MinutePhysics

Round and Round: Angular Momentum

The MinutePhysics video series does an amazing job of breaking down complex ideas and adding some awesome cartooning work to be learning fun.  In their latest video, they cover the concept of angular momentum.

As the video says, angular momentum describes the "oomph" of things traveling in circles, just like regular momentum describes the "oomph" of things traveling in a straight line.

By understanding the way that rotating things move, we can understand the motion of things as small as electrons in an atom, to much larger things such as our solar system around in galaxy.

Check it out!

Quantum Mechanics: Don't Get Run Over

Transient

When you walk around, things seem to be fairly normal. Gravity holds everything down so things are floating in the air.  When you see a driver, no matter how crazy, careening down the road, you can say "Hey, this idiot is driving around 90 mph and is going through that red light".  If you had a radar gun, you could be even more precise at getting the car's position and momentum.

However, what we think of as "normal" is not an accurate representation of the universe.  Quantum mechanics exists to explain all of the absurdity that happens when you start looking at things on a microscopic level, like electrons and photons. For example, the idiot driving in the car that we mentioned in the previous paragraph. If we squeezed the driver down to a microscopic side,  if you knew the exact momentum of the car, it would be impossible to get its exact position.  Similarly, if you know the position, you can't measure the exact momentum. 

For my quantum mechanics fun, check out the video below. If you can't see it, click here.