Use this for questions relating to the proper use of physics terminology or nomenclature.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

0
votes
1answer
12 views

Does “converge” mean intersecting and producing image when we are taking about convex lenses?

After reading the chapter on convex lens, I saw several places where "converge" is used. In the very beginning of the chapter, my book says "converging lenses bring light together". So I thought ...
0
votes
3answers
42 views

Wavelength vs Wavenumber etiquette

When am I supposed to use the terminology of EM "wavenumber", instead of "wavelength" (or frequency)? The concepts of wavelength and frequency are no problem for me, but wavenumber (number of ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

What is high energy physics?

Is high energy physics the same as particle physics? Does research in high-energy physics include things like quantum gravity, string theory and quantum field theory? Is unifying the four ...
1
vote
2answers
31 views

Why do people say “finite temperature” instead of “nonzero/positive temperature”? [duplicate]

This question is about terminology. The term "finite temperature" is often used to mean positive temperature, or equivalently finite inverse temperature $\beta = 1/T$. It seems to me that better ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

What is the $D_{x^2-y^2}$ symmetry/channel/instabilitied referred to with regards to super-conductivity?

I have been reading various articles on Renormalization group where they compute the flow of some parameter which becomes increasingly attractive and then say that parameter is responsible for Cooper ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Is harmonic oscillator continuous variable system?

In the literature I have seen that the notions "our system is continuous variable system", "Hilbert space of our system is infinite" were used as if they were equivalent. For example for harmonic ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

What are the differences between logistic map, poincaré map, attractor, phase portrait, bifurcation diagram? [closed]

What are the differences between Logistic map, Poincaré map, Attractor, Phase portrait, Bifurcation diagram Currently I became interested in chaos theory and non-linear dynamics. While ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Terminology: Gauge stress?

When a material is loaded with a force, the stress at some location in the material is defined as the applied force per unit of cross-sectional area. If I have a material submerged in pressurized ...
0
votes
3answers
54 views

How to tell if area is displacement or distance?

why is it not called "velocity v. time"? how do you know? If the y-value can be either positive or negative, the direction is then indicated. i think this is why it should be called velocity but ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

What is crossover?

It is known that EW and QCD phase transitions in SM are so-called "crossovers". What is the difference between crossover and phase transition of the second kind?
1
vote
1answer
46 views

What is the defintion of a current-current diagram?

Right now I am facing some Feynman diagram calculations and in the instructions I am reading the phrase current-current diagram appears quite often so I wanted to know: What is the definition of a ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

What is this normalization principle called in quantum mechanics?

I searched all over the web about this: $$\left|\Psi\right> = ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Is escape velocity really a velocity?

The term escape velocity is quite common to us. But we know velocity is a dimension dependent on the direction. But the escape velocity has same value irrespective of from where it is thrown from the ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Electromagnetic transfer function

In a paper on the superlens, I came across the term of "transfer function". I understand that the transfer function relates the output to a given input, but I've been unable to find a formula for the ...
5
votes
1answer
54 views

What is meant by a preliminary run at the LHC?

I am a bit confused over the meaning of "Preliminary run" when referring to the LHC experiments CMS and ATLAS. For example in this summary, Figure 2 refers to both the CMS $19.7\ \mathrm{fb^{-1}}$ ...
0
votes
7answers
113 views

What is inertia of a body?

The definition of inertia is "Inertia is the resistance offered by the body whenever its state of motion is changed." What is inertia of a body? Is inertia actually a force exerted by the body? If ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics?

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics? I have read the wikipedia article and David Tong's lectures notes, but I didn't understand how an effective potential simplifies a situation or ...
4
votes
2answers
203 views

Difference between locality and causality?

I ask this question as the two seem to be very closely related and are sometimes taken to be one and the same (in the notion of microcausality in QFT), which has left me confused as to what meaning of ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

What's the difference between frequency, spectral and cepstral domains?

I have a hard time teasing apart the conceptual difference between these three domains, and constantly mix them up in my head. I've been reading up on it, but I can't wrap my head around it. a ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

Quadrature in quantum optics

I am reading a chapter about Squeezed state, and came across this word, quadrature, which I have never seen before in the book. Here is the quote from that chapter. " A general class of ...
1
vote
2answers
87 views

What does it mean by saying the generators of translations transform as vectors under the Lorentz Group?

The commutator of generators of Lorentz transformation and translation is as follow: $$[M^{\mu\nu},P^\sigma]=i(P^\mu\eta^{\nu\sigma}-P^\nu\eta^{\mu\sigma} ).$$ Then from this we usually say that the ...
-1
votes
0answers
52 views

What's the difference between wave equation in PDE form and wave equation in normal form? [migrated]

What's the difference between "wave equation in partial derivative form" and "wave equation in y(x,t) form" ? Are they both same? And why "wave equation in in y(x,t) form" is the solution of "wave ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Is UV catastrophe same as IR catastrophe?

I am currently studying quantum physics from Serwey-jewet. Where in the topic of Planck's law, infrared catastrophe is alternatively used for UV catastrophe while explaining how Plancks constant ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Do gauge bosons really transform according to the adjoint representation of the gauge group?

Its commonly said that gauge bosons transform according to the adjoint representation of the corresponding gauge group. For example, for $SU(2)$ the gauge bosons live in the adjoint $3$ dimensional ...
1
vote
0answers
60 views

How is the formula for the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor derived?

I have seen in I.E. Irodov that if the permittivity is given as $\epsilon$ then we can find the capacitance as $$C = \frac{\epsilon A}{d}$$ but I wonder whether it is dimensionally correct or not and ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What operation does a beam splitter apply?

What is the unitary matrix equivalent to the operation of a beam splitter? I'm asking because I've seen different matrices used and was wondering if the term is just ambiguous or if there's an agreed ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory

What is the difference between dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory? I read that in QFT there is no possibility to keep the two things distinct because of a problem with the separability of ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

What does 'easily reversed' mean in the NIST spectral database? [closed]

Cross posted to http://engineering.stackexchange.com/q/3303/ I'm trying to do some processing of optical emission spectra from sputtering plasmas, and am confused by what NIST means by 'easily ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Measurement of drag (?) tension between two surfaces

I want to know if there are (reasonably inexpensive) devices to measure the tension between two surfaces. Beware of my terminology: the first help I need is to actually formulate my question ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What is “forward peaking”?

In "Research and Development for a Gadolinium Doped Water Cherenkov Detector" the phrase "forward peaking" is used to describe a signal. This comes up in lots of other contexts too, but I still can't ...
4
votes
3answers
423 views

In the double slit experiment what, exactly, is a slit?

I have seen and read several times about the double slit experiment, that an electron (or even a molecule (!) as I found out later) behaves like a wave that swaps over those slits. However I wonder ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

Is hidden symmetry the same concept as broken symmetry for the standard model?

I have recently started studying the basic ideas of symmetry and group representation in order to understand the basic principles behind the standard model. I do follow the difference between a global ...
2
votes
2answers
213 views

What is meant by “unique direction” in most of the arguments in application of Gauss' Law?

This term is really bothering me a lot. While explaining the radial direction of electric field of a uniformly charged sphere, my book writes: Notice the use of argument of symmetry. There is no ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

What is meant by 'a perfect dipole'?

Question What is meant by a perfect (electric) dipole? Additional information I came across the term in this question Force from point charge on perfect dipole and also in a textbook (which does ...
2
votes
2answers
43 views

Difference between a reversible change and a reversible process?

Question In thermodynamics what is the difference between a reversible change and a reversible process? Additional information I am new to the topic of thermodynamics and getting confused about ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Radial excitation and orbital-angular momentum excitation

Sorry. Just want to make sure, but what does radial excitation and orbital-angular excitation mean in the context of bound states? Just higher $n$ and $\ell$ quantum number?
12
votes
5answers
5k views

Why and how does negative velocity exist?

Why and how does negative velocity exist? I have read on the internet about negative velocity but I still don't understand how it can even exist since time is positive and so is length. By doing some ...
0
votes
2answers
30 views

Is net work and total work same?

According to my text book Total Work = Delta Kinetic Energy = KEf - KEi But then work is defined to be dot product of Force (vector) and Displacement (vector). Also to my knowledge work is ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Is there a scientific term for the right-hand-(grip-)rule?

To illustrate and remember the direction of rotation around an axis defined by a vector as it happens to be in some fields of physics, one can employ the right-hand-rule: (image from here) Is ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Superscript on density matrix

I have been asked in homework to solve the optical bloch equation for the initial condition of $\rho_{22}=0,\rho_{12}=0$. Professor gave a hint of the general equation and let us carry it from here. ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

What is primitive divergence?

As in the title, what is primitive divergence? How is it distinguished from normal divergence? As a followup, what is a primitive divergent graph in a theory? Some simple examples?
3
votes
1answer
92 views

What is a weak solution of the MHD equations?

Many papers concerning solutions to the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) equations (eg. Osher, 1984) say that one is generally interested in finding weak solutions. Sometimes they are even called global ...
1
vote
3answers
79 views

Gravitational acceleration

'What is difference between free fall acceleration g and gravitational acceleration a?***a is with subscript g.In my textbook it is written that "free fall acceleration = gravitational acceleration - ...
2
votes
2answers
252 views

What is the essential difference between a resonance and a particle?

Let me start by explaining my particle physics background is very patchy, so this question may not be as coherent as I would like it to be. In general terms, what is the difference between a ...
7
votes
2answers
364 views

What is the difference between a “model” and a “theory”?

In my past questions I have used the terms "model" and "theory" interchangeably. So we have statements along the lines of The Standard Model is our best theory of particle physics but I have also ...
1
vote
3answers
111 views

“Complete” confusion

The word "complete" seems to be used in several distinct ways. Perhaps my confusion is as much linguistic as mathematical? A basis, by definition, spans the space; some books call this "complete" -- ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

What is meant by “the superpotential is not renormalized”?

Reading about supersymmetry I often read the phrase because of the non-renormalization theorems the superpotential is not renormalized. I would like someone to be more explicit on what is ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Is there a name for the squared refractive index?

In studying wave propagation through multilayers, the squared refractive index $n^2$ is a more pertinent parameter than $n$ itself. Is there a received name for $n^2$? Of course, as long as there is ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

What are “correlations”?

When working with realistic two-body hamiltonians, a direct diagonalization is almost always imposible. Thus one usually takes a procedure which yields an approximate solution. A well known approach ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Why can't we precisely define physics? [closed]

While reading a textbook, I came across this statement: "A precise definition of physics is neither possible nor necessary." I was curious why it is not possible but the textbook never ...