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

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Second law of thermodynamics (in terms of entropy)

Is the second law of thermodynamics (in terms of entropy) for closed systems or isolated systems? I thought it must be valid for isolated systems, such as the Universe. But the book Fundamentals of ...
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1answer
28 views

Holonomic constraints and degrees of freedom?

Can we see that a constraint can decrease the degrees of freedom of a system if and only if it is holonomic. Either way please can you explain why?
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15 views

What exactly is meant by “locating points in spacetime”, in the RT?

In this (presently quite popular) answer to another recent question of mine concerning foundations of the (Einstein's) theory of relativity, it is asserted that "Any observer can construct a ...
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1answer
58 views

What is “adjustable constant”?

This is quoted from A.P.French's Vibrations & Waves. Explicit differential form of linear harmonic oscillator is: $$ m\dfrac{d^2x}{dt^2} + kx = 0 \quad \& \quad \dfrac{1}{2} ...
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2answers
41 views

On Elementary Particles

The mass of positron and electron are same. Also their charges are equal in magnitude but opposite in nature. Then why positron is not called one of the elementary particles? Is this only because it ...
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2answers
24 views

What is the formula of power of an optical instrument?

I have searched and found that the power of a lens, with surrounding medium of refractive index $n$, is $n/f$ where $f$ is the focal length, the formula is $$n/f=(n'-n)/R1 + (n-n')/R2.$$ But in my ...
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1answer
46 views

Lorentz invariance vs. covariance

I am a bit confused whether relativistic theory is Lorentz invariant or covariant. And please explain why?
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2answers
63 views

Are the words “coincident” and “simultaneous” considered synonymous? Else, please explain the difference

In discussions, experimental and thought-experimental descriptions (especially concerning the Theory of Relativity) the words "coincident" and "simultaneous" appear, notably for instance in the ...
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How to get from $E_8 \rightarrow E_7 \rightarrow E_6 \rightarrow …$

I read in section 2 of this paper : "There is a well-defined chain to descent from $E_8$ to smaller groups by chopping off a node of the Dynkin diagram." What exactly is here referring to ...
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2answers
159 views

What exactly is meant by saying that two events had been “simultaneous in an inertial frame”?

In order to address my question based on a concrete example setup let the following two separate events be given: participants $A$ and $J$ encountering each other in passing (additional participants ...
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1answer
41 views

What is the meaning of “site”?

Reading questions, I have come across a recurring notion of "site". Whilst I am able to understand the questions I am unsure as to what a "site" actually is and to what it corresponds physically. I ...
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2answers
64 views

What unit system does Fahrenheit belong to?

Wikipedia's page for Imperial Units does not list Fahrenheit. The corresponding page for SI Units lists Kelvin as an SI unit, and Celcius as a derived SI unit. This leads me to believe that ...
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2answers
40 views

What is the difference between the potential $V$ and the effective potential $V_{eff}$?

What is the difference between the potential $V$ and the effective potential $V_{eff}$? Some times when solving problems, an effective potential $V_{eff}$ is defined and its usually equal to the ...
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1answer
26 views

What is a “Reversed Effective Force”?

I have some confusion about the "Reversed effective force" as it appears in the derivation of D'Alembert's principle. First I have sources that seem to be contradictory. ...
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0answers
23 views

What is the difference between mass defect and mass deficit?

Is there any difference between the mass defect and the mass deficit? I have read that the mass defect of a nuclide is never negative and have also been told that the mass defect is the same as the ...
2
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1answer
29 views

Two-component formalism and four-component formalism [closed]

When deriving the Dirac equation for spin-1/2 particles, we realize that the wave function must be four-component. In some works, people use two-component wave function for calculation. So, my ...
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1answer
13 views

What are pressure threshold patches called in professional terminology?

I am making a small combustion chamber, and need to measure the pressure when a combustion occurs. This is a hobby project, so I don't have enough money to buy a dP cell with a remote membrane for ...
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2answers
44 views

What does it mean to “contract” a tensor identity?

I'm taking a GR course at the moment, completely stumped on this step here: starting from the Bianchi identity: Then it says "Contracting the Bianchi identity..." How does this work and what ...
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2answers
95 views

How to tell the order of a Feynman diagram?

How can we know the order of a Feynman diagram just from the pictorial representation? Is it the number of vertices divided by 2? For example, I know that electnro-positron annihilaiton is first ...
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1answer
80 views

When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles were called Majorana fermions?

Since a number of years, the field of superconductivity has a growing obsession with Majorana fermions. I wonder how far back we can go: When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles ...
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2answers
57 views

What does the “UV” in “UV completion” stand for? [closed]

What does the "UV" in "UV completion" stand for? Also, I'm not sure which tags I should tag this question with.
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1answer
59 views

Is Kinetic Theory part of Statistical Mechanics?

Some years ago from now I've seem some basic details about what was then called "kinetic theory of gases" where the study of property of gases was made by statistical considerations about the momentum ...
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0answers
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What is Switch Contact Rating? [migrated]

If Contact Rating of switch is 5A 240V AC & 0.25A 240 DC, Then is this switch can be used for contact rating of 220V (+10, -15% voltage variation) AC & 127V (+10, -15% voltage variation)
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56 views

The Einstein-Cartan equation as the “living heart of gravity”?

I recently read in A Journey into Gravity by Wheeler that "The Einstein-Cartan equation gives us the most vivid image that mankind has ever won of the living heart of gravity" (P.118) ...
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1answer
38 views

What does $\bar{x}_{\textrm{el}}$ represent?

In the context of centroids and moments, what do $\bar{x}_{\textrm{el}}$ and $\bar{y}_{\textrm{el}}$ represent? For example: $$\bar{x}L = \int \bar{x}_{\textrm{el}}dL$$ Some references that use ...
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1answer
45 views

What is the difference between a magnon and a spinon?

For a long time, I thought the terms "magnon" and "spinon" were equivalent, describing the collective spin excitation in a system. Lately, I have seen remarks in the literature that they indeed do ...
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1answer
57 views

What is a point transformation?

This problem comes from Goldstein. What does $s=e^{\gamma t}q$ mean? Do I just put $q=e^{-\gamma t}s$ into the Lagrangian? But I don't know what that means. I think the point transformation may ...
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4answers
504 views

What is a peryton?

It is a bit hard to find an accessible explanation online. I find the word "peryton" in some papers about radio astronomy, here's one example: http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.05245 I don't think they refer ...
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3answers
212 views

What is actually a conservation law?

Though in his lectures, Feynman didn't define conservation law, he did use it while explaining divergence theorem: [...] heat is conserved. That is, no heat is generated inside the material and ...
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1answer
43 views

Metric in Lagrangian and the minimum total potential energy principle

I was wondering why physical systems "like" to go to the minimum of potential energy and I found this question, that tries to justify the minumum total potential energy principle. I was also reading ...
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2answers
85 views

What does the “T” stand for in T-duality?

First of all, I am not a physicist. I'm a graduate math student and recently I came across the concept of T-duality. Actually I'm studying generalized complex geometry, which according to this paper ...
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1answer
135 views

What was Feynman's famous formula?

In Welton(1983), Memories of Feynman, Welton mentions two formulas which he denotes as Feynman's Famous Formula (FFF) and FFF #2. Which famous formulas is he talking about? Is he maybe talking about ...
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1answer
74 views

Why “colours” of light are given in wavelength not frequency?

If I understand correctly, when a beam of (monochromatic) light passes through media of different refractive indices, its wavelength changes but frequency remains constant. Why, then, are colours of ...
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1answer
18 views

Difference between hydrostatic and uniaxial pressure

I'm confused with these two terminologies. Does 'hydrostatic' means every direction while 'uniaxial' means one direction? What're they usually used for?
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2answers
30 views

Usage of singular or plural SI base units when written in both symbol as well as name [closed]

I have multiple doubts related to the usage of singular or plural SI base units when written in both symbol as well as name. I have framed this question under two parts, namely, Part (a) and Part ...
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1answer
58 views

What is this equation $f^e = f^a - \nabla U$?

Recently in a mechanics class my prof scribbled down something looked like $$f^e = f^a - \nabla U.$$ Where he claimed $f^e$ is the external force on an object, $f^a$ is the applied force on the ...
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1answer
42 views

What is meant by a “stiff” or “soft” equation of state (wrt neutron stars)?

I am currently trying to understand the history of the development of the equations of state and structure of neutron stars. In my textbook, I frequently encounter phrases such as "The ...
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2answers
75 views

Why isn't the Time-Independent Schrödinger Equation an equation of motion?

I thought an equation of motion was something where you are given a Lagrangian and, using the Euler-Lagrange equation, you then find the equations of motion for that system. Same basic idea for the ...
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3answers
62 views

Definition of non-degenerate metric tensor

We know that a metric has a property which is called non-degeneracy. I was searching for what does that mean and saw it associated with the fact that $det(g_{\mu\nu})\neq0$. How does this relate to ...
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1answer
68 views

What is the meaning of phenomenology?

From what I understand, phenomenology as it is used in science means talking about the details of a phenomenon without going deep into the fundamental physical processes that lead to the phenomenon. ...
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238 views

Fiducial volume in collider/detector physics

I'm trying to make some sense of ATLAS measurements for a personal project to learn how to use Pythia, and part of my work requires me to recreate the distribution for Z boson decay. I encountered the ...
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2answers
228 views

Quantum hadrodynamics

What is quantum hadrodynamics? Can anybody give a proper explanation? What are the standard books and sources of information that can be found on the internet for better understanding?
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1answer
33 views

What process happens in an IT nuclear decay?

I've been researching medical isotopes and alot of them decay by an IT path. Does anyone know what IT stands for? And what physical process is happening? Example: ...
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3answers
64 views

What is the difference between maximally entangled and maximally mixed states?

To my understanding, mixed states is composed of various states with their corresponding probabilities, but what is the actual difference between maximally mixed states and maximally entangled states? ...
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1answer
33 views

Kinematics and dynamics - what pattern do they portray?

The Equations which are derived for kinematics and dynamics are some patterns related to the body in motion. What is the demarcation in the pattern that kinematic equations and dynamic equations ...
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1answer
49 views

What is the relationship between harmonic motion and the harmonics of a wave?

I learned about harmonic motion and harmonic oscillators a long time ago in physics, but I can't remember what the relationship between that and and the definition of harmonic in a wave. A harmonic ...
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1answer
22 views

What is the difference between a measurement and an experiment?

For example, say I want to determine the atomic structure of a bio molecule. I purify the molecule, get it to crystallize (probably though trial and error), shoot it with X-rays, observe the scatter ...
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2answers
54 views

Do the matrices $S^{\mu\nu} = \frac{1}{4}[\gamma^\mu, \gamma^\nu]$ have a name?

Do the matrices $S^{\mu\nu}$ defined by $$ S^{\mu\nu} = \frac{1}{4}[\gamma^\mu, \gamma^\nu] $$ have a name ($\gamma^\mu$ are the gamma matrices)? They feel very important to me since they form a ...
2
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1answer
64 views

What is a “fundamental thermodynamic relation”?

My professor handed me a quiz in which he said something like (I don't remember exactly) "write down the four fundamental thermodynamic relations for $A,G,H,U$". I showed the differential elements of ...
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55 views

What's the difference between binding energy and separation energy?

My understanding of the two was as follows: the binding energy of a nucleus is, classically speaking, the energy needed to put together/take apart that nucleus completely (i.e. a measure of the strong ...