The definition tag is used in situations where the question is either about how some term or concept is define 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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4
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3answers
42 views

What is the exact difference between diffusion, convection and advection?

I have tried to explore the information but still not very clear on the exact difference between diffusion, convection and advection. Can anyone help me out to clear my concept?
2
votes
4answers
177 views

Why is moment of inertia dependent on $r^2$ and not on $r$ ? (physical reason)

Moment of inertia is the mass equivalent in rotational dynamics. I know , by mathematical arguments, moment of inertia of a particle is $$ I = \text{mass} \cdot r^2$$ . But what is the physical ...
0
votes
1answer
77 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: 1. is the state ...
1
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1answer
56 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 ...
0
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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 ...
2
votes
3answers
95 views

What is a photon? [duplicate]

I'm trying to get a definitive and clear answer to the question of what a photon actually is. Textbooks seem to give quite vague explanations, all starting with Einstein's idea that a quanta is a form ...
1
vote
6answers
40 views

Who is said to do Work, me or the body?

If I subject my force to a body and it is displaced then the work is said to be done. What is that work done by? Is it said to be done by me or that body?
3
votes
3answers
79 views

Bounded operator - definition?

As mentioned also in Bounded and Unbounded Operator, an operator $A$ is said to be bounded, if $$\|Af\|\leq k \|f\|,$$ where the constant $k$ does not depend on the choice of $f$ (let us consider a ...
0
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0answers
16 views

Transverse Trace-less quadrupole

In Gravitational radiation, it is convenient to work with "transverse traceless quadrupole tensor". However there are three terms: "quadrupole moments" , "reduced quadrupole moment" and "transverse ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

What is the difference between the diffusion equation and the heat equation?

I know that the diffusion equation is a more general version of the heat equation. But what is the exact difference informally?
13
votes
10answers
14k views

What do people actually mean by “rolling without slipping”?

I have never understood what's the meaning of the sentence "rolling without slipping". Let me explain. I'll give an example. Yesterday my mechanics professor introduced some concepts of rotational ...
0
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0answers
20 views

What's the difference between “spectromicroscopy” and “microspectroscopy”?

Both definitions that I found are rather vague. (Related question: What's the difference between microscopy and spectroscopy?)
0
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0answers
27 views

What's the difference between microscopy and spectroscopy?

Both methods collect particles or electromagnetic waves, and in both methods it's possible to reconstruct a 2D image, which may represent morphology (AFM, LEED for example), electronic structure (STM, ...
2
votes
3answers
69 views

What is basically the difference between static pressure and dynamic pressure?

What is basically the difference between static pressure and dynamic pressure? While studying Bernoulli's theorem, I came before these terms. The law says: When the fluid flows through a small ...
4
votes
1answer
330 views

Hamiltonians, density of state, BECs

When working with Bose-Einstein condensates trapped in potentials, how can one tell what the density of state of a system of identical bosons given the Hamiltonian, $H$? (I have been told that it is ...
1
vote
3answers
56 views

Definition of a normal mode?

What is the formal definition of a normal mode for a string? And how does this relate to the definition from e.g. wiki that seem to be applied to discrete systmes of particles only? Also on a string ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

What is thermodynamic equilibrium?

The state of thermodynamic equilibrium is typically defined referring to the system's behaviour in the future. Can the definition be formulated in terms of measurable quantities?
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2answers
112 views

Extensive variables in thermodynamics

Extensive variables in thermodynamics are those which scale linearly with the system size. It is known that a ratio of two extensive variables is an intensive variable. Now, the number of particles ...
1
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1answer
1k 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 ...
-3
votes
0answers
38 views

What is oscillatory motion by definition?

I have been trying to find the definition of oscillatory motion for a little while now, but I just can't seem to find a solid definition. Can you please help me?
5
votes
4answers
201 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

What are the Fermi and Debye temperature constants?

What are the Fermi temperature and Debye temperature constants? We were discussing these in class and I don't fully understand what these constants are or why we have them. Can anyone explain?
3
votes
3answers
135 views

Line integral definition of work clarification

So I am kind of confused about the role of force when calculating work. Specifically, when defining work using a line integral. There is a paragraph in my calculus book that is really throwing me off ...
2
votes
2answers
35 views

Cosmology: what is a quantity that is called “$h$” in regard to angular size of a galaxy?

I am trying to solve a Cosmology problem, but a certain quantity $h$ appears in it, of which I do not know the definition (I have never seen it mentioned anywhere before). So I thought maybe someone ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Is entalphy a presence of energy or a change in energy?

I see that the words enthalpy and change in enthalpy are often used interchangibly. Do they mean the same thing? Are change in enthalpy and enthalpy different? What is the true definition of ...
7
votes
4answers
532 views

Existence of negative temperatures and the definition of entropy

How negative temperatures can be possible has been treated on StackExchange before (several times in fact), but in light of some recent academic discussion, most of these answers seem to be possibly ...
0
votes
3answers
110 views

Is my conceptual understanding pertaining to heat & temperature correct?

From what I've understood: Heat is the total sum of kinetic energy translational energy possessed by individual atoms in an object. Temperature is the average kinetic energy translational energy ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Definition of “nonlinear” in the context of perturbation of gravity

What exactly is the definition of a nonlinear perturbation when applied to a background spacetime metric? I have seen so called "linear perturbations" which look like $$ds^2 = -(1+2\Phi)dt^2 ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

How can we define the energy stored in a (conservative) force field?

I have come to know from my textbook that energy is stored in the E-field of a capacitor, in the B-field of an inductor and so on. Take the example of an inductor. The derivation bewilders me ...
2
votes
0answers
50 views

What is the difference between the groups $PSU(N)$ and $SU(N)$? [closed]

What is the difference between the groups $PSU(N)$ and $SU(N)$? For example how is $PSU(2,2|4)$ different than $SU(2,2|4)$?
4
votes
2answers
68 views

Definition of Duality (opposed to Symmetry)

I'm learning basic string theory right now and we came across T-duality which was presented as a symmetry of the formula for the mass of a string in the context of compactification. There was a remark ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

Mathematical misunderstanding of Work-Potential Energy Theorem?

This is a relatively basic question, but I don't understand why it is the case. This is from my dynamics book and is mainly a mathematical misunderstanding. $$ \ dU = F\cos\theta ds $$ Which means ...
6
votes
3answers
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

What is an “equation of motion” as used in context of geodesic equation?

I am studying general relativity and using the book Gravity by James Hartle. On page 170, he provides the following table: I don't understand what he means by "equation of motion" nor do I ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Differences between wavefunction, probability and probability density?

I am trying to understand the differences between wavefunction, probability and probability density. There are different definitions on the internet. For example: ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

What is a tensor?

I have a pretty good knowledge of physics but couldn't understand what a tensor is. I just couldn't understand it, and the wiki page is very hard to understand as well. Can someone refer me to a good ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

What is a dynamical variable

I see the phrase 'dynamical variable' in several of my texts and they don't really define it. A google search doesn't yield much either. I have gathered that a dynamical variable can be represented ...
4
votes
3answers
730 views

Definition of a year

Is there an acceptable definition of a year (in number of days)? Google Calculator: https://www.google.com/search?q=seconds+in+1+year returns 3.15569e7 seconds and then ...
7
votes
4answers
764 views

Is Minkowski space usually a vector space or an affine space?

When I visited Wikipedia's page on Minkowski space, it seemed to offer two definitions. The first defined Minkowski space a vector space. Then, in a later section, it says The section above ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Is 'grapheme' a substance or a typo?

While reading Ref. 1 I came across the sentence Below we focus on the physics of ideal (single layer) grapheme. I did google search 'grapheme' but the results tended towards a completely ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Second Rank Tensors [duplicate]

I'm a little confused, for the twentieth time, on what tensors are. I thought they were a generalization of matrices-but then they have special transformation rules. I'm looking for a concise ...
3
votes
4answers
19k views

What is the difference between stress and pressure?

What is the difference between stress and pressure? Are there any intuitive examples that explain the difference between the two? How about an example of when pressure and stress are not equal?
7
votes
5answers
444 views

Hilbert space vs. Projective Hilbert space

Hilbert space and rays: In a very general sense, we say that quantum states of a quantum mechanical system correspond to rays in the Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, such that for any $c∈ℂ$ the state ...
7
votes
8answers
611 views

Energy and work

I don't quite understand the concept of energy and work. We can define energy as the ability to do work. An object moving at constant speed has kinetic energy. Does the object have the ability to do ...
8
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
625 views

What is charge actually? How to define it? [closed]

Is charge of something for (e.g.) an electron related to electromagnetic space if it exists due to energy, due to which it may have mass? I don't know about quantum mechanics or advanced particle ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Definition of Entropy for reversible and irreversible process

$\int \dfrac{\delta Q}{T}$ can't be used to calculate entropy of an irreversible process. If you happen to know heat supplied and temperature at which it is supplied for just an instant. Can you then ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Difference between angular frequency and angular velocity?

What is the difference between angular frequency and angular velocity? I think one is used for SHM and the other for circular motion? Also can both be used for centreptal accelartion? I think angular ...