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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Is the associated Laguerre polynomial $L_1^1(x)$ equal to $-1$ or $2 - x$?

I've been reading a book by Normand M. Laurendeau, Statistical Thermodynamics: Fundamentals and Applications, about hydrogen orbitals and in it is an equation that explains how to calculate the ...
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29 views

Why direction of Ampere's Law follows right hand rule? [duplicate]

Why direction of Ampere's Law follows right hand rule?
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75 views

Group representation acting on operators (QFT)

I have found in many texts the following statement: Let $T_g$ be a representation of a group (of transformations, e.g. rotations, translations, Lorentz transformations ) acting on a given Hilbert ...
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123 views

Significant Figures in Physics

A string has linear density $10.0 \cdot 10^{-3} \, \mbox{kg/m}$ and is kept under a tension of 100 N. A sinusoidal transverse wave, with a wavelength of 0.30 m, is traveling in the positive direction ...
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57 views

Convention of tensor indices

Let $g_{ij}$ be the diagonal Minkowski metric tensor diag$(g) = (1,-1,-1,-1)$, then $g^{ij}$ is defined to be $(g^{-1})^{ij}$, hence $$g_{ik}g^{kj} = g_i^{\ \ j} = \text{diag}(1,1,1,1)=\delta_i^{\ \ ...
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Why are grams usually only expressed as milligrams, grams or kilograms?

I'm a physics (and electronics and astronomy, etc.) enthusiast. As I learn and research topics, I notice that many SI units are often expressed using a variety of prefixes, such as in electronics ...
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1answer
32 views

Why is it possible to choose an arbitrary zero energy level when dealing with frequencies of a wave function?

This is a followup of my previous Why don't the De Broglie dispersion relation contain a constant term? question. Answerers pointed out that only differences in energy matter I can understand ...
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44 views

Defining Reference Directions for Voltage and Power (sign convention)

My professor decided to use the above reference directions when calculating power in circuits. He says that when power > 0, power is consumed. When p < 0, power is generated. This definition is ...
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52 views

The Bernoulli equation: positive and negative sign problem

According to bernoulli equation $$ P_1+1/2 \rho v_1^2+ \gamma h_1= P_2+1/2 \rho v_2^2+ \gamma h_2. $$ Because $$ v_1=0\quad h_1=0 $$ So $$ 0= 1/2 \rho V^2+ \gamma h. $$ It is wrong I know, but ...
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59 views

Sign of the totally anti-symmetric Levi-Civita tensor $\varepsilon^{\mu_1 \ldots}$ when raising indices

I am confused with the sign we get when we want to raise or lower all indices of the totally anti-symmetric tensor of any rank. Take the metric to be mostly plus ($-+\ldots+$). Then is it ...
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54 views

Kinetic energy (KE) in atomic orbital

Within an atomic orbital, electrons must obviously have relative differences between points in space due to potential gradient. But there is kinetic energy as well. If we choose a particular point as ...
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38 views

Are there universally accepted definitions for physics concepts? [closed]

Is there a list of definitions that have been agreed on by physicists so that everyone's understanding of a term is approximately the same? I have been reading some basic books and they usually give ...
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2answers
80 views

Potential energy $= mgh$, what is $h$?

NOTE: when I say potential energy I mean gravitational PE The formula for potential energy is P.E = mgh. What is h referring to? Height, obviously. Consider the example: What is the potential ...
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1answer
54 views

I can make the mechanical energy 0 or in fact anything. Is this normal?

We let the rope fall with $\alpha = \pi/2$ (no initial velocity). if I choose the original of potential energy as the picture indicates there, this means that: $$E_m = E_{pe} + E_c = \frac12mv^2 ...
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97 views

What is the point of the reduced Planck's constant $\hbar$ (h-bar)? - Why don't we just have Planck's Constant $h$?

I know that $ħ$ is $h / 2π$ - and that $h$ is the Planck Constant ($6.62606957 × 10^{-34}$ $Js$). But why don't we just use $h$ - is it that $ħ$ is used in Angular Momentum Calculations?
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684 views

Symbols of derivatives

What is the exact use of the symbols $\partial$, $\delta$ and $\mathrm{d}$ in derivatives in physics? How are they different and when are they used? It would be nice to get that settled once and for ...
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1answer
84 views

Confusion about the Kronecker delta symbol

I am not sure I understand what the short-hand anti-symmetrization means. I.e. I know that $$\delta_{cd}^{[ab]} ~=~ \frac{1}{2}(\delta_{c}^{a}\delta_{d}^{b} - \delta_{c}^{b}\delta_{d}^{a})$$ but how ...
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67 views

Raising and lowering indices of the Levi-Civita epsilon symbol in two dimensions

In two dimensions, what is the relation between $\epsilon^a{}_b$ and $\epsilon_{ab}$ where $a, b$ take the values $\{1,2\}$? By that I mean, how does the sign change in that case? In four dimensions ...
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2answers
143 views

Solar spectrum units

Why is intensity $I$ on a graph of the solar spectrum always showed in units of $[\mathrm{W/m^2/nm}]$ instead of simply $[\mathrm{W/m^2}]$? (The y-axis on the graph.) It is apparently shown as ...
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0answers
48 views

What is “above” and what is “below” the surface of a sphere?

When studying Electromagnetism using D.J. Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics, the boundary conditions for the electric potential across a surface charge density are expressed using the normal ...
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46 views

How are the components of the spin vector defined?

How do we distinguish between the $x$, $y$ and $z$ spin components? More precisely: how do we define the $z$ component? (according to what, it is the $z$?) for measuring the $x$ component how ...
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2answers
91 views

My total potential energy?

The potential energy in a uniformed gravitational field is $mg \cdot \Delta h$. This assumes of course that $g$ doesn't change and only gives the difference in potential energy for $\Delta h$. How ...
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1answer
84 views

Treating the spinors as Grassmann numbers or as c-number objects

In the literature on supersymmetry, the following spinor summation convention is often used (eg. Wess & Bagger's book Supersymmetry and Supergravity) $$ \psi\chi = \psi^{\alpha}\chi_{\alpha} = ...
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254 views

What is the right order of creation operators?

I started to learn some basics of second quantisation and specifically its use in quantum chemistry. Currently I'm reading this book by Péter R. Surján, and here is small excerpt from it. If one ...
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54 views

Scalar products in the spinor helicity formalism

In A. Zee's book Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (2nd edition), Chapter N.2, page 486, the momentum $p$ is written as a $2\times 2$ matrix: $$ p_{\alpha\dot{\alpha}} = p_{\mu} ...
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100 views

Is four-current a vector or a vector density?

According to MTW, $$F^{\alpha\beta}{}_{;\beta} = 4\pi J^\alpha$$ and we can infer that the four-current must be an ordinary vector field because the left side is tensorial. But Wikipedia says that ...
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50 views

What is the zero of potential?

A satellite of mass $m$ is travelling at a speed $v_0$ in a circular orbit of radius $r_0$ around a fixed mass at $O$. Taking the zero of potential at $r=\infty$, show that the total energy of the ...
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44 views

Transposition of spinors

Suppose we have two 4-components Dirac spinors, that is two non commuting objects, $\psi$ and $\chi$. We know that: $ \bar{\psi} \chi= - \chi \bar{\psi} $ $ \bar{\psi} = \psi^{+} \gamma_0 $ $+=T*$ ...
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11 views

Kármán Line Definition from “Aeronautical Flight” (Mass, Area, and Lift)

This question asks something very similar, and the single following answer says, in part, that the balance is achieved when: $$ \frac{2m}{\rho(r) A C_L r} = 1 $$ [...] I note that the mass ...
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What are the proposed realizations in the New SI for the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole?

The metrology world is currently in the middle of overhauling the definitions of the SI units to reflect the recent technological advances that enable us to get much more precise values for the ...
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1answer
61 views

Why do we have different signs before the delta on the Klein-Gordon and the Dirac Green's function equation?

Let's read equation (2.56) on Peskin & Schroeder $$(\partial^2+m^2)D_R(x-y)=-i\delta^4(x-y).$$ Let's look now to equation (3.118) $$(i\gamma^{\nu}\partial_{\nu}-m)S_R(x-y)=i\delta^4(x-y).$$ ...
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144 views

The force of gravity is $F_g=+mg$ or $F_g=-mg$?

I have noticed that in my classical mechanics course and in the textbook I read for it, seem to ignore the gravitational force's position. For example, if we were dealing with a system with a ball of ...
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1answer
50 views

Why is there not a delta here in this formula about temperature changes

I have been taught and have seen this formula many times $$Q=m\cdot c\cdot\Delta T$$ Where $Q$ is the internal energy, $m$ is the mass, $c$ is the specific heat and $\Delta T$ is the temperature. ...
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72 views

Yukawa potential, which is correct?

Sometimes I see Yukawa interaction term written as $$-g\bar{\psi} i \gamma^5 \phi \psi$$ and other times as $$-g \bar{ \psi} \gamma_5 \psi \phi $$ Which is the correct form?
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142 views

The definition of transpose of Lorentz transformation (as a mixed tensor)

In the appendix of the textbook of Group Theory in Physics by Wu-Ki Tung, the transpose of a matrix is defined as the following, Eq.(I.3-1) $${{A^T}_i}^j~=~{A^j}_i.$$ This is extremely confusing for ...
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104 views

How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ and $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$? [closed]

I'm French. I would like to know: How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ : "A scalar B" or "A dot B" ? How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$ : "A vectorial B", "A vector B", "A cross ...
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2answers
97 views

Weinberg QFT Chapter 5: gamma matrices consistency

Currently reading through Weinberg's QFT book (Vol. 1) [readable in parts here]. In his derivation of the causal Dirac field in Ch. 5, he chooses his gamma matrices as (5.4.17) \begin{align} ...
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67 views

Defining creation and annihilation operators

Creation and annihilation operators can be defined in several different ways, some more general than others. We usually choose to denote by $a$ the annihilation operator and by $a^\dagger$ the ...
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1answer
191 views

Why is there $1/2\pi$ in $\int\frac{dp}{2\pi}|p\rangle\langle p|$?

I'm reading Richard MacKenzie's lectures on path integrals and on page 7 he derives the propagator for the free particle as follows: $$ \begin{align} K &= \langle q'|e^{-iHT}|q\rangle \\ &= ...
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2answers
79 views

Why have they chosen this direction for current in the RC circuit? Seems pretty artificial to me

The thing is, they use this direction for current flow to derive the equation $-iR-\frac{q}{c}=0$ and then derive the equation $q(t)=Q_o e^\frac{-t}{RC}$ from the differential equation ...
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2answers
80 views

How to understand whether potential energy increases or decreases?

I am confused by how to deal with the negative sign in the equation $U=-GMm/r^2$ in the following problem: If the distance between two masses is tripled, then the magnitude of the gravitational ...
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1answer
67 views

Why is the focal length of a convex mirror negative?

According to the Cartesian sign convention, the focal length should be positive since the convex mirror forms a virtual image to the right of mirror (positive direction) when light comes from left. ...
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52 views

Standard Usage of the word “per”

Math guy here. What is the usual meaning of "x per y per z?" Is this (ignoring details) (x/y)/z or x/(y/z)? Sorry to be mundane.
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1answer
105 views

Is it okay to Wick rotate to give the negative of the Euclidean metric? Also, could we make the space-like coordinates imaginary instead?

There are 2 parts to my question: 1) Say we choose the metric signature to be (-+++), as in the Wikipedia page. Then the invariant interval in Minkowski space is written: $ds^{2} = -(dt^{2}) + ...
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336 views

Work done against gravity [closed]

The work done against gravity is $mgh$, well at least that's what my textbook says. I have a question: I can apply a force say 50N, so total work done = $mgh + mah$. Where $ma$ = Force. But the truth ...
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55 views

How to define a convex surface in case of refraction?

In an exam at high school level, it was said, "ray goes from optically denser to rarer medium through a convex surface. It forms a real image...." this was a part of the question. Now I thought that ...
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1answer
40 views

When to pull out a negative sign from a variable

I get confused about when there should be a negative sign in certain equations or not. I will give three short examples (that I will make long with explanation) that show my confusion. Example 1: ...
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1answer
300 views

Why isn't the quark charge taken as primitive?

Why are electrons taken implicitly to be the elementary charge? It would save a lot of fractions in particle physics problems.
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1answer
1k views

Derivation of formula of potential energy by a conservative force [duplicate]

the formula for potential energy by a conservative force is given by: $$ F = -\nabla U(r), $$ which in one dimension may be simplified to: $$ F = -\frac{dU}{dx} .$$ My question is how is it ...
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Question about Origins in Galilean transformation

I'm just learning about relativity, and every equation I see for a galilean transformation of frame $S'$ (moving with uniform velocity in the $x$-direction with respect to frame $S$) is $x'=x-vt$, ...