You might be a physics major if...

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Andvari » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:12 am UTC

thecommabandit wrote:I think his point was that D&D has nothing to do with physicists.

Which it doesn't, even though I'm a (not yet) physicist who likes playing tabletop.


The two subjects aren't related, but in general those who like physics and those who like D&D fall into the same broad category of "nerd". So naturally the two overlap more than someone majoring in say political science.

I love physics and D&D, especially playing D&D with other physics lovers (I'd say physicists, but as I'm in college, no one is a physicist yet).

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Agent_Irons » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:42 am UTC

D&D with physics lovers has the drawback that D&D almost but not quite obeys physics.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:54 am UTC

My friend and I once worked out how fast a 20th-level monk could run and how much damage he could do if he simply ran into someone, using the speed of a baseball bat and the PHB's stats for a club as comparison. (Of course, extra mass was taken into account--I don't remember the exact methods.) I think we worked out it was like 20d6.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:49 am UTC

This is just more evidence that all nerd discussions eventually turn into either discussion of D&D, or an impromptu D&D session.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby mr-mitch » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

You might be a physics major if you think "Were his electrons in higher energy levels?" is a funny response to "he was all excited."

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby schrodingasdawg » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:17 pm UTC

You might be a physics major if you explain sexual encounters with the phrases "excited state" and "emission."

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby BlackSails » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:My friend and I once worked out how fast a 20th-level monk could run and how much damage he could do if he simply ran into someone, using the speed of a baseball bat and the PHB's stats for a club as comparison. (Of course, extra mass was taken into account--I don't remember the exact methods.) I think we worked out it was like 20d6.


Yeah, but monks suck.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Ralith The Third » Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:42 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Sir_Elderberry wrote:My friend and I once worked out how fast a 20th-level monk could run and how much damage he could do if he simply ran into someone, using the speed of a baseball bat and the PHB's stats for a club as comparison. (Of course, extra mass was taken into account--I don't remember the exact methods.) I think we worked out it was like 20d6.


Yeah, but monks suck.

Lies!

You might be a physics major(current or future) if you think DnD monks are awesome.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:23 am UTC

4.0 monks are actually not too bad, but 3.5 monks were seriously underpowered. But then, I play a 4e wizard.

YMABPM if you're DMing and your players ask "hey, do I have line of sight to him, since he's standing on a ten-foot-high stage?" and you immediately break out the trigonometry. (We eventually decided, after they stared at me for about 30 seconds, "no")
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby BlackSails » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:08 am UTC

Ralith The Third wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
Sir_Elderberry wrote:My friend and I once worked out how fast a 20th-level monk could run and how much damage he could do if he simply ran into someone, using the speed of a baseball bat and the PHB's stats for a club as comparison. (Of course, extra mass was taken into account--I don't remember the exact methods.) I think we worked out it was like 20d6.


Yeah, but monks suck.

Lies!

You might be a physics major(current or future) if you think DnD monks are awesome.


No, because physics majors are willing to accept evidence.

Anything a monk can do, another class can do better. Their two main abilities, flurry and fast movement cant be used together. They get worse version of low level spells (ooh, feather fall, but only when next to a wall). They are a melee class with medium BAB. They need every stat but int and cha.

At every level, they are outdefended by the fighter, and out damaged by the fighter. They have nothing that forces the enemy to devote any attention to them. At best, they are moderately hard targets (compared to a fighter or rogue, not compared to an arcanist, druid or cleric, which are in a different league entirely), but the enemy can just ignore them since monks cant deal damage.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby whereswalden90 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Monks have their own special place in my heart, and they're certainly not useless, especially if you take the Sacred Fist prestige class. With a few rounds of preperation to cast touch spells, a 20th level character with that build dropped an ancient black dragon in one round with attacks to spare.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby BlackSails » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:54 pm UTC

whereswalden90 wrote:Monks have their own special place in my heart, and they're certainly not useless, especially if you take the Sacred Fist prestige class. With a few rounds of preperation to cast touch spells, a 20th level character with that build dropped an ancient black dragon in one round with attacks to spare.


Most other classes could do that earlier. A wizard could drop an ancient black dragon around level 7, with about 50% success.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby hideki101 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

Aaaaaaand we're off topic. Let's try to get it back.

YMBAPI you use polarized sunglasses to approximate the index of refraction of things by looking at reflections off them.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby drawnm » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:42 am UTC

You might be a physics major if you decided to pick up lockpicking solely because Feynman did it.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:02 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:YMBAPM if you do anything solely because Feynman did it.

I'm looking at you, bowling ball-on-string-suggesting-poster.

YMBAPM if "Feynmand did it" is one of your main motivations for sex.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Ended » Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:34 pm UTC

YMBAPM if you attempt to derive the maximum acceleration of the spaceship in Rendezvous With Rama.

Spoilered for awful MSPaint diagram (and spoilers for the book):
Spoiler:
Basically, you have this rotating cylindrical spaceship with a sea held to the floor by the rotation. The linear acceleration of the ship is constrained so as to keep the sea from sloshing over the wall. As far as I can make out, it looks like this in cross-section:

rama.JPG
rama.JPG (30.82 KiB) Viewed 3902 times


So, the angular velocity is
[math]\omega = 2\pi/240 = 0.0262\ \mathrm{rad\ s^{-1}}[/math]
which gives a pseudo-gravity in the radial direction of
[math]h = r \omega^2 = 10000 \times 0.0262^2 \approx 0.7 g[/math]
at the very edge, and 0.56g at ground level (2km in from the edge).

Also, by conservation of mass, we have
[math]1500 \times 10000 = 0.5 \times 10000 \times (2000+d) \rightarrow d = 1km.[/math]
So the gradient of the sea surface at maximum acceleration is -1km/10km = -0.1.

Let A be the maximum acceleration of the ship; if we assume that the radial gravity is a constant = h across the sea, then the slope of the sea surface is -A/h. So we get a value for A in the range [0.056g, 0.07g]. The characters in the book come up with 0.02g, so I've probably got the layout or some of the measurements (or indeed the calculation) wrong. Any ideas? Also, the surface of the sea will actually take a parabolic shape rather than a linear shape due the varying force of gravity along the radial axis. I'm damned if I can be bothered to calculate that, though.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Zeroignite » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:19 pm UTC

Re: Rama:
Spoiler:
But didn't it have mass dampening/reactionless drive at some point? Also, I'm pretty sure that it underwent very high accelerations at some point in canon- iirc, what happened to the cylindrical sea was hand waved.

EDIT:
Spoiler:
Hmm, your drawing isn't to scale, but now that I think about it the shape of the water's surface under acceleration would have an interesting shape. Since the water slopes upwards towards the back, it would be closer to the axis or rotation, and thus would experience less "downward" force.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Ended » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:46 pm UTC

Zeroignite wrote:Re: Rama:
Spoiler:
But didn't it have mass dampening/reactionless drive at some point? Also, I'm pretty sure that it underwent very high accelerations at some point in canon- iirc, what happened to the cylindrical sea was hand waved.
Yeah, quite possibly - I've only read the first book and that was a while ago. It's the reasoning one of the characters comes up with, but of course they might be wrong.

EDIT:
Spoiler:
Hmm, your drawing isn't to scale, but now that I think about it the shape of the water's surface under acceleration would have an interesting shape. Since the water slopes upwards towards the back, it would be closer to the axis or rotation, and thus would experience less "downward" force.
Yep, it's similar to taking a cylindrical glass of water and spinning it - the surface of the water will form a paraboloid.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby BlackSails » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

Ended wrote:the surface of the water will form a paraboloid.


If you do this with mercury, you get a very nice mirror.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Zeroignite » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Ended wrote:Yep, it's similar to taking a cylindrical glass of water and spinning it - the surface of the water will form a paraboloid.
Oh, of course it's a paraboloid. The fact that the area of the water was small relative to the area of the cylinder, and that the spin axis force was stronger than the horizontal force was just throwing me off.

BlackSails wrote:If you do this with mercury, you get a very nice mirror.
Actually, spinning a big pool of glass is the way most telescope mirrors are made today.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

YMBAPMI when you see a repetitive motion that's faster than what your eyes can make sense of, you down-sample the visual input by blinking really fast and rely on the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem to remove the high frequency elements of the oscillation.

Also makes you look like somewhat of an idiot, but that's another story.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:54 pm UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:YPMBAPM if "Feynman did it" is enough to convince them to have sex with you.

(P = partner)

Today, I was thinking of this and realized the conversation that ought to take place.
"Have you ever heard of Feynman's method for picking up women?"
"..no?"
"If I tell you, will you sleep with me tonight?"

This can't not end well!
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby The EGE » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:05 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Meteorswarm wrote:YPMBAPM if "Feynman did it" is enough to convince them to have sex with you.

(P = partner)

Today, I was thinking of this and realized the conversation that ought to take place.
"Have you ever heard of Feynman's method for picking up women?"
"..no?"
"If I tell you, will you sleep with me tonight?"

This can't not end well!


That. Is. Awesome. And probably guaranteed to get you some very geeky women :)

You, sir, name? wrote:YMBAPMI when you see a repetitive motion that's faster than what your eyes can make sense of, you down-sample the visual input by blinking really fast and rely on the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem to remove the high frequency elements of the oscillation.

Also makes you look like somewhat of an idiot, but that's another story.


I do that sometimes. It's useful for finding out the number of blades on propellers, fans, and helicopters.

YMBAPF if you wiggle a fork back and forth under a fluorescent light to see the light-dark pattern formed by the oscillating of the light, or use the repetitive rising pattern on the bubbles in the fishtank to figure out how fast the bubbles rise.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Zeroignite » Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:19 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:YMBAPMI when you see a repetitive motion that's faster than what your eyes can make sense of, you down-sample the visual input by blinking really fast and rely on the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem to remove the high frequency elements of the oscillation.
Also makes you look like somewhat of an idiot, but that's another story.
I do that sometimes. It's useful for finding out the number of blades on propellers, fans, and helicopters..
This is a good trick. I have not heard of it before, but it makes perfect sense, and I will make use of it in the future.

YMBAPM if you invent complicated devices to allow cinematic space battles to have the information shown while still obeying the laws of physics. I'm talking such things as postulating audible bullet sounds as a UI, or autozoomed HUDs to make ships thousands of kilometers away seem like they are within a few blocks distance.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Narius » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:37 pm UTC

YMBAPM if you've ever had the opportunity to say "dammit I'm a physicist not a doctor!" and relished it.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby ThinkerEmeritus » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

Narius wrote:YMBAPM if you've ever had the opportunity to say "dammit I'm a physicist not a doctor!" and relished it.

YMBAPM if a physician has asked you what you are a doctor of, and then said "Darn, that stuff gave me fits in college."
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Minerva » Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:40 am UTC

YMBAPM if Les Horribles Cernettes feature multiple times on your playlists.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:06 pm UTC

YMBAPMI you sit in a dark, warm and humid room the size of a smaller broom closet with terrible yet very noisy ventilation deep inside the concrete maze that is the physics building, staring at a graph on a screen connected to some antiquated piece of barely working equipment, typically taking notes every 30 seconds for 5 hours together with 3-5 people from around the world, optionally while being exposed to all sorts of radiation and harmful nanoparticles.

It's the never-ending lab just before X-mas break. It never fails to happen. I've had these for as long as I've studied physics. And they seem to move farther and farther into obscure concrete bunkers offering little hope for escape into whatever little sunlight there is left.

What the hell is wrong with experimentalists? I can't possibly imagine what perverse pleasure they find in these ordeals.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby headprogrammingczar » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:54 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:What the hell is wrong with experimentalists? I can't possibly imagine what perverse pleasure they find in these ordeals.

Well, if you try for long enough, you can make a planet-consuming black hole.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Roĝer » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:01 pm UTC

Get out of here! You are more likely to do that by just waiting for cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere.

YMBAPM if the most common reply to telling your major is 'I was really bad at physics in high school'.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:21 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:Get out of here! You are more likely to do that by just waiting for cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere.

YMBAPM if the most common reply to telling your major is 'I was really bad at physics in high school'.

I'm not even a Physics major yet, but this is universally the reply when I tell people what I'm going to study.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Malvoss » Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:04 pm UTC

YMBAPM if the new LED Christmas lights keep you entranced and you feel the need to explain to everyone why they appear to be in many places at once when you shake them.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Whelan » Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:46 pm UTC

Please do explain, it sounds interesting.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Zeroignite » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

They're DC devices, but with shitty power supplies. Since AC power runs at ~60 Hz, the lights flicker. Waving them around causes multiple images due to persistence of vision.
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby ks_physicist » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:35 am UTC

Zeroignite wrote:They're DC devices, but with shitty power supplies. Since AC power runs at ~60 Hz, the lights flicker. Waving them around causes multiple images due to persistence of vision.


YMBAPM if you use the same general effect to determine which cars on the highway in front of you have LED taillamps.

(And why on Earth do they drive them at such a low frequency? Surely 50% duty cycle at 1khz would work as well as 50% at whatever low frequency they use. Damn, now I have to go measure the frequency...)

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Æshættr » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:07 pm UTC

YMBAPM if . . .

you have devised several (usually impractical) ways to destroy or otherwise render the earth uninhabitable.

you argue that mathematics is a language, and that physics really is the most pure science.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby HighwoodFool » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:25 am UTC

...you saved $200 on a textbook because a non-major just wanted it out of their sight (and will gladly keep it long after the course for which you needed it.) Thanks, Lee!

...you give up on explaining people what you're thinking about when they ask because it either confuses them or translates to: "Don't worry about it."

...you have both a book by Brian Greene and a book by Stephen Hawking within reach at this very moment.

...the word "moment" has several different meanings to you, all of which have different units.

...you cannot make it through a movie without deriving equations for an object's trajectory, as seen in said movie.

...the phrase "God particle" induces eye-rolling (and yet, you are still strongly intrigued).
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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby newbie » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

Your mother is disappointed in your career choice when you tell her you will be studying mechanics next semester.

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Glo » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:28 am UTC

you really believe that string theory makes sense

you absolutely sure that Newtonian gravity theory is approximative

you can easily explain how domestic stuff works

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Re: You might be a physics major if...

Postby Roĝer » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:36 pm UTC

...you think string theorists are stupid people, contrary to what 99% of people would say.
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