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Overview

Introduction

Have You Ever Wondered…
by Geoffrey Giller

 

Section 1: World of Small Things

1.1   How Are Elements Broken Down into Protons, Electrons and Neutrons?
        by Stephen Reucroft and John D. Swain

1.2   If We Cannot See Electrons and Protons, How Can We Be Sure They Exist?
        by Stephen Reucroft and John D. Swain

1.3   What Is a Neutrino?
        by Aksel L. Hallin

1.4   What Exactly Is the 'Spin' of Subatomic Particles Such as Electrons?
        by Morton Tavel, Kurt T. Bachmann and Victor J. Stenger

1.5   What Happens On a Molecular or Atomic Level When Two Objects Touch?
        by Fred Wudl

1.6   Do Virtual Particles in Quantum Mechanics Really Exist?
        by Gordon Kane

1.7   Why Isn't the Dual Wave/Particle Nature of the Quantum Mechanical World Present in the Macroscopic World?
        by Joseph S. Merola

1.8   What Is Quantum Mechanics Good for?
        by James Kakalios and John Matson

1.9   What Is Known About Tachyons?
        by Raymond Y. Chiao

 

Section 2: Doing the Math

2.1   Are Mathematicians Finally Satisfied with Andrew Wiles's Proof of Fermat's Last Theorem?
        by Helen G. Grundman and Glenn H. Stevens

2.2   Has Chaos Theory Found Any Useful Application in the Social Sciences?
        by Herbert A. Simon and James P. Crutchfield

2.3   What Is Game Theory and What Are Some of its Applications?
        by Saul I. Gass

2.4   Can Math Beat Financial Markets?
        by H. Eugene Stanley and David Biello

2.5   How Can a Poll of Only a Thousand Americans Represent Millions of People?
        by Andrew Gelman

2.6   What Is Godel's Incompleteness Theorem?
        by Melvin Henriksen

2.7   What Is the Origin of Zero?
        by Robert Kaplan

2.8   What Is Pi and How Did It Originate?
        by Steven Bogart

2.9   What Does Bayes's Theorem Have To Do with the Existence of God?
        by Chris Wiggins

2.10  What Is Russell's Paradox?
          by John T. Baldwin and Olivier Lessmann

 

Section 3: Everyday Physics

3.1   How Exactly Does Light Transform into Heat?
        by Tom Zepf and Scott M. Auerbach

3.2   What Is the Physical Process by which a Mirror Reflects Light Rays?
        by Peter N. Saeta

3.3   Is Glass a Supercooled Liquid?
        by Ciara Curtin

3.4   After a Major Explosion, How Does a Mushroom Cloud Form?
        by David Dearborn

3.5   Does Ball Lightning Really Exist?
        by Martin A. Uman, Peter H. Handel and John Lowke

 

Section 4: Beyond Newton’s Apple

4.1   Is There Such a Thing as Anti-gravity?
        by Andrew Trupin, Steinn Sigurdsson and Morton Tavel

4.2   How Does a Flame Behave in Zero Gravity?
        by Kenneth D. Schlecht

4.3   Has Anyone Ever Measured the Speed of Gravity?
        by Robert Ehrlich

4.4   Would You Fall All the Way Through a Theoretical Hole in the Earth?
        by Mark Shegelski

4.5   What Is a 'Fictitious Force'?
        by David Politzer

 

Section 5: Stranger Things

5.1   What Is Antimatter?
        by R. Michael Barnett and Maria Spiropulu

5.2   What Is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?
        by Jesse Gordon

5.3   What Is the Casimir Effect?
        by Stephen Reucroft and John Swain

5.4   What Is the 'Zero Point Energy' in Quantum Physics?
        by Matt Visser, John Obienin, John Baez and Paul A. Deck

5.5   What Are Josephson Junctions?
        by Richard Newrock

5.6   Is It Possible for a Human Being to Travel through Time?
        by Gary T. Horowitz, William A. Hiscock and John L. Friedman

5.7   Is Time Quantized?
        by John Baez, William G. Unruh and William G. Tifft

5.8   Do the Bubbles Made by Ultrasound in Water Produce Nuclear Fusion?
        by Andrea Prosperetti and Lawrence A. Crum

5.9   Is Cold Fusion Possible?
        by Michael J. Schaffer and Robert F. Heeter

Ask the Experts: Physics and Math

Scientific American’s  “Ask the Experts” column has been answering reader questions for nearly two decades. Now, we've combed through our archives and compiled some of the most interesting entries into a series of eBooks organized by subject. In the first of the series – Physics and Math – professors and researchers tackle a wide range of natural phenomena and mathematical concepts from what is antimatter to applications of game theory to what we know about tachyons.

Scroll down for a full table of contents. 

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