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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Meaning the symbol, $W$ and $dW$

What's the difference between $W$ and $dW$? They are both work done and have similar formulae (same dimension). But I don't know the difference between them. $dW$ here ISN'T power.
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77 views

Why did scientists need to invent light years?

Why did scientists need to invent light years? What's so important about having a light year? I have been learning that a light year is $9.461 \times 10^{15} \, \mathrm{m}$. My question is, why are ...
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15 views

Work done against a physical field: positive or negative?

My understanding of signing conventions contextual to physical fields: With frame of reference as object: Work done by an object against a physical field is positive. Work done by a physical field ...
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107 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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2answers
87 views

How to accurately mark with arrows an electric circuit

As I understood, we choose to mark the current with arrows going from the plus pole to the minus pole (even though we know that in reality it is the contrary). As I'm looking at electric circuits, I ...
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1answer
20 views

Why the gravitation potential in a uniform field has negative values?

As we know the gravitational potential is the work done per unit mass in taking a point mass from zero potential (at infinity distance) to the point in a gravitational field. But why the work is ...
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136 views

My physics teacher gave us this equation $v= -3 +3t$

She asked us if the body was accelerating or slowing down, and I immediately said that it was accelerating (because the $a=3>0$). Then she said that I was wrong because the direction of the ...
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819 views

Sign convention for mirror and lens formulas

I have just started learning optics at school and my teacher derived the lens and mirror formulas. While doing so, she applied the sign convention for $u$, $v$ and $f$ and arrived at the final ...
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1answer
55 views

Is tension in a string is the reactive force produced in a string being pulled at both ends?

In my textbook, the definition of tension was given that Tension is the reactive force which exists when string is being stretched at its both end. After it there was a case given that to calculate ...
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1answer
28 views

Conventional definition of ideal fluid

According to Landau&Lifshitz, an ideal fluid is one with zero viscosity and a negligible thermal conductivity. This is also the FR.wikipedia version: En mécanique des fluides, un fluide est ...
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36 views

Open circuit voltage

Why is the open circuit voltage Vab measured as Vb-Va and not Va-Vb? I have seen this in many places. Why the arrow mark of voltage is always from negative to positive?
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2answers
62 views

What is the meaning of the negative sign in $W = -\Delta U$?

What is the meaning of the negative sign in $W = -\Delta U$ ? As far as I understand, $W = -\Delta U = -(U_f - U_i) = U_i - U_f$. While $U_i$ is the initial potential energy (before applying the ...
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515 views

How to indicate that a unit is dimensionless [duplicate]

For my dissertation I am preparing a list of symbols used in the text, which basically is a table that consists of the symbol, a short explanation and the dimension it has as indicated below: ...
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42 views

The Covariant Spinor Derivative in the Locally Supersymmetric Generalisation of the Polyakov Action and Potential Mistakes in the Literature

Questions) I recently came upon the thesis The Landscape of Free Fermionic Gauge Models by D. G. Moore and G.B. Cleaver. On pages 20 and 21 they explain that the locally supersymmetric action, ...
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0answers
15 views

Problem with the sign of the Thevenin resistance in a circuit

I have the following issue: when I want to find $R_{Th}$ for a circuit with dependent sources, I excite the circuit with a voltage Vo, and then proceed to find the resulting current $I_0$. Finally, ...
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2answers
90 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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1answer
314 views

What proved Conventional sense wrong?

What fact proved for the first time that the conventional sense of current was wrong? And when it did happen? As a corollary of this question, why do we say that electrons have negative charge? Is it ...
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0answers
52 views

why do we use cosine as the expression of vector dot product? [migrated]

When we do vector products, we use two different methods. One is the vector dot product, another is vector cross product. The equation of the vector dot product is $$\textbf A \cdot \textbf B ...
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1answer
243 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 ...
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1answer
84 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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1answer
26 views

Inverse Fourier Transfrom of a wavefunction

I was reading about how a Fourier transform yields the wave-function expressed in terms of the momenta which constitute it, i.e. the wave-function in momentum space. I'm not so good at calculus yet ...
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3answers
83 views

Newton's first law: unclear multiple choice question

Everyone knows that a body with no external forces acting on it remains at rest or moves with a constant velocity. But how would you answer the following multiple choice question: Question: A body ...
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1answer
80 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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2answers
50 views

Can anyone kindly help me with these sign conventions?

Since I have some confusions with the sign conventions , I have finally drawn up the following conclusions . Plz check if the following are correct .... ( I have taken all motions directed upwards as ...
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1answer
51 views

Electric flux of a closed surface, $\Psi = Q $ or $\Phi =\int\vec{E}\cdot d\vec{A}$

I have problem with the equation of electric flux. I use one book of fundamental physics and another book of electromagnetic engineering; the two of them give different equations for electric flux. ...
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3answers
54 views

Why are $2\pi$ factors included in the definition of the reciprocal lattice?

I would like to know where the $2\pi$ factors are coming from in the formula for reciprocal vectors in reciprocal lattices. For example, in a simple cubic lattice the primitive vectors are given by ...
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333 views

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
46 views

Euler angle rotation - active/passive

I have a very simple problem, that I cannot wrap my head around and is hurting my brain. I have a very simple example of the problem, please consider the the figure below: In the first picture, you ...
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1answer
139 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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32 views

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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46 views
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707 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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3answers
105 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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261 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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2answers
88 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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1answer
129 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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3k views

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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60 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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1answer
33 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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1answer
66 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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68 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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2answers
2k 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) ...
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39 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
102 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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2answers
98 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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725 views

“Natural units” of mass

Gravitational attraction is given by $\frac{GMm}{r^2}$ while attraction due to electric charge is given by $\frac{q_1 q_2}{r^2}$. Why does gravity need a constant while electric charge doesn't? ...
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109 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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720 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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4answers
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Why is potential energy negative when orbiting in a gravitational field?

I had to do a problem, and part of it was to find the mechanical energy of satellite orbiting around mars, and I had all of the information I needed. I thought the total mechanical energy would be the ...