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Sign and Four Acceleration Special Relativity

If $ use $(+,-,-,-)$ sign convention then four position, four velocity become positive but four acceleration becomes negative! $x_{\mu}x^{\mu}=\tau^2c^2,$ $U_{\mu}U^{\mu}=c^2,$ ...
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1answer
62 views

When are leap seconds added in various time zones?

I understand that technically when a leap second is added, it is added after midnight UTC, but I'm unclear how the addition is handled in other timezones. For precise reckoning of course (e.g. ...
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1answer
598 views

Levi Civita Symbol and contravariance vs covariance

I have a question regarding the Levi-Civita symbol and contravariance vs covariance. Some of this was asked in a previous post, but I think I need more clarification. Consider the magnetic field: ...
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155 views

Dirac action and conventions

I have a (possibly) fundamental question, which is driving me crazy. Notation When considering the Dirac action (say reading Peskin's book), one have $\int ...
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1answer
295 views

What's the common consensus on the meaning of “physical change”?

I'm doing a textbook problem that shows a "molecular level" view of some matter, little colored balls, before and after, and there are, among the four questions, two that say: 1) Did a physical change ...
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1answer
78 views

Is this phase right?

Hello at physics lectures we wrote a phase of a sine wave like this: $$\phi = kx - \omega t$$ Is this right? As I recall the phase of a wave should be written like this: $$\phi = \omega t - kx$$ ...
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5k views

Thermodynamics - Sign convention

I use the sign convention: Heat absorbed by the system = $q+$ (positive) Heat evolved by the system = $q-$ (negative) Work done on the system = $w +$ (positive) Work done by the system = $w -$ ...
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1answer
593 views

Why is the partition function called ''partition function''?

The partition function plays a central role in statistical mechanics. But why is it called ''partition function''?
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1answer
470 views

Levi-Civita symbol in Euclidean space

Suppose a component of tensor field is described by $B^k=\varepsilon^{kij} \phi_{ij}$. If we define $B^k$ in an Euclidean space then does the rising or lowering of the indices of the Levi-Civita ...
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72 views

What does the latin letter mean in Bayer name of a star such as “$\Upsilon$ Andromedae $b$”?

What does the latin letter mean in Bayer name of a star such as the "$b$" in "$\Upsilon$ Andromedae $b$"? I tried in vain to look it up in Wikipedia or elsewhere on the Web.
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1answer
550 views

Is 4-volume element a scalar or a pseudoscalar in special relativity?

In general relativity 4-volume element $\mathrm{d}^4 x = \mathrm{d} x^0\mathrm{d} x^1 \mathrm{d} x^2\mathrm{d} x^3$ is clearly a pseudoscalar (or scalar density) of weight 1 since it transforms as ...
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3answers
462 views

Why do we still not have an exact definition for a kilogram?

I read that there is an effort to define a kilogram in terms that can exactly be reproduced in a lab. Why has it taken so long to get this done? It seems this would be fairly important. Edit Today I ...
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1answer
112 views

Conversion of the units BeV (US) and GeV (UN)

What is the difference in the definition of a billion electron volts in United states (US) and United Nations (UN)? When the US people say billion, do they mean $10^{12}$ or $10^9$?
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3answers
232 views

Why is 'the period' marked as letter T?

I'm not a native English speaker and I was wondering, why 'the period' got the letter $T$. I've asked myself the question when I was thinking about stuff related to the frequency. I.e.: $f$ - ...
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1answer
198 views

What is the origin of the naming convention for position functions?

In physics, position as a function of time is generally called d(t) or s(t). Using "d" is pretty intuitive, however I haven't ...
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3answers
658 views

How is Planck's law defined?

Now, I found three different definitions of Planck's law: $$ P_1(\nu,T) = \frac{8 \pi}{c}\frac{h \nu^{3}}{c^2} \frac{1}{e^{h\nu/kT}-1} $$ $$ P_2(\nu,T) = 2\frac{h \nu^{3}}{c^2} ...
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145 views

Is reflection just a particular case of scattering?

I was talking to a colleague about optical scattering from a metallic nanoparticle, and we had a very simple doubt. If you have a particle that's small compared to the illuminated area, you can use ...
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3answers
4k views

Why do we test electric fields with positive charges and not negative ones?

Is there any difference between using a positive versus a negative charge to test an electric field?
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2answers
633 views

Why is there a minus sign in this wave equation derivation?

My book on quantum mechanics suggests a derivation of the wave equation $$\left(\Delta - \frac{1}{c^2} \frac{\partial^2}{\partial t^2} \right) \psi(\bar{r},t) = 0$$ from the photon energy-impulse ...