16 Questions that Prove that Physics Makes No Sense

Can you answer these questions which scientifically confirm that the laws of the universe make absolutely no sense?
Quiz by WolfCam
Rate:
Last updated: June 9, 2021
First submittedJanuary 23, 2020
Times taken8,729
Rating4.09
4:00
The quiz is paused. You have remaining.
Scoring
You scored / = %
This beats or equals % of test takers also scored 100%
The average score is
Your high score is
Your fastest time is
Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
1. Can energy become matter?
Yes
No
2. If you were moving just below the speed of light, could you see light moving beside you, moving slightly faster than you?
Yes
No
The light would still appear to move at the speed of light
3. Does gravity affect time?
Yes
No
4. Which of these things act like a wave sometimes?
Energy
Light
Matter
All of the above
5. Can something have infinite density?
Yes
No
Called a singularity
6. Is the speed of light the same traveling through every medium?
Yes
No
7. As an object approaches the speed of light, what does the mass approach?
Zero
Infinity
Mass does not change
Simultaneously zero and infinity
8. How big is the universe?
Finite
Infinite
We don't know
9. Can matter emerge spontaneously from a vacuum?
Yes
No
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy
10. Two spaceships leave Earth in opposite directions, each traveling 0.9 times the speed of light. Could these ships communicate with each other?
Yes
No
Even though, from Earth, these spaceships would appear to be moving away from each other at 1.8 times the speed of light, the relative speed between them would be less than the speed of light
11. Photons of light approach two slits. How do they travel through the slits?
They travel through one slit or the other
They travel through both simultaneously
It depends on if they are observed while traveling through
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment
12. If two particles are entangled, how quickly does changing one particle affect the other?
Instantaneously
At the speed of light
13. What might a sufficiently advanced quantum computer be able to do?
Perform quintillions of computations simultaneously
Communicate instantaneously with a different galaxy
Exactly predict the future
14. Which of these is a consequence of the many worlds interpretation?
The universe could cease to exist at any moment
You might never die
Nothing in the universe can be proven to exist
Time is not constant
15. Where did the Big Bang happen?
At the center of the universe
Nowhere
Everywhere simultaneously
16. Can we theoretically communicate with every star in the sky that we can see?
Yes
No
The space between us and distant galaxies is expanding at more than the speed of light
+13
Level 81
Jan 23, 2020
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
+8
Level ∞
Jan 23, 2020
Love the quantum immortality reference!
+1
Level 65
Feb 27, 2020
Nice! This was a very fun quiz.
+12
Level 52
Apr 25, 2020
What if this quiz does NOT exist?
+3
Level 75
Apr 29, 2020
I can confirm that this post doesn't exist if that helps?
+8
Level 57
Jul 27, 2020
This quiz makes absolutely no sense, and i love it.
+1
Level 59
Apr 18, 2021
Same.
+3
Level 54
Jul 16, 2021
I understand all these questions and how they work and yet simultaneously I understand nothing.
+2
Level 54
Jul 16, 2021
Another statement that makes no sense.
+4
Level 80
Jun 9, 2021
"How big is the universe?"

Of course, to even attempt to answer the question you have to clarify what is being asked. We can answer how big the observable universe is, for instance.

+4
Level ∞
Jun 9, 2021
To answer any question you must know the definitions of the words in the question.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe

"The universe (Latin: universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy."

+3
Level 80
Jun 9, 2021
True, but for many things the scientific definition differs from popular usage or laymen's terms. When people ask how big the universe is, they often mean the observable universe.
+4
Level 54
Jul 16, 2021
if the universe was a cup, everything that exists would be inside the cup, including the cup itself.
+10
Level 46
Jun 9, 2021
Hi! Love the quiz, I have a minor gripe though:

In question 7. you're referring to "relativistic mass" as just "mass". It gives the quiz-taker the false idea that an objects mass changes with time, which it does not. "Relativistic mass" is an abstract concept taught to students to simplify the inherently confusing nature of relativity, but that's it, a mathematical concept abstracted from reality.

Highly suggest everyone watch these two videos on the topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnLJoeBE_BM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJauaefTZM

or read the following paper:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-ph/0602037.pdf

+8
Level 69
Jun 9, 2021
My mass changes with time. For instance, I just ate an ice cream sandwich and my mass is now approximately 100 g greater.
+1
Level 46
Jun 9, 2021
*I meant velocity, the mass doesn't physically change with velocity

I should really stop writing comments whilst sleep deprived...

+1
Level 60
Jun 18, 2021
AlekHek, I agree with you.

However, there is no indication in the way the question is worded that this is referring to rest mass nor invariant mass.

If the observer measuring the mass of the object was in the same reference frame as the object, and thus not observing any change in mass, the observer would also ostensibly not be observing any change in the speed of the object. So, at least to me, the question is not misleading.

+2
Level 81
Jun 20, 2021
@jayhiatt: I recommend Klondike's ice cream sandwiches, as they increase your mass by about 120 g!
+1
Level 73
Jul 16, 2021
I believe the question is correct.

Remember E=mc^2 which absolutely applies here: as a mass approaches the speed of light, its energy increases, but this could be equivalently interpreted as an increase in mass, tending towards infinity.

Alternatively, as the object approaches the speed of light, the force required to accelerate it at a constant rate approaches infinity (because you need infinite energy to make a nonzero mass move at the speed of light). In this interpretation, because acceleration is constant and force approaches infinity, then by Newton’s 2nd, the object’s mass must be approaching infinity.

I think it’s important to remember that mass doesn’t work like we want to think it does, just like time or light.

It sure is weird though…

+2
Level 80
Jun 9, 2021
Light DOES travel at the same speed through every medium, it just takes a longer path through some.
+2
Level 62
Jun 10, 2021
I believe the wavelength decreases when light passes through a medium while frequency stays the same, meaning the light slows down.
+2
Level 72
Jun 10, 2021
Light refracts when passing from one medium to another. It does so because it has a different velocity in each medium.
+6
Level 67
Jun 9, 2021
I doubt that physics makes no sense; I don't doubt that we can't make sense of physics.
+2
Level 71
Jun 9, 2021
pretty sure #11 is a misinterpretation of the double slit experiment and observer effect
+1
Level ∞
Jun 9, 2021
Please read this and tell me how it is incorrect:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment

+7
Level 82
Jun 9, 2021
About halfway through, I started expecting a question about Cyprus.
+1
Level 77
Jun 10, 2021
If the answer to 16 is 'no', how can the answer to 10 be 'yes'?
+1
Level ∞
Jun 10, 2021
Because human intuition about how space works is wrong, aka "physics makes no sense".
+2
Level ∞
Jun 10, 2021
But more seriously...

Two objects starting from the same spot can't move away from each other at faster than the speed of light.

But the space between objects can increase faster than the speed of light if space itself expands.

+1
Level 60
Jun 18, 2021
I think the trouble is convoluting reference frames. From any reference frame, nothing moves faster than light (at least nothing we can observe). So, if you are using the frame of a third party, observing two other parties each moving away from you close to the speed of light, it seems paradoxical that those two parties would be able to communicate with one another (this is a pedagogical paradox of relativity, and it's now well understood by physicists). However, from the reference frame of either of the first two parties, the other is moving away at a speed LESS than the speed of light, so communication should be possible.

So the answer to #16 may be correct, but the reasoning why is either wrong or else I did not understand the explanation.

+1
Level ∞
Jun 18, 2021
I wouldn't recommend trying to reason about this from first principles. It's maddening. My explanation that space is expanding is correct:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=galaxy+faster+than+light

+1
Level 54
Jul 16, 2021
And it does.
+1
Level 61
Jul 16, 2021
Because the two ships in question 10 leave the same place, they are in the same relative position within the universe with regards to the expansion of the universe, so light speed communication will reach from one ship to the other.

However, there are stars that are far enough away that the expansion of the universe means that light speed will not theoretically ever reach these stars because they space between is expanding faster than the speed of light.

+1
Level 76
Jun 11, 2021
Good quiz. I do love the counter intuitive nature of much of modern physics. Although many (though not all) of these things do start to feel more sensible once you look deeper into them. A lot of the problem lies with how we commonly conceptualise things like matter, energy, space and time.
+2
Level 71
Jun 11, 2021
16. I htought the answer is because some of the stars don't exist anymore, so we can't communictae with them.
+3
Level 62
Jun 11, 2021
I guess that works too. Although the fact that the space between stars is expanding and therefore prevents any possible communication between them is fascinating, I believe the fact that you can't communicate with something that has exploded is also equally correct.
+1
Level 39
Jul 16, 2021
Yea but how can that be the case when in question 10 the exact same scenario, but with different objects is happening, and communication is possible?
+4
Level 69
Jun 14, 2021
Since I'm doing a physics degree anything below full marks would've been devastating for me. I answered every question right at the end :D
+1
Level ∞
Jun 18, 2021
Well done!
+1
Level 61
Jul 16, 2021
i’m not quite sure why the other answers to 13 are ‘wrong’ - if they’re sufficiently advanced then of course they could do it, by definition, and including the word ‘might’ means technically the other two could be correct. maybe if you changed it to ‘which of these do scientists now believe a computer may one day be able to do’?
+2
Level 62
Jul 16, 2021
I believe that the whole idea of a quantum computer is that it uses quantum particles to store info. I don't think this process would be useful in sending information instantaneously or predicting the future. While I guess it may be possible that we might have computers that can do either of these things, the fact that it says quantum computer implies that the question is looking for something a quantum computer specifically does.
+1
Level 61
Jul 17, 2021
I'm pretty sure randomness is considered to be a real thing that exists by most physicists, rather then it just being a result of us not knowing every variable.

So even with the most powerful computer that was able to account for every conceivable variable possible you wouldn't be able to predict the future to 100% accuracy

+1
Level 58
Jul 16, 2021
Brilliant quiz, makes me feel alive (and dead) all at the same time…
+2
Level 67
Jul 16, 2021
Schrodinger, I think I found your cat!
+1
Level 71
Jul 16, 2021
Did anyone else get tricked into answering 'Accurately predict the future' on question #13 because of the TV show DEVS?
+3
Level 55
Jul 16, 2021
I think the singularity question is not really correct – my take on it would be singularities are where our current models break down. Wikipedia also says, "Physicists are undecided whether the prediction of singularities means that they actually exist (or existed at the start of the Big Bang), or that current knowledge is insufficient to describe what happens at such extreme densities."

Apart from that, nice one!

+2
Level 61
Jul 16, 2021
Completely agreed and came to quibble over this too. I got the answer right because I knew what the QM wanted, but it isn't quite true.

If you are leaving finite / infinite as an unanswered question, it would be equally correct to say that the answer to "Can something have infinite density?" is "We don't know"

+1
Level 39
Jul 16, 2021
"we don't know"

You mean because we have no way of telling wtf is at the center of a black hole right?

+1
Level 39
Jul 16, 2021
Does someone wanna explain how in 10.) we are able to communicate, even though the distance between the ships is expanding faster than light, but in question 16.) we can't for that exact reason?

Maybe my relativity is a bit off, but I took a modern physics class and I'm pretty sure that 16 is wrong isn't it?

+1
Level 64
Jul 16, 2021
The difference is that in the first case a distance is increasing, whereas in the second space itself is expanding. It's like the difference between two points moving across the surface of a balloon and the distance between two fixed points on the surface of a balloon increasing due to the balloon being blown up.
+1
Level 69
Jul 16, 2021
I think the weirdest one is how both stations can communicate when they are moving close to the speed of light.

And there is another easy reason that we can't communicate with every star we see: some of them may already be destroyed since we are seeing the past.

+1
Level 64
Jul 16, 2021
I think this quiz is quite good overall given the fact that it covers concepts that are difficult to understand and often misrepresented, however there are a few problems with the answers:

1. Energy can only become matter if it becomes an equal amount of ordinary matter and antimatter, by the conservation of the lepton number and baryon number.

5. Singularities are theorised but have never been directly observed, since they can only appear inside a black hole.

9. Again, an equal amount of ordinary matter and antimatter have to emerge simultaneously.

12. Not all interpretations of quantum mechanics agree on this point, though I am not knowledgeable enough in this area to explain what they do agree on. I believe that when one particle changes, apparently "causing" the other to change, this is not the result of any controllable process and so no causation can be proven (only correlation).

14. This is only true if...

+1
Level 64
Jul 16, 2021
we assume that there is no law of physics that prevents an individual from living forever. I'm not sure whether predictions about the death of the universe rely on statistics or genuinely imply that the universe will inevitably end within a given period of time, but an assumption about this would need to be added to reach that conclusion.

1 and 9 are kind of nitpicking as you can argue that ordinary matter and antimatter are both types of matter, and 5 could be explained by adding that it is a prediction of theoretical physics and not observed. 12 and 14 need more assumptions that not all physicists agree on in order to be correct.

+1
Level 69
Jul 16, 2021
This is what happens with "theoretical" anything. It's just theory. The "big bang theory", the theory which is being used to discount creation, could not have happened everywhere at the same time. If that were true, then we'd always be in a constant state of explosion. The big bang theory at least says it originated from one point and radiated outward. The closest answer would be the center, but then again, we don't know the expansion rate of the universe, so we have no frickin idea.
+3
Level 64
Jul 16, 2021
We are in a constant state of expansion (the big bang is an expansion not an explosion). The quiz is accurate on this point.
+1
Level 82
Jul 17, 2021
It's not like the singularity that produced the Big Bang was one point suspended in empty space that exploded... it was (at least) the entirety of the observable universe. So saying that it happened at just one point in the observable universe would be inaccurate, even if that's easier for us to conceptualize.