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  Paul Walorski: PhysLink.com Expert

Paul Walorski
Paul Walorski
A.B. Physics
Part-time Physics Instructor
Columbus, IN
Questions answered
to date:

Paul Walorski has an A.B. degree (Magna Cum Laude) from Indiana University, majoring in Astronomy and Physics. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honorary, Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honorary and Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honorary. During his education he received an Excellence in Physics Award and an Excellence in Freshman Chemistry Award.

He also has a M.B.A. degree from Indiana University, majoring in Quantitative Business Analysis

His full time career since college graduation has been with Cummins Engine Company in a number of Systems related positions, including System Administrator, Programmer/Analyst, Systems Analyst, and Manager-Systems.

He has also taught Astronomy and Physics classes part-time at a Regional Indiana/Purdue campus for the past 15 years.

Paul is a Mensa member, and enjoys RC Airplanes, Tennis, Chess, antique cars, and reading.

Published Answers

All answers by Paul Walorski published at PhysLink.com up to date are listed here:

  1. How is the distance to the stars measured?

  2. How tall does a mirror have to be to fit an entire persons body? Does distance from the mirror play any type of role?

  3. If you have a very long and rigid pole and have an observer on each end, if one of them pushes the pole how soon will the other one feel it? Can this response time be shorter the time it would take light to travel the length of the pole?

  4. Does the earth's mass increase? Even in insignificant quantities?

  5. Does a black hole violate the Law of Conservation of Matter/Energy?

  6. Is weight determined strictly by the distance between and mass of two objects, or are other factors figured in; i.e. can a person be considered weightless underwater?

  7. Why is a light colored T-shirt cooler to wear than a dark colored T-shirt?

  8. Is it possible for a patch of light (or a shadow to travel faster than the speed of light? i.e. if a searchlight were swung around very fast, would the patch of light on the clouds be able to move at ANY speed, depending how far away the clouds are?

  9. Although you've already posted a definition of 'horse power,' how can I more easily visualize what it means? Example, an engine has 100 horse power; can I equate that with 100 horses straining to pull a heavy object a certain distance at a certain velocity?

  10. I read somewhere that Einstein's formula is mostly quoted in the abbreviated version E=mc2 but it should actually be written E2=m2c4. Is that true?

  11. What is your opinion on Smarandache's hypothesis that there is no speed barrier in the universe?

  12. Why does a solar eclipse move from west to east, while the sun moves from east to west?

  13. When you throw an object into the air, is the initial velocity the same as the velocity just before it hits the ground? If so, why?

  14. Why is the speed of light considered to be the universal speed limit, and would it be possible to ever exceed that speed with some advanced technology?

  15. Is the angle at which the object rebounds, in a perfectly elastic collision, from the surface equal to that at which it is incident?

  16. Since the sun is one giant ball of gas, what force holds its consistent shape and size? Why doesn't it expand and burn up quickly?

  17. How they can reach zero gravity in a plane (when astronauts are practicing)?

  18. Why is it, that if you lower your hand flat into, say, a pool there is no or hardly any resistance but if you were to raise your hand and slap it down hard into the water, there is so much resistance?

  19. Is it true that in the late 1800's they took away or added 11 days to the calendar that didn't exist?

  20. If Newton's law of motion, which states that any object in motion will remain in motion, is true, then why is it that as a comet gets close to the sun and it melts, and a tail forms, and why wouldn't it be just a big ball of melted stuff?

  21. A second of time is defined as x oscillations of a cesium atom's resonant frequency, and is commonly measured in atomic clocks. If an atomic clock is propelled at near the speed of light (or at any speed), wouldn't that definition of a second be distorted? If so, shouldn't we add a longitude and latitude to the definition since all places on earth travel at different speeds?

  22. If temperature is 'The average kinetic energy of particles' (i.e. if you measure the temperature of a cup of water it is the average of all the water molecules in the cup), then how does one determine the temperature of a vacuum? (Division by zero error)

  23. If you were in a plane and shot a bullet vertically down from a gun and dropped a bullet by hand, at the same time, would they reach the earth at the same time?

  24. Does the term wind chill only apply to humans, animals, etc. or does it also apply to material things like automobiles, tractors, etc.?

  25. Why doesn't friction depend on surface area?

  26. Why do you hear a glugging sound when you pour a liquid out of a bottle by holding it upside down?

  27. How far down can an object go in the ocean before it will reach 10,000 PSI?

  28. If you left the refrigerator door open, what would happen to the room temperature and why?

  29. I often get confused between the terms centrifugal force and centripetal force could you please enlighten me?

  30. What is the density of water?

  31. What is escape velocity?

  32. In a matter-antimatter reaction, is all the material converted into energy? If not, what is the efficiency of the reaction?

  33. What is rest mass? How to explain it especially to the high school students?

  34. Is the rotation of the earth considered the initial kinetic energy for a rocket before take-off?

  35. If you're in a car traveling at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, does anything happen?

  36. Does a car use the same amount of gas traveling a given distance at 60 mph than it does traveling the same distance at 10 mph (or any other speed)? And if so, does a person burn the same amount of calories walking a given distance as running it?

  37. What experiments are there to prove Absolute Zero? Who discovered it and how?

  38. What would light be like if there was no ability for light to make a rainbow?

  39. What is the name for a phenomenon where the presence of the observer changes the nature of the observed?

  40. Why does dispersion take place when light is passed through prism and not through glass slab?

  41. How are the rings of planets formed and what are they made out of?

  42. What is the difference between cathode rays and beta rays since both are basically electrons?

  43. How does one electron go through two slits at the same time? In Young's Double-Slit experiment Hawking, Feynman and Brian Greene say that one electron goes through both slits at the same time.

  44. What is the difference between the dietary calorie and the physical calorie? Is there a relation between the two?

  45. Which is the lowest temperature known in nature (not in laboratory)?

  46. I am curious as to what causes the Earth's spin, and why does the Moon not spin?

  47. If you hover any distance above the earth (in a helicopter, for example) for a day or so, why aren't you and the helicopter occupants on the other side of the world if the Earth is going through its normal revolution?

  48. A stationary van is filled with 1 tone of bees sitting down. Is it true that the overall weight of the van is the same if bees are flying instead of sitting?

  49. What is meant when one says that the temperature of the cosmic background radiation is 3K?

  50. Why are reflected images seen more easily at night in a window from inside of the house, whereas during the day they are not?

  51. Does the entropy of a closed system always increase, or could it possibly decrease?

  52. If space is a vacuum, then how do space capsule's retrorockets steer?

  53. Is there any way to see ultra violet light, or make it?

  54. Lets just say a huge asteroid hits the earth at the right speed and with the right amount of force and stops it's orbit around the sun. How long would it take for the earth to plummet into the sun?

  55. What is the Astronomical Unit?

  56. What is the speed of light in parsecs per year? What is a parsec?

  57. How can I prove that the earth rotates around the sun?

  58. How long does it take for moonlight to reach the earth?

  59. What happens when a tablecloth is pulled out from underneath a table setting, and everything on the table stays put?

  60. Are coriolis forces strong enough to cause an open basin of water to create whirlpools moving in opposite directions when the basin is transported 20 feet either side of the equator? I saw this demonstrated in Kenya (for money), but I wonder if there wasn't a trick.

  61. What is the ultimate fate of our sun?

  62. What is the densest thing on Earth?

  63. Considering only temperature and disrespecting the rest, would I feel cold or hot with my hand in the vacuum?

  64. How can you boil a liquid without heating it? Why is this possible?

  65. How is time a function of the fabric of nature, and not perception only?

  66. What is the amount of energy given off when an electron and a positron anhilalate?

  67. What is the definition of heat of fusion?

  68. What is the difference between mass and weight?

  69. What makes a paper clip float?

  70. What would you consider to be the 5 or 10 most important/fundamental questions physicists are trying to answer currently?

  71. What is the easiest way to calculate the earth's athmoshpere's weight?

  72. What is the difference between nuclear fusion and cold fusion?

  73. What happens at the ends of the electromagnetic spectrum? Do the wavelengths continue to get shorter and longer or is there some ultimate limit?

  74. Assume there is an ice cube in a glass of water. When the ice cube melts, will the water level have risen, fallen, or remained the same? Why?

  75. Is there a definite end to the electromagnetic spectrum?

  76. If a spherical mirror is immersed in water, does its focal length change?

  77. Why an electric bulb needs to be vacuumed? Can we light up a bulb in the space without enclosing in the glass bulb?

  78. If I am standing on a mountain, Am I going faster than someone at sea level? If so, is my day shorter or will the higher vantage point of the horizon allow my day to seem longer?

  79. Does the sun move at all?

  80. What is the mirage effect?

  81. What will be the fate of our moon? Will it remain in a stable orbit, crash back into Earth or drift off into space?

  82. Is there any practical proof for time dilation?

  83. How do diffraction gratings tell us information about distant stars and galaxies?

  84. Why is that electrons radiate electromagnetic energy when they are accelerated?

  85. If you pour soda pop into a glass at room temperature is fizzes, but if you pour it into ice it fizzes a lot. Though carbon dioxide is more soluble in the pop at low temperature, why does it fizz more with the ice?

  86. What would be the force required to accelerate 1 gram to 20% of the speed of light?

  87. Discounting mountains, valleys, and other gross surface features, is there any place on Earth from which the Moon is not visible at all?

  88. How is force related to momentum?

  89. Is it true that the further a planet is from the Sun, the faster it rotates around itself?

  90. If oxygen feeds fire and hydrogen is explosive, then why isn't water combustible?

  91. I am curious as to exactly when scientists found out that space is a vacuum and not made up of ether? What year was this and who is credited with the discovery?

  92. Why does the north star always point north?

  93. If a visible laser on the earth is shone on the moon and the beam is moved along the surface, could the beam spot on the moon be made to travel faster than the speed of light?

  94. Will there be any change in water level/height of floating part of the boat if stones are dropped into the pond from a floating boat?

  95. What time is it when standing on the North Pole?

  96. Is it possible to place a satellite in geostationary orbit over the north pole?

  97. What is Boyle's law?

  98. How does a hydraulic jack work?

  99. What are the differences between jet airplanes and rockets?

  100. How can one prove that the world is round?

  101. How did thermal blackbody radiation spectrum not fit classical physics and what was done about it?

  102. Has anyone ever calculated how far we are from the point of the big bang?

  103. If you had an iceberg in a bathtub and it melted, what would happen to the water level in the bathtub, and why?

  104. If a car is traveling with a helium-filled balloon in the back seat, and the car suddenly stops, what happens to the balloon?

  105. When a car is driving up a hill, is the friction between the tires and the ground static friction or kinetic friction?

  106. Does time pass faster or slower close to the black hole?

  107. How does ice form on a window pane if there is no water?

  108. How can you differentiate an element from a compound?

  109. If I were able to set a flashlight out in the middle of space and turned it on, would it move?

  110. Is the most heat lost by the means of conduction, convection or radiation?

  111. How did the earth come to have a molten iron core?

  112. Is there any practical proof of time dilation on atomic particles?

  113. Why is Pluto so different from the other planets?

  114. If you lived on the Moon, would you see the sun rise and set? how about the earth?

  115. They say that the safest place to be when a bomb explodes is right on top of it, is that true?

  116. Would Jupiter float in a body of water?

  117. How did the Atom obtain it's name?

  118. Why is it that the lunar disk precisely covers the solar disk during a solar eclipse? Is it just an extraordinary coincidence?

  119. If fire needs oxygen of burn, how come it is used in H2O to put out fire?

  120. We know that fire needs oxygen in order to burn. Then how come stars continue to burn even though there is no oxygen in space?

  121. What is plasma?

  122. If the iceberg is sitting on the bottom of the ocean and NOT floating, would the water level rise as the ice melts?

  123. What are the upper and lower limits for the mass of a neutron star? - and why?

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