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

1
vote
1answer
57 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) $$(i\gamma^{\nu}\partial_{\nu}-m)S_R(x-y)=i\delta^4(x-y).$$ ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

When an object moves downward, is its height negative?

The question is: A ball is thrown directly downward with an initial speed of 8.00m/s from a height of 30.0m. After what time interval does it strike the ground. So I went through the problem ...
3
votes
0answers
29 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
10k 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 = $w -$ ...
0
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
207 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
133 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
86 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
46 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
67 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?
3
votes
2answers
106 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
97 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
64 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
80 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? ...
7
votes
1answer
187 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 \\ &= ...
1
vote
1answer
48 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
268 views

When does acceleration due to gravity equal positive/negative? [closed]

For example a projectile is launched at an angle. What would $a$ in $y=vt +.5at^2$ be? Let's say I choose up to be positive. How do you not confuse yourself whether to use positive or negative $a$?
0
votes
2answers
59 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
12k views

Why is the charge naming convention wrong?

I recently came to know about the Conventional Current vs. Electron Flow issue. Doing some search I found that the reason for this is that Benjamin Franklin made a mistake when naming positive and ...
2
votes
5answers
5k 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?
1
vote
1answer
49 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
50 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.
5
votes
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) ...
2
votes
1answer
87 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}) + ...
4
votes
2answers
126 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} ...
1
vote
2answers
135 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
48 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
39 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: ...
2
votes
1answer
295 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.
1
vote
1answer
518 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
votes
0answers
57 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 $x'=x-vt$, ...
3
votes
0answers
122 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) ...
0
votes
2answers
28 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
336 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
92 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
92 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?
3
votes
1answer
51 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): ...
2
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
66 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 = - ...
2
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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
votes
2answers
82 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 ...
8
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
47 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
41 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
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 = ...
3
votes
0answers
91 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
46 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
114 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
95 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 ...