etc etc, but The equations posted by JRSpriggs look correct to me. Also it might be easier to think in terms of the Hubble factor (which is observable):
rather than the scale factor a (which is not observable). What is definitely the case is that H is approximately constant during inflation, and that it starts to decline (again) when inflation ends and that this is a smooth transition. I say again because if there was a period of expansion preceding inflation then we have the sequence:
  1. creation (see Theory of everything)
  2. H is very high but declining; quantum gravity dominated era, (presumably also a radiation dominated era)
  3. H is very high but constant (approximately); inflationary era
  4. H is very high but declining; radiation dominated era
  5. H is still high and declining; early matter dominated era - decline a bit slower than during the radiation dominated era
  6. H is low and still declining; today
  7. H is constant (probably); dark energy or cosmological constant dominated era -- a form of slow inflation.
H is smooth during all periods, and during transitions from one period to another. Periods 1, 2 & 7 are rather speculative. Today is a transition from 5 => 7.
--Michael C. Price talk 13:47, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

OK. I see that I was wrong about the inflationary era beginning after rather than before the time when the radiation era would have begun if there was nothing before the radiation era.
If we assume that the inflation era extended all the way back to a creation event at t=0, then we get

If we substitute this into

then we get

which may disturb some people. JRSpriggs (talk) 04:40, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

To Henning Makholm: It is not stress-energy which is conserved; it is energy and linear momentum which are conserved. The conservation of energy is given by
in the Friedmann model. And linear momentum is always zero by symmetry (isotropy), so it is automatically conserved in that model. JRSpriggs (talk) 02:01, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

New cleanup listing availible.

Freshly delivered by WolterBot.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 12:10, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Reassessment request for Coefficient of thermal expansion


The CTE article is currently assessed as "list" class. As this article is definitely not a list, I'd like to request a reassessment. Thanks. Have a great day. - Jameson L. Tai talkguestbookcontribs 08:35, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Done. (TimothyRias (talk) 10:23, 10 March 2009 (UTC))

Apparent weight

I wonder if some of you folks could take a look at Apparent weight (I raise it here because I think the article's talk page gets little traffic). In the lead section, it seems to be saying that "weight" is purely the gravitational force, ignoring all other forces that might be acting on the object. Is this correct? For example, if something is weighed in air at the Equator, then wouldn't its "weight" simply be the net force acting, which would include contributions from, for example, buoyancy and, erm, centrifugal force -- both of which seem to be excluded from "weight" by this article? To be honest, I'm not sure about the rationale of this article as a whole, even w.r.t. accelerating objects. Isn't "apparent weight" just "weight", full stop? If I'm in a lift accelerating upwards, then is it really true that my "weight" stays the same, but my "apparent weight" increases? (My mass stays the same, sure.) (talk) 04:47, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

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Thanks. — Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 09:33, 15 March, 2009 (UTC)

Galactic orientation

Galactic orientation has been prodded for deletion. (talk) 06:13, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Twin Quasar

See this discussion at WT:ASTRO#Twin Quasar about a recent renaming and revision to the notation format used in the article. (talk) 06:35, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Transnuclear biology article a hoax?

Is this a hoax? My bullshitdar went off.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 01:32, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Physics of Glass

Currently there is a animated discussion going on about the proposed article Physics of Glass, which I think is highly relevant for the WikiProject Physics. The discussion can be found on the talk page of the article Glass. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong about the proposed article, except some formality issues that could be easily fixed. The article does not seem to contain original research. It would be nice, if an expert in the field could check the scientific content because, as you will soon recognize, it is not so easy to read for somebody who is not a physicist. Thank you in advance...--Afluegel (talk) 16:50, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

The article is now at Physics of glass.--Afluegel (talk) 19:58, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

New glass physics article proposals

Hi, the user Logger9 is working on further article proposals: Physics of the glass transition and Phase transformations in solids. Because Logger9 is not very long yet with Wikipedia it would be helpful, if a physicist could advise him about the content and formalities. Thank you. -- Afluegel (talk) 20:43, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

New Taskforce

I realized that many important articles about the topic glass are within the WikiProject Physics, for example Amorphous solid, Glass transition temperature, Physics of glass, Vitreous, Viscosity, {{Glass-material-stub}}, and several articles from the former WikiProject Optics. I am wondering if it would be possible to find a home for the task force Glass development page within the WikiProject Physics. The topic glass covers about 500-600 articles. The problem is, however, that many of those articles are not related to physics, such as glass history and glass art. For this reason, I would suggest, not to incorporate the proposed task force within the main project Physics as Acoustics, Fluid dynamics, and Relativity that fit 100% within physics, but to leave an independent template {{Glass}} for the project. The user Headbomb agreed to help with setting up the task force. Is there any opposition from members of the WikiProject Physics, or are there other suggestions? Thank you...--Afluegel (talk) 15:38, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

So this would also be shared with WP:CHEMISTRY, WP:WikiProject Visual arts and WP:WikiProject Sculpture and WP:WikiProject Engineering (optical engineering) ? (talk) 07:31, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, on the longer term the proposed task force might be shared with other projects. However, at present I do not see this happening because the other projects have no taskforces (at least I could not find them) and they also seem to be less active than the Wikiproject Physics.--Afluegel (talk) 05:15, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Since there was no opposition to this, I've set up the Glass taskforce at WP:GLASS (The G in the taskforce tabs). The template used is {{Glass}} rather than {{physics}}, per the request, so it is completely independant of the {{physics}} template. It supports both importance and the quality scale, as well as other niceties found in the documentation of the glass template. Glass articles also related to physics should also be tagged with {{physics}}. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 07:09, 27 March 2009 (UTC)


FYI, WP:LV WikiProject Rocketry is reorganizing, since rocketry is related to your subject of concern, this is to inform you. See WT:WikiProject_Rocketry#WPSpace (talk) 02:01, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Help needed at Cyclic model

Perhaps someone can persuade User:Hrafn that his/her repeated gutting of this article is unhelpful. I don't have time to attempt to deal with it right now, but the article cannot be left in the state this user apparently prefers. False vacuum (talk) 08:26, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal to move Inflation, replace with dab. page

is here. The idea is that price inflation is not obviously of greatly vaster significance than cosmic inflation, which incidentally is usually called plain "inflation". False vacuum (talk) 05:57, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

blackhole articles at WP:PROD

Formation and evolution of black holes and Properties and features of black holes have been proposed for deletion. (talk) 05:42, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I did. The two articles are basically forked of content from an old version of the black hole main article, that still persists in the main article in some form. At the moment these articles are unnecessary. If in the feature the development of the BH article requires their existence, they can be recreated. (TimothyRias (talk) 06:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC))

Starling Equation Units Consistency

In Starling equation#The equation, the units are inconsistent. ([Pc − Pi] − σ[πc − πi]) is described as the net driving force, but in fact is not a force; it is rather a pressure. If there is an assumption about capillary cross-sectional area that explains the Pressure-Force relationship, that should be stated.

Also, the The Equation discussion may want explain the assumption of constant fluid density across the capillary membrane (which allows for the net fluid movement between compartments, Jv to be discusses as a volumetric flow and not a mass flow). At first this seems obvious, because the density changes may not be an important part of the physics. However, the Reflection Coefficient discussion indicates "most capillaries in the body are fairly impermeable to the large molecular weight proteins." Are the density changes an important part of the physics? Is the Reflection coefficient a correction for a density differential?

Thanks, JR —Preceding unsigned comment added by Burkeman2 (talkcontribs) 13:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Poll on date autoformatting and linking

People may be interested to know that the Poll on date autoformatting and linking is now open. All users are invited to participate. Lightmouse (talk) 17:22, 31 March 2009 (UTC)