Tagged Questions

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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
2answers
286 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
184 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
547 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
44 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.
5
votes
3answers
127 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
119 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
415 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
198 views

Is the spin 1/2 rotation matrix taken to be counterclockwise?

The spin 1/2 rotation matrix around the $z$-axis I worked out to be $$ e^{i\theta S_z}=\begin{pmatrix} \exp\frac{i\theta}{2}&0\\ 0&\exp\frac{-i\theta}{2}\\ \end{pmatrix} $$ Is this taken to ...
2
votes
1answer
465 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
646 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
106 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
208 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
1k 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
59 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
159 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
93 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?
1
vote
2answers
117 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
279 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
2k 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
403 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
170 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
318 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
222 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
121 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
2k 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
355 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
200 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
250 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
15k 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
4k 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
957 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
878 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
56 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
368 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
314 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
132 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
3k 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
730 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
123 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
206 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
290 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
5k 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?
3
votes
2answers
208 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
139 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?
0
votes
1answer
193 views

Sign and Four Acceleration Special Relativity

If $ use $(+,-,-,-)$ sign convention then four position, four velocity become positive but four acceleration becomes negative! $x_{\mu}x^{\mu}=\tau^2c^2,$ $U_{\mu}U^{\mu}=c^2,$ ...
1
vote
1answer
64 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. ...
2
votes
1answer
848 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: ...
4
votes
0answers
235 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
430 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
80 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: $$\phi = \omega t - kx$$ ...