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 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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33 views

Work done against gravity [on hold]

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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38 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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33 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
286 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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107 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 ...
2
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43 views

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 $x'=x-vt$, ...
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20 views

Direction of current in concentric cylinders

Example 7.2 in David Griffiths E & M book (3rd edition) has a side view of 2 concentric cylinders, with smaller radius $a$ and larger radius $b$. The region in between $a$ and $b$ has ...
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105 views

Convention in physics for [],{} and operators (QM)

I got a little mixed up with the convention in physics. Usually a hat means an operator. For a given electron-ion Hamiltonian $\hat{H}_{e-n}$, what are the difference between these: 1) ...
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47 views

Kinematic sign convention

For example, if I drop a ball from a $50$ meters building, then I will consider the ground is $0$ meter downward is positive ( which makes gravity positive, downward velocity positive, etc) so ...
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48 views

Spherical coordinate versor problem [migrated]

I have to calculate $$ i_\rho \times i_\phi $$ it should be $$ i_\theta $$ but in my notes I have $$ - i _\theta $$ Which one is correct? How can I do this kind of operations without mistakes?
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77 views

Is there a difference in handwritten nabla $\vec{\nabla}$ with an overset arrow and typeset nabla $\nabla$?

According to some physicist at KIT it is usual to write the following when using pen and paper: whereas in typeset texts you write $\nabla$. Is that true? Are there sources for this convention?
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44 views

Why is electric potential positive?

If there is a positive charge $q$ at the origin of a coordinate system, the electric potential $\phi$ at a distance $r$ from $q$ is (by definition, if we take the point of zero potential at infinity): ...
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1answer
36 views

Potential energy of a dipole in a uniform electric field convention?

When finding the potential energy of a dipole in a uniform electric field, I was told by my lecturer that the convention is that the potential energy is 0 when the dipole moment and electric field ...
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56 views

Sign error in calculating the electric field of point charge

I have to determine the electric field of a point charge, I get a true result except for a sign. Here is my passages. $$\nabla \cdot e = \frac{\rho}{\epsilon}$$ $$e = - \nabla u$$ $$\nabla^2 u = - ...
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23 views

Optics - Derivation of Linear Magnification of Lens without Sign Convention [duplicate]

In some posts in this forum I've read that sign convention in optics is useful for making formula memorizing easier, and that we have to use sign convention again while applying the formulae to ...
2
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2answers
75 views

Explanation for $M{\ddot{r}}=-\nabla \phi$

Could someone please explain this equation $$M\bf {\ddot{r}}=-\nabla \phi$$ Where $\bf r$ is a position vector and $\phi$ is the potential function. Could someone brief explain the potential function ...
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44 views

Defining axes for conservation of energy [closed]

Problem: A bungee-cord jumper is on a bridge that is $y_1$ above water level $y_2$. The bungee cord obeys Hooke's law with spring constant $k$ and has a relaxed length $L$ The jumper stops before ...
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1answer
102 views

Notation for Translation Group Generators

The generators of the translation group $T(4)$ are given below: $P_0 \equiv -i \begin{pmatrix} 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 ...
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1answer
46 views

Gauge pressure clarification

Is gauge pressure always zero-referenced against ambient air pressure? Or is it referenced against the sum of all pressures acting on a fluid, which usually just happens to be ambient air pressure? ...
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26 views

Sign of Feynman rules with derivative couplings

Feynman rules for derivative couplings always make me confused. For example, the derivative in $gV^\mu\phi^+\partial_\mu\phi^-$ will give you $\pm ip_{-\mu}$, where $\pm$ depends on whether the ...
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43 views

Different factors of $4\pi$ and $\epsilon_0$ in Poisson equation [duplicate]

Some authors claim the Poisson equation is $$\nabla^2 \psi = -\dfrac{\rho}{\epsilon\epsilon_0}$$ (e.g. Wikipedia) whereas other ones (e.g. Andelmann) claim it is $$\nabla^2 \psi = ...
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87 views

What decides the signs and coefficients of terms in superfield?

I'm working on a problem in 3d field theory and I'm confused about how to write the superfields. Specifically, I'm not sure if the signs and coefficients of terms are purely a matter of convention or ...
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36 views

Sign convention with the $AdS$ metric

One would say that $AdS_n$ satisfies the equations for the scalar curvature (R) and Ricci tensor ($R_{\mu \nu}$), $R = - \frac{n(n-1)}{L^2}$ and $R_{ab} = - \frac{n-1}{L^2}g_{ab}$. But do the signs ...
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53 views

Sign of the wave function in orbital representation?

I have some fog in my head and a rather simple question for you: When the sign of the wave function is representated on orbitals, what is this sign? I mean is it the sign of the real part of the ...
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1answer
47 views

Choosing sign for KVL (mutual inductance)

If I am writing KVL for one loop of the circuit which contains a coil coupled with another coil from another loop, the sign is chosen considering whether both currents enter or leave the stars AND if ...
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2answers
125 views

Gravitational potential energy negative?

Can the gravitational potential energy be negative? $PE=mgh$, we kind of have the same fig as this (minus the car)! and we choose the arbitrary point to be the G of the pendulum (point of ...
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1answer
74 views

Omega-frequency or pulsation?

I'm reading a book about optics in English. However, I speak a different language and have a problem with distinction. What does $\omega$ mean? $\omega=1/T$ or $\omega=2\pi/T$ What is the ...
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1answer
64 views

Help with Special Relativity velocity addition formula

While looking for question about speed of light I saw this Physics.SE question where I found this: $$v_\text{rel} = \frac{v_1 - v_2}{1 - \frac{v_1v_2}{c^2}}.\tag1$$ But in another answer there was ...
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1answer
93 views

Square of a tensor

I think, $$\sigma_{ij}\sigma^{ij} = \sigma^2.$$ However, on the Wikipedia page on Raychaudhuri equation, It was mentioned: $$\sigma^2=\frac{1}{2}\sigma^{ij}\sigma_{ij}$$ I am confused, but I think ...
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1answer
51 views

What are phase conventions in angular momentum and rotation calculations?

I work with complicated angular momentum calculations related to atomic physics; nevertheless, I never need to use anything related to a phase convention (apparently because it's taken care of in a ...
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73 views

Are there reasons for the discrepancies in absolute temp units - Kelvin vs. kelvins vs. degrees Kelvin?

Before 1968, the units for absolute temperature were described as "degrees Kelvin" or "degrees absolute." After that, the SI system got rid of the idea of "degree" for absolute temperature, so the ...
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88 views

Metric signature conventions: minus sign for $x^a$ or $x_a$?

Say I use the metric signature $(-+++)$. Then $\partial_a=(\partial_0,\partial_i)=(-\partial^0,\partial^i)$, but $\partial^a=(\partial^0,\partial^i)=(-\partial_0,\partial_i)$. The same goes for $p^a$ ...
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75 views

Electric potential energy and signs

I know that electric potential is negative near a negative charge and positive near a positive charge. But does this mean a small positive 'test' charge has a negative electric potential energy near a ...
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1answer
50 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?
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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.
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64 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 ...
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73 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".
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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 ...
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110 views

Getting the Lagrangian from the action in curved spacetime

Suppose I have this action: $$ S = \int \mathrm d^4 x\sqrt{-g}\times \text{something}$$ where $g$ is the determinant of the metric. Should I take the Lagrangian to be: $$ \mathcal L = \sqrt{-g} ...
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4answers
364 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, ...
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3answers
83 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 ...
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259 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
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2answers
147 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 ...
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405 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 ...
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42 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.
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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 ...
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1answer
107 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
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410 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 ...
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1answer
371 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 ...