Ask-a-Physicist


Do you have a tough, funny, or weird physics question? Are you and your friends stumped? PhysicsCentral is here to help! Send us your question using the form below, and it could be selected for an answer from a real-life physicist. Readers of all ages are welcome to ask a question.

Submit a Question

How it Works

Questions will be chosen on a monthly basis; we may not be able to get to all of them. Final answers are posted to our Ask a Physicist archive and the Physics Buzz blog. We also share answers on the PhysicsCentral Twitter—be sure to follow us!

We are happy to guide you through your scientific inquiry, but please note that this is not a homework help line. Any question that looks like it might have come out of a textbook will not be answered. To get physics homework help, try Wolfram|Alpha.

For examples of past questions we have answered, see the Physics Buzz blog.

Physicists Can’t Predict the Future

Please note that this is a physics help line, not a psychic help line. Despite our best efforts, we are unable to determine when you will get married, what your pet is really thinking, or where grandma buried the cash.

Examples of Questions

If your question is original (and not a homework problem), we're happy to help. Here are some examples of questions we will answer:

  • What is a black hole?
  • If a tractor-trailer truck were shaped like an airplane wing, would the lift produced decrease the effective weight of the load, thereby increasing fuel efficiency?

If your question is obviously from a textbook, we will not provide an answer. Here is one example:

  • The pulley is pulled by F force and traverses “a” amount of distance. How much distance does object x traverse? No friction and pulleys are weightless.
    A) 4a/31
    B) 5a/31
    C) 6a/31
    D) 7a/31
    E) 8a/31

Lastly, remember that PhysicsCentral's Ask-a-Physicist is not a psychic hotline. We cannot answer questions such as:

  • I've been going through a lot lately in all ways... Love life, money, and all. Is there anything good you have in store for me?

We can honestly say we have no idea.