A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted norms. It typically helps common efficiency or understanding but is not required, as opposed to a strict standard or protocol.

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How can “…electrons flow in metals, but not in the ground…” explain grounding rods?

I really enjoyed Why is the charge naming convention wrong? But, in the comments at the very end, the statement that "...electrons flow in metals, but not in the ground..." left me uneasy. I was ...
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2answers
86 views

Can an angle be defined as a vector?

In Classical Mechanics angular velocity, angular acceleration, torque and angular momentum can be defined as vectors with clear advantages such as the possibility to use vector product to simplify ...
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31 views

Sign convention in geometrical optics

This is slight misconception that has bugged me. While deriving the mirror formula: $$\frac{1}{u}+\frac{1}{v}=\frac{1}{f},$$ people (as per my reference book) tend to apply the sign convention to ...
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23 views

Why is surface tension positive?

My book describes surface tension as $e=dW/dA$ and work as being negative when it is done against a force. Therefore, if i increase the surface area of a liquid i am doing work on the liquid against ...
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4answers
74 views

When writing a differential equation, when do you take $+\text{d}x$ and when do you take $-\text{d}x$?

When writing a differential equation I'm confused as to when to write $+\text{d}x$ a and when to write $-\text{d}x$ a where $x$ represents some quantity. For example, I wanted to derive the equation ...
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2answers
36 views

Sign of induced EMF and other elements in AC circuit

I am having problems to determine the direction of the induced EMF in AC circuits. For example, we have an inductor of inductance $L$. The induced EMF is given by: $$ \epsilon = - L \frac{di}{dt} $$ ...
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49 views

Transforming operators and minus signs

If I have an operator $A_H$ in the Heisenberg picture, then it obeys the equation $-i \frac{\partial}{\partial t}A_H=[H,A_H]$. However, if I plug in the expression $H=i\frac{\partial}{\partial t}$ I ...
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1answer
41 views

Why the force acting on a particle is the negative gradient of a scalar potential? [closed]

For conservative forces we can proof that it is a gradient of a scalar potential, but why we use the negative sign? In every book I searched, it said that it is like an agreement between physicists, ...
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1answer
47 views

How can energy be negative in a finite square well?

Say if the potential $V(x) < 0$ in the well but the sides or the scattered states its zero potential, anyways How is that the energy in the well is less than zero? Is it because the potential ...
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0answers
12 views

What is the direction of area vector while calculating flux in AC generators?

I was told that in case of an open surface, the direction of area vector is considered to be in the direction of magnetic field but my doubt is won't the direction of area vector change as armature ...
3
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2answers
79 views

Confusion with $F=-\nabla V$, $F$ conservative

I am rather confused by the relationship $F=-\nabla V$. If a pen drops from a height it loses potential energy so $\nabla V$ is negative. From the above equation this means that the gravitational ...
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2answers
150 views

Performing Wick Rotation to get Euclidean action of scalar field

I'm working with the signature $(+,-,-,-)$ and with a Minkowski space-stime Lagrangian $$ \mathcal{L}_M = \Psi^\dagger\left(i\partial_0 + \frac{\nabla^2}{2m}\right)\Psi $$ The Minkowski action is $$ ...
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2answers
41 views

Kirchoff's law, can it tell me the direction of current in this case?

Say I want to find the current Ia in the circuit below: If I use the approach of using kirchoff's voltage law and ohm's law on the left loop, I get $-24V -12k\Omega*1mA -21k\Omega*I_a = 0$ $I_a = ...
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3answers
63 views

Correlation function $\langle s_1(x, t)s_2(x', t')\rangle$ vs $\langle s_1(x, t)s_2(x', t')\rangle-\langle s_1(x, t)\rangle\langle s_2(x', t')\rangle$

The correlation function in statistical mechanics is defined in either of two ways $$g(\mathbf{x}-\mathbf{x}', t-t') = \left\langle s_1(\mathbf{x}, t)s_2(\mathbf{x}', t') \right\rangle$$ ...
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1answer
52 views

Two mass spring system

The equations of motion of the spring mass system with, m = 1 $ \ddot{y_1} = -k_1y_1 + k_1(y_2-y_1)$ $ \ddot{y_2} = -k(y_2-y_1) - ky_2$ My question is with the second term in the first equation. ...
2
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1answer
79 views

How should Christoffel symbols be written (in LaTeX)? [closed]

I'm writing a summary of a lecture on relativity, and we've recently introduced the Christoffel symbols. It seems that the upstairs indices are the "leftmost" and the downstairs indices are somewhat ...
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1answer
66 views

Problem arising from quantisation of e.m. field

In my studies on the quantisation of the electromagnetic field I've come across a small calculation that I wasn't able to reproduce. Remember the following: In the Gupta-Bleuler method to quantize ...
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0answers
22 views

The sign of a focal length

We know that for converging lens, $f>0$ , for diverging lens, $f<0$. But for many materials I have read so far, it says that: "the focal length of a concave lens is 8 cm." I thought that the ...
3
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2answers
72 views

Does metric signature affect the stress energy tensor?

If one were to derive the stress-energy tensor for a metric with $(+,-,-,-)$ signature would it be different from the stress-energy tensor derived from the same metric but with $(-,+,+,+)$ signature?
2
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0answers
16 views

Conventions in defining spherical harmonics and associated Legendre polynomials

Relevant Background Spherical harmonics are defined with several different conventions: the definition used in quantum mechanics according to Wikipedia is $Y_l^{\,m}(\theta,\phi) = ...
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2answers
70 views

Momentum conservation in the one-loop contribution of the photon propagator

The lowest contribution to the photon self-energy is represented by the following diagram (Taken from F.Schwabl, Advanced quantum mechanics, p.365):: ($k$ is the momentum of the photon that decays in ...
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1answer
43 views

Velocity-time-distance problem

In my book the formula for the $y$-component of velocity during the upward projectile motion is given: $$V_y=V_{iy}-gt$$ and next to it the formula for $y$-component of velocity during the downward ...
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1answer
56 views

Confused regarding sign convention of silvered plano convex lens

I'm totally confused while finding the sign convention of a silvered plano convex lens. I know that equivalent power of such a system can be found by adding the power of the mirror and twice the power ...
0
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2answers
73 views

Complex scalar field theory

For the complex scalar field theory $$L = -\partial_{\mu}\phi^{*}\partial_{\mu}\phi - m^{2}\phi^{*}\phi + J\phi^{*}+J^{*}\phi,$$ Why is there no factor of 1/2 in the lagrangian like in the real ...
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1answer
32 views

Integration path with opposite direction from the unit vector

The task is to calculate the voltage between points $M$ and $N$ if the electric field vector is known to be $\vec{E}=\frac{V_0\cdot x^2}{a^3} \cdot \vec{i} + \frac{V_0 \cdot y}{a^2} \cdot \vec{j}$, ...
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2answers
129 views

Defining gravitational potential

I recently came across the definition of gravitational potential where ..... Suppose a particle of mass $m$ is taken from a point $A$ to $B$. Let $U(A)$ and $U(B)$ denote the gravitational ...
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1answer
63 views

Why do physicists use a positive sign for the Fourier kernel / outward propagating waves? [closed]

I am not a physicist but rather an engineer / mathematician, so I've always wondered why is it that physicists use the positive sign convention in the forward Fourier transform. That is, in all of my ...
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1answer
102 views

Maxwell equations in 2+1 D

I have a problem with the Maxwell equations in (2+1) dimensions using differential form. Following J. Baez "Gauge Fields, Knots and Gravity" page 93 (or any other book), the equations are ...
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3answers
58 views

What's the work done by a spring on a block when it moves from extreme to mean position?

I really don't know where am I doing it wrong, but block when it moves towards mean position displacement will be along the force right, so the force acting on block will be $+fxdx$ Integrating we ...
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1answer
49 views

Why is a satellite's GPE negative? [duplicate]

Okay, so the formula for Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE) of satellites is: $$ U=-GmM/d$$ Mass and distance can't be negative, and $G$ is constant that is not negative. Why is a satellite's GPE ...
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1answer
52 views

Work done should be positive but it is coming out to be negative? [closed]

I have described a question in which this problem arises in the image below:
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2answers
62 views

Why specify the state of a particle in terms of position and momentum not velocity?

Often a particle's state is expressed in terms of position and momentum. Why not position and velocity? Momentum has a connection to the particle's mass which I wouldn't say is so important to the ...
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2answers
63 views

Complex conjugation of Weyl Spinors

Let $\chi$ be a left-handed Weyl spinor transforming as $$\delta\chi=\frac{1}{2}\omega_{\mu\nu}\sigma^{\mu\nu}\chi.$$ In my lecture notes it is explicitly stated that complex conjugation interchanges ...
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1answer
36 views

Non-linear pendulum (Whittaker's treatise on analytical dynamics of particles)

Reading through Whittaker's "treatise on the analytical dynamics of particles and rigid bodies" I have a question regarding his analysis of the simple nonlinear pendulum at chapter IV. At some point ...
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1answer
137 views

Gradient, divergence and curl with covariant derivatives

I am trying to do exercise 3.2 of Sean Carroll's Spacetime and geometry. I have to calculate the formulas for the gradient, the divergence and the curl of a vector field using covariant derivatives. ...
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2answers
49 views

What is time measured against? [duplicate]

Today I was observing a clock and its movement, every second is an exact second on every clock. I was making a comparison between a second and a meter. I know in France there is a metal stick one ...
2
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1answer
51 views

Definition of primary fields actually leads to a Witt algebra with a minus sign?

Let's take as an example Di Francesco et al. but every source I am aware of is doing the same. First of all, the Virasoro algebra is usually defined as $$[L_m,L_n] = (m - n)L_{m+n} + \frac{c}{12} m ...
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1answer
109 views

Electric field for concentric spheres

I have a couple clarifying questions: (A) in $E=kq/r^2$ for the area between a sphere inside another spherical shell, the sphere inside is considered a point charge. However, the sphere inside has a ...
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2answers
65 views

Why isn't the work minus the potential energy when bringing a charge in from infinity?

This is an example in my physics textbook, and there is just one step that I don't understand. Two point charges are located on the x-axis, $q_1 = -e$ at $x = 0$ and $q_2 = +e$ at $x=a$. Find ...
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2answers
84 views

How do you choose direction of moment of inertia?

If a car is accelerating forward from rest with no air resistance while weight and normal forces act on the wheels, in which direction is the moment of inertia? Is it positive, clockwise or anti ...
0
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1answer
170 views

Rule sign for concave and convex lens?

I am just totally confused about the rule sign of convex and concave lenses. The general formula: $1/v-1/u=1/f$ Is okay but when solving problem sums sometimes $v$ becomes negative sometimes $u$ and ...
68
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7answers
9k views

Why does public mains power use 50-60 Hz and 100-240 V?

Is there a physical reason behind the frequency and voltage in the mains electricity? I do not want to know why exactly a certain value was chosen; I am rather interested to know why that range/order ...
0
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2answers
102 views

Why is the charge of a proton positive? [duplicate]

Is there a reason that a proton has a positive charge while an electron has a negative charge? Are these just names that were given to the charges or was there a reason for making a proton have a ...
3
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2answers
68 views

Multiple Definition For Gravitational Potential Energy?

This may just be a simple Misconception Question, here goes: Definition for Gravitational Potential Energy: The work done by gravity to pull an object to the ground. ...
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1answer
47 views

Lower Voltage = Higher Potential?

I am doing problems from a textbook and one of the questions asks to determine where the higher potential is. (b) Find the potential difference between the points on the axis at and which of ...
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2answers
472 views

What's the difference between a positive and a negative current?

Say I have a wire, and I connect a current source on its left end, and a ground to its right end. Then using my power supply I source a positive current, does this mean that electrons will move from ...
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3answers
118 views

Should these be called “weights” or “masses”? [closed]

Yeah, those circular metal disks. Weights or masses? I call them weights because when I attach them to a spring I'm interested in their weight, but it feels odd saying a "Pick up the 100g weight". ...
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0answers
25 views

Index Placement for Spinors in Relativity

This may ultimately be a silly question, but a pedantic mind like mine gets tied into knots over differing notation. (Disclaimer: I'm a mathematician.) Let $\mathbb{W}$ be a complex two-dimensional ...
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1answer
89 views

What is meant by saying the work done by a conservative force is -(change in PE)?

I read through all related questions, and they are almost the same, but I still didn't understand this and so am asking again. What is meant when we say that the work done by conservative force is = ...
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1answer
131 views

How do you derive Fleming's left hand rule?

How do you derive Fleming's left hand rule? What is the theoretical explanation for the directions of the magnetic field, current and the force on the current for being oriented in that way relative ...