So far the scope of Physics Stack Exchange has been defined to exclude experimental technology questions, which are those questions about the devices that one uses to do physics, rather than about the physical principles they use. Some of these questions fit on Electrical Engineering, and there was a proposal on Area 51 that would have been a great home for these questions. However, that proposal is no more, and given that this site is well established with a steady flow of physical principles questions, is it time that we start to allow the questions about experimental technology?

Here is a recent example that prompted this question: Good electronic filters against 50 Hz mains hum?

See also Does the Area 51 proposal "Experimental or Applied Physics" duplicate this site?

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"is it time that we start to allow the questions about experimental technology?" Yes.Absolutely. –  Antillar Maximus Mar 27 '12 at 22:33

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The mains hum one was a relatively simple EE problem, which was simple enough to stay on the scope of physics (AC rejector circuits seem pretty OK to me). But yes, it would have found a better home on EE.SE.

I would say that these should stay on topic. Multiple reasons:

  • This is the best place for them. (Experimental) physicists here will be familiar with experimental tech, and can provide detailed answers.
  • Experimental physics is a large part of Physics. Experimental tech does not focus on any concept, but neither does experimental physics. We can not afford to ignore experimental physics/tech on a physics site.
  • The general question of feasibility of a setup is a great one, and experimental tech is a large part of feasibility.

Update: I have created to hold such questions.

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One of my own experimental tech questions: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/21020/… –  Manishearth Mar 20 '12 at 12:55
    
I second Manishearth's reasons for keeping experimental-technology questions in sight of the physicists frequenting physics.stackexchange –  jasonh Mar 21 '12 at 7:52
    
I suggest the tag 'experimental technique' instead of 'experimental technology'. –  nibot Mar 21 '12 at 8:11
    
@nibot experimental-technique exists, but I'm not sure it has enough overlap. –  Manishearth Mar 21 '12 at 8:26
    
What's the difference? –  nibot Mar 21 '12 at 8:52
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@nibot technique has to do with setup and how to formulate an experiment taking real-world issues into consideration. Experimental technology has to do with the tech involved in physics.. The accuracy etc. Currently, experimental technique is allowed, technology isn't. –  Manishearth Mar 21 '12 at 9:02
    
Here's another example question, one of mine: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/94/… –  ptomato Mar 21 '12 at 9:32
    
@ptomato imo that's more experimental technique. Not experimental technology. –  Manishearth Mar 21 '12 at 9:35
    
I felt it was more like "what technology is available to solve this problem" although it is probably a little of both. –  ptomato Mar 21 '12 at 9:42
    
@ptomato well, it really depends upon your intentions. To me, it didn't look like you wanted technology advice--it looked more like you wanted help in formulating a setup. If it was the former, yes, it falls under both I guess. –  Manishearth Mar 21 '12 at 9:49
    
FWIW I wasn't being very precise with my usage of "experimental technology" in the question - I just meant questions which are about devices or procedures used to do physics and not about the physics concepts themselves. So perhaps both experimental-technique and experimental-technology would be appropriate, and likely more (since this proposal potentially doubles the scope of the site, I wouldn't expect all the new stuff to fit under one or two tags) –  David Z Mar 22 '12 at 1:00

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