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2
votes
1answer
41 views

Sign convention for EMF

When we define the field generate by EMF, why there is not negative sign in $\mathcal{E} = \oint \vec{E} \cdot d\vec{l}$? Usually we talk about potential, there should be a negative sign, right?
3
votes
2answers
36 views

Why a minus in the equation of a paraxial plane wave?

paraxial plane wave = $\exp{(-jkz)}$ for waves propagating to the right I can't figure out why it's not $\exp{(+jkz)}$. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
0
votes
3answers
50 views

Capacitance of Parallel Plates

For Parallel Plate Capacitors, I was wondering why, in the derivation, they set charge to $Q$, when there is a net charge of zero? I know it wouldn't be very helpful to use zero, but if the definition ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Sign of Potential Energy

The mass is released at height $h$ above the spring, how far will the spring move? $E_i=mgh, E_f= kx^2/2+mgx$...why the second equation isn't $ E_f= kx^2/2-mgx$? Since it is below the "zero".
0
votes
2answers
78 views

Work in Newtonian Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Well, is the basic difference between the work that we learn in Mechanics and that in Thermodynamics? This is because in Mechanics, whenever work of magnitude $W$ is done on a system $S$, then the ...
4
votes
4answers
149 views

Sign of Work and potential energy in electrostatics

Conceptual question: Suppose we have a configuration of point charges. If the potential of the energy of the system is negative, this means work is positive. I'm kind of rusty with my mechanics, ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

What is the constant $g_0$ used for calculating the specific impulse in seconds?

Wikipedia defines specific impulse as: $$ I_\mathrm{sp} = \frac{F_\mathrm{thrust}}{\dot{m} \cdot g_0} $$ The $g_0$ is said to be the acceleration at the Earth's surface. So is it actually the ...
6
votes
2answers
179 views

How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter?

Antimatter is like matter on opposite day: it has the same properties as the stuff that makes up planets, stars and galaxies, but one vital piece is different—its charge. The universe supposedly ...
3
votes
2answers
80 views

What is average life in radioactivity and what is its significance?

By definition, average life of radioactive sample is the amount of time required for it to get decayed to 36.8% of its original amount. But what is the significance of 36.8% and why has that value ...
2
votes
2answers
138 views

Why do most of the motor with blades rotate anti-clockwise when viewed from the front facing the blade?

I have noticed that most of the motor with blades and engines rotate anti-clockwise direction when viewed from front facing blade. Is there any specific reason for this? Is it because of any kind of ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

When heat is rejected by a system what will be $q$ according to sign convention?

When a system rejects heat it can be assumed that work is done by the system. So as per law the sign convention must be negative. But my physics textbook says the reverse. So is the question.
4
votes
3answers
103 views

Charge signs in current

I've had recently an argument with my friend about different charge carriers in an electric current. Suppose that electrons and holes are moving in the same direction. It effectively means we have ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Why are there two metric signature conventions?

I understand that it is more common in GR for the metric to be given a $(-,+,+,+)$ signature and more common in particle physics (or field theory, as Peskin & Schroeder tells me) to use the ...
5
votes
2answers
393 views

Why do we order the variables in certain physics questions the way we do?

I'm writing a script involving physics equations, and someone complained that my script outputs $F = m a$ as $F = a m$, as well as outputting $E_p = m g h$ as $E_p = g h m$; another example would be ...
2
votes
1answer
209 views

What is the difference between $Q=\Delta U+W$ and $\Delta U=Q+W$?

Is $Q=\Delta U+W$ for when the the work is done from the system while $\Delta U=Q+W$ is for when the work is done by the system? Will anybody explain this to me, please? When do we use $Q=\Delta ...
1
vote
2answers
225 views

What do we mean exactly by the positive/negative charges in cathode and anode?

In batteries, what exactly do we mean by negative and positive charges? My understanding is that the negative charge of the anode is basically an atom with an extra electron in the last orbital and a ...
2
votes
0answers
78 views

Is the sign in the Schrodinger equation physical?

I always have trouble remembering the sign in factors like $\exp(\pm ik\cdot x)$ (I'll use mostly minus signature here) that arise in field theory. My mnemonic is to remember that the Schrodinger ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

$2\pi$ and Feynman Rules

I notice a $2\pi$ term in the $\delta$-function when trying to construct an amplitude using the Feynman Rules. The $2\pi$ also appears as an integration measure to enforce normalisation in the phase ...
5
votes
2answers
362 views

Is negative 20 psi / 1.5 bar possible?

If I understand correctly, negative pressure usually means relative pressure: the difference between inside and outside. If outside is normal (1 bar, 15 psi, 100 kPa etc), how low can the (relative) ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

A question about electric field

I would like to understand why is it the charge density while dealing with currents is $\mathop{\mathrm{div}}(E)/4\pi$, while when dealing with insulators is $-\mathop{\mathrm{div}}(E)/4\pi$? Thank ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

A naive question about the Second Quantization?

Let's consider a single-particle(boson or fermion) with $n$ states $\phi_1,\cdots,\phi_n$(normalized orthogonal basis of the single-particle Hilbert space), and let $h$ be the single-particle ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Will we gain some extra hours if we travel in the direction of the rotation of the earth? [closed]

I heard that If we travel for long distances in the direction of the rotation of the earth, we can gain some extra hours in the journey. Is it true? What if we travel in the opposite direction?
2
votes
2answers
92 views

What distinguishes the particles we chose as matter from their antimatter equivalent? [duplicate]

Back before we knew about antimatter we just called everything matter. Ignoring CP-violation for a moment, there is nothing special about matter versus antimatter. Once we knew about antimatter it ...
0
votes
1answer
233 views

Work done should be positive but coming out negative?

$\int\frac{GMm}{x^2}dx$ where $x$ varies from $\infty$ to $r$. Situation we are bringing a very small mass from infinity to a distance r in the gravitational field of Earth with constant ...
3
votes
1answer
315 views

Sign conventions for voltage drop and gain in circuit

In Sears and Zemansky's University Physics book and in many other books in English they define the following sign conventions (used for Kirchhoff loop rule for example): While in many other books ...
22
votes
1answer
253 views

Identification of particles and anti-particles

The identification of an electron as a particle and the positron as an antiparticle is a matter of convention. We see lots of electrons around us so they become the normal particle and the rare and ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

Historical reason behind using $ν$ instead of $f$ to stand for frequency in the equation $E=hν$?

Normally, we use the letter $f$ to stand for frequency in equations. $$T = 1/f$$ $$v = \lambda f$$ $$Φ +E_k = h f$$ So I'm curious as why the letter $ν$ (nu) is used to represent frequency in the ...
1
vote
2answers
196 views

Signs in proof of gravitation potential energy (GPE)

Proof of gravitational potential energy. Work done by gravity in bringing mass from infinity to a distance of $r$ between masses. When we use the integration formula and arrive at the answer we ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Riemann tensor notation and Christoffel symbol notation

In paper by Barnich and Brandt Covariant theory of asymptotic symmetries, conservation laws and central charges they defined the Riemann tensor like this: $$R_{\rho\mu\nu}^{\quad \ \ ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Notations for statistical / systematic / numeric errors?

I constantly see the notation $$ 5.143(13) $$ for specifying that a value was measures / calculated to be 5.143 with an estimated error of 0.013. I have come to wonder though, just how commonly ...
6
votes
2answers
665 views

Square bracket notation for dimensions and units: usage and conventions

One of the most useful tools in dimensional analysis is the use of square brackets around some physical quantity $q$ to denote its dimension as $$[q].$$ However, the precise meaning of this symbol ...
7
votes
5answers
325 views

Is the number 1 a unit?

In dimensionless analysis, coefficients of quantities which have the same unit for numerator and denominator are said to be dimensionless. I feel the word dimensionless is actually wrong and should be ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Why Counterclockwise starts from East?

In vector lessons, we have counterclockwise angle of rotation of the vector starts from East. "The direction of a vector is often expressed as a counterclockwise angle of rotation of the vector about ...
1
vote
2answers
189 views

Should we necessarily express the dimensions of a physical quantity within square brackets? [duplicate]

For example, should we write the dimension of mass, e.g. $\mathrm{kg}$ as $[M]$ or is it enough to write it as $M$?
0
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the sign of the work done on the system and by the system?

What is the sign of the work done on the system and by the system? My chemistry course book says, when work is done on the systems, it is taken positive. When work is done by the system, it is taken ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “clockwise” mean, exactly? [closed]

I am in the middle of a discussion with a friend about the meaning of the term "clockwise". Wikipedia indicates that a clockwise rotation goes as top-right-down-left. However, my friend argues that ...
2
votes
1answer
677 views

Thermodynamic cycles, when is the work negative/positive?

ever since I begun calculating thermodynamical cycles, I've had problems with determining the sign of the work along a particular bit of the cycle. Of course, I guess that an arbitrary cycle is ...
7
votes
1answer
468 views

Who (and Why) started the “electrons are negative, protons are positive” convention? [duplicate]

For some reason everyone labels electrons using a minus sign and protons using a positive sign, even though the opposite seems more intuitive: Who started the convention that electrons should be ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Is it incorrect to explain the direction of a coded vector quantity?

For example, let's say that in a linear physics problem, all the data are given to a certain direction, and coded positively for direction to the right. So +5m/s would be a velocity of 5m/s to the ...
1
vote
2answers
274 views

What is wrong with this form of the Maxwell-Faraday equation?

What is wrong with this form of the Maxwell-Faraday equation? $$\oint \vec{E}\ \partial \vec l= \bigcirc \hspace{-1.4em} \int \hspace{-.6em} \int \frac{\partial \vec B}{\partial t}$$ "Line integral ...
3
votes
2answers
225 views

How to reconcile the two definitions of work? (mechanical and thermodynamical)

When studying classical mechanics, work is defined as: $W_M=\int F_{tot} \hspace{2 mm} dx$. However, for thermodynamics, work is defined as: $W_T=\int -F_{ext} \hspace{2 mm} dx$. I'm having trouble ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Explicit form of $\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu$ in the Dirac equation

I'm in an introductory particle physics class, and in performing manipulations on the Dirac equation, my instructor expands the $\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu$ term as: $$\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu = \gamma^0 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between $\Delta$, $d$ and $\delta$

I have read the thread regarding 'the difference between the operators between $\delta$ and $d$', but it does not answer my question. I am confused about the notation for change in Physics. In ...
3
votes
4answers
464 views

Potential energy sign conventions

Almost every book on physics that I read have some weird and non-clear explanations regarding the potential energy. Ok, I do understand that if we integrate a force over some path, we'll get a ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Plane waves in QFT

Suppose we work in the metric $(-1,+1)$. How do we describe an incoming particle with a plane wave; $\exp(-\mathrm ikx)$ or $\exp(+\mathrm ikx)$? What's the difference? Does it change if we work in ...
3
votes
1answer
163 views

Sign crazyness on the stress energy tensor?

I would like to know on what depends the sign of the stress energy tensor in the following formula : $T_{\mu\nu}=\pm(\rho c^2+P)u_{\mu}u_{\nu} \pm P g_{\mu\nu}$ In my case the metric is equal to ...
1
vote
2answers
239 views

What is the most natural value of Heaviside step function at zero argument?

In many physical applications, the Heaviside step fuction is defined as $$H(x) = \left\{\begin{eqnarray} 1, \quad x>0 \\ 0, \quad x<0 \end{eqnarray}\right.$$ The value $H(0)$ is left undefined. ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Why the direction of dipole moment is from negative charge to positive charge?

An electric dipole moment is defined as $p = q\times 2d$. How to understand it physically? Why the direction of the electric dipole moment is from negative charge to positive charge?
2
votes
2answers
186 views

Inner Product Spaces

I am trying to reconcile the definition of Inner Product Spaces that I encountered in Mathematics with the one I recently came across in Physics. In particular, if $(,)$ denotes an inner product in ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Sign Conventions for Dirac equation

Is it possible to have the Dirac sign convention, (-,+,+,+) and at the same time use the metric $$dt^2-dx^2-dy^2-dz^2$$ i.e have opposing Dirac and metric tensor conventions?