The definition tag is used in situations where the question is either about how some term or concept is defined or where the validity of an answer depends on a subtle definition of some term or concept used in the question.

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0answers
33 views

What is difference between variations of the work and virtual work?

I really want to know whether or not both equations are the same mathematically. I think that they are the same, I just want to be sure. (Reference: this website.)
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1answer
221 views

What are pure solids? Can we call every pure solid as a crystal?

How many types of pure solids do we have? are we still finding new pure solids or Are these pure solids limit in number?
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1answer
121 views

What is the difference between thermodynamic and empirical temperature?

When I've studied Thermodynamics I did so in Callen's book and there the author talks about temperature as a single thing, which mathematically is simply defined as: $$T = \dfrac{\partial U}{\partial ...
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11answers
8k views

What is entropy really?

On this site, change in entropy is defined as the amount of energy dispersed divided by the absolute temperature. But I want to know: What is the definition of entropy? Here, entropy is defined as ...
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3answers
91 views

Defining center of mass in the presence of curvature [on hold]

The definition of center of mass in most text books will look something like $\frac{\sum m_k r_k}{\sum m_k}$ or in the continuous case, $\frac{1}{\int \rho(r) dr}\int \rho(r) r dr$. However, this ...
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1answer
48 views

When is a flow a shear flow?

Let us say I have a velocity profile of a flow: $$\vec u= \begin{pmatrix} v_x \\ v_y \\ v_z \end{pmatrix}$$ Under what circumstances would this be called a shear flow? And can we say anything for an ...
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2answers
73 views

SI Base Unit definition of mass - obsolete?

According to the formal definition of the SI Base unit of mass, the kilogram, it is stated that "The kilogram is the unit of mass; it is equal to the mass of the international prototype of the ...
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3answers
1k 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
233 views

Degrees of freedom in double Atwood machine?

Why the degree of freedom in double Atwood machine (one block on one side and a pulley with one block in its each side on other side) is 2 and not 1? According to the formula $s=3*n-m$; where $n=$...
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2answers
1k views

Can we define tension in a string as 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
66 views

Definition of a meson? [closed]

I am looking for a definition of a meson that does not include the quark model. After some research I have come across this definition: A meson is a particle that is (1) believed to be ...
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0answers
27 views

Symmetries in quantum systems - Wigner theorem and commutation with Hamiltonian

I was reading about symmetries in quantum systems and found (at least) two different definitions. According to Wigner's theorem symmetry transformation (of a quantum system) is a bijective map between ...
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0answers
20 views

LHCb Peaking Background

I was reading a paper on the estimation of the branching fraction of B+ to K pi pi gamma. I was wondering whether you could clarify the meaning of peaking background. Thanks!
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1answer
84 views

Why is mass times position not used in physics? [closed]

The momentum $\vec{p}=m \vec{v}$ plays a very prominent role in physics. Why is the same not true for the quantity $\vec{q}=m \vec{r}$? E.g. one can write angular momentum as $\vec{L} = \vec{r} \...
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5answers
573 views

Definition of entropy in thermodynamics

In most textbooks, the definition of entropy in reversible processes on a system $S$ is given simply as $$d S=\delta Q/T.$$ It seems to me this definition is insufficient since it does not specify ...
4
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3answers
580 views

Is a theory the same as a hypothesis? [duplicate]

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it.” Excerpt from Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, iBooks. So does that ...
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1answer
67 views

Why don't we call string, inflation theories just hypotheses?

These theories predict multiverse and multiverse is not falsifiable So Is it more accurate to call them just hypotheses?
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0answers
69 views

What's the difference between hypothesis, theory and law? [closed]

What's the difference between hypothesis, theory and law? I think I'm confused now because I exactly learned the misconception one as explained below in high school. According to this university's ...
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3answers
165 views

Does the work done by a person equal the work done on the object in this situation?

If you applied a constant force over a floor that has friction on an object, would the work done by the person equal to the work done on the object? Assume that the floor is flat and that the object ...
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1answer
110 views

What does degrees of freedom mean in the context of vibrations?

If you have an $N$ degrees of freedom system what does this mean? What is the difference between a 1 and a 2 degrees of freedom system?
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2answers
4k views

What does the phrase “limb of the earth” or “atmospheric limb” mean?

What does the term limb of the earth (see this question, for example) or atmospheric limb mean? The phrase strikes me as very odd, since earth is nearly spherical. Do other planets with atmospheres ...
1
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1answer
82 views

What is capacitance, in general?

In circuit analysis software capacitance can be measured between any two nodes of a circuit or of a multiterminal device. In practical terms we take $C_{ij}$, the capacitance between $i$ and $j$ as ...
2
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1answer
235 views

What is many-body bound state?

Bound state by definition is a state when particles are bounded together, so then "many-body bound state" would be bound state for a system of many bodies. Then I have several puzzles: is the state ...
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0answers
27 views

Is there a standard in the manner in which significant figures are used?

I have always understood significant figures to be those figures which we know with certainty. Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_figures) provides a related but less rigid ...
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0answers
63 views

Definition of heat that does not produce a cyclic argument?

If we are going to define (empirical) temperature from the zeroth law, we need a definition of heat that does not depend on the concept of temperature, else this would produce a cyclic argument. ...
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2answers
53 views

Difference between space of reference and system of coordinates

In the book "The meaning of the relativity" by A. Einstein, it is referring to two different concepts: space of reference and system of coordinates. What it is the difference? It says: "we ...
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0answers
38 views

Definition for a trajectory in phase-space

When we say "a trajectory in phase space", when the parameter is time, do we mean the set of points in phase-space corresponding to a continuous segment in time? Does it have to be continuous? Does it ...
2
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2answers
90 views

Question about inertial mass and gravitational mass

I know that inertial mass $m_i$ is the quantity that appears in Newton's second law: $F=m_ia$ and that gravitational mass $m_{g_1}$ is the quantity that appears in Newton's gravitational law: $F_g=Gm_{...
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3answers
6k views

What is displacement? Position relative to a reference point or change of position

What is the "official" or most useful definition of displacement in the context of kinematics? There are two common ones: Displacement is the length and direction of a line from a fixed reference ...
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1answer
62 views

What is the difference between a tensor, vector, and a matrix? [duplicate]

I'm currently going through notes on a physics course and I'm having trouble understanding the difference between a tensor, a vector, and a matrix. I know that a vector is a kind of tensor and that a ...
0
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0answers
30 views

What does 'fully excited' actually mean?

In statistical mechanics you often hear the phrases such as 'when the degrees of freedom are fully excited then....'. An example would be the validity of the equipartition theorem. But what is the ...
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3answers
85 views

Is this definition of work right?

My thermodynamics textbook defines work as follows. Work is motion against an opposing force. But this definition of work doesn't imply that work is done in accelerating a body does it? So is ...
40
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1answer
5k views

Differentiating Propagator, Greens function, Correlation function, etc

For the following quantities respectively, could someone write down the common definitions, their meaning, the field of study in which one would typically find these under their actual name, and most ...
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3answers
2k views

Is there any truth to interpreting definition of a second as corresponding to oscillations?

As far as I understand the definition of a second, the Cs-133 atom has two hyperfine ground states (which I don't really understand what they are but it's not really important), with a specific energy ...
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2answers
44 views

Gravitation and gravity

Are gravity and gravitation the same thing? Actually I have 2 teachers at my school. One of the said that gravitation is the force of attraction between any two bodies in the universe due to their ...
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2answers
87 views

How do we define what is “External” force or “Internal” force in the context of momentum conservation?

I know that without presence of any "External" force momentum is always conserved. But how do we distinguish between "External" force and "Internal" force where all are "Force"?
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2answers
3k views

Why is the mechanical advantage of a wedge = length of slope/ width?

Mechanical advantage is defined as Force Output/Force Input For a symmetrical wedge with the length of the slopes being equal and the width being the distance between the end points, the articles ...
0
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1answer
41 views

CFT conformal weight vs. scaling dimension

I was wondering if anybody could clarify what the difference between the conformal scaling dimension $\Delta$ and the conformal weight $h$ is? Is it correctly understood that $\Delta$ is related to ...
3
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1answer
75 views

Will centre of gravity coincide with centre of mass if density of object is non uniform?

I read that for bodies of very large dimensions, but having non-uniform density, the centre of gravity does not coincide with centre of mass. I can understand that with large dimensions the strength ...
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2answers
4k views

What Exactly is a Shock Wave?

The Wikipedia defintion of a shock wave pretty much sums up all I've found online about what a shock wave is: A shock wave is a type of propagating disturbance. Like an ordinary wave, it carries ...
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1answer
62 views

Conditions for free fall

What are the conditions at which free fall occurs? If a body is falling freely under the effect of gravity only without external resistance, the motion is called free fall. This definition gives me ...
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1answer
43 views

What is the exact mathematical definition of oscillation/vibration?

My question is basically is what criteria need to be fulfilled to decide wether a motion is osciliiation/vibration or not. I found two definitions, def1: "moving around an equilibrum", def2: "...
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2answers
5k views

Exactly how much lift is needed to overcome the weight of an average person?

I am designing a "glider" of sorts, and I have some basic questions about the physics involved to get me started. How much lift is required to overcome the weight of an average person, say 150 pounds? ...
3
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1answer
53 views

Difference between Fermi and Riemann normal coordinates

What is the difference between Fermi normal coordinates and Riemann normal coordinates? Which one of them is related to the vanishing of the Christoffel symbols?
0
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1answer
53 views

Angular momentum definition? [closed]

The definition of linear momentum is this: Momentum is a vector quantity defined as the product of an object's mass, $m$, and its velocity, $\vec v$. So According to that definition,The definition ...
0
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1answer
55 views

What is the difference between the potential difference and potential energy of an electron?

What is the difference between the potential difference and potential energy of an electron? Let's take an example the potential difference (PD) across a resistor. if there's a current flowing, the ...
3
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1answer
317 views

What is the meaning of “moment”?

What is the meaning of moment? I'm little confused about the word as there are some terms like moment of momentum, moment of mass, moment of force, etc. I want to know what exactly is meant by the ...
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0answers
36 views

What is the general definition of a quench?

I've seen the term "quench" used in many different contexts. It's easy to understand the meaning when the context has a simple physical analogue, such as lowering the temperature of a system to cause ...
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1answer
32 views

Earth, Sun and beginner's reference frames

In the post-Newton era, where "absolute space" is not absolute, how is the reference frame in which "the Earth moves round the Sun" accurately defined?
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2answers
58 views

How can you tell if the work done by a force is negative?

This is kind of confusing to me. I'm guessing that it's specific to the problem. Is the work done by friction always negative? Is the work done by gravity always negative? Spring as well? It seems ...