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

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What is the 1/2 spin analog of the graviton called?

In some supergravities you have the gravition, gravitino, graviphoton and graviscalar. Each is analogous to each other in only sharing gravitational properties and nothing else. They differ by spin ...
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1answer
8k views

What is the difference between the words transparent and translucent?

Merriam Webster defines transparent as: Having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly. And translucent as: ...
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8k views

What are virtual objects, Reflection of light? [duplicate]

While studying reflection through a plane mirror, I have been told that when the object is real the image will be virtual and the image will be real while the object is virtual. What are virtual ...
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4answers
2k views

Space-like and time-like: where do the names come from?

Space-like separated events are events that, in a well-chosen reference frame, can take place at the same time but never happen at the same location. On the other hand for time-like events, one can ...
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1answer
258 views

Name for thermodynamic derivative $dP/dT|_V$?

While trying to express the isoentropic sound speed as partial derivatives of $V$ and $T$ only I end up, as part of the longer expression with $dP/dT|_V$ (which according to a Maxwell relation is the ...
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1answer
77 views

What is a Nyquist edge?

I've come to this sentence and I don't understand the term Nyquist edge. Because observing in the FM band is not feasible, a sampling frequency of 200 MHz has been chosen for most of the receiver ...
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1answer
122 views

What is “kinematic inversion” (from geophysics) in mathematical terms?

I am a mathematician working on a seismic imaging problem, and am currently (attempting to) read some geophysics papers (this one (Ruiz, Madariaga 2011) and this one (Di Carli, Francois-Holden, ...
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2answers
1k views

What's the difference between work in thermodynamics and mechanics?

What is the difference between work in thermodynamics and work in mechanics?
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2answers
749 views

QFT Dyson series: why are we solving the Schrodinger equation?

In quantum field theory, the solution of the time evolution operator of the Schrodinger equation (in the interaction picture) is given by Dyson's series, which is used to calculate the S-matrix. Why ...
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67 views

What is the definition of a charge-neutral operator?

What is the definition of a charge-neutral operator? I guess it means something like: it is invariant under charge conjugation. It that correct?
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2answers
470 views

Equilibrium - uniform circular motion

Maybe this is a bit of a silly question, but let us pretend we have a pendulum in a ideal universe with no friction, drag, or anomalous forces there to affect it. Additionally, our pendulum is ...
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1answer
83 views

A (mundane) CS analogy for quantum teleportation

From my limited understanding of quantum entanglement, it seems like qubits act the same way as pseudo-random-number-generators (except as far as we can tell, these ones really are random). When you ...
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2answers
404 views

$p\ dq$ is the “tautological” one-form?

The one-form $$\theta=\sum_i p_i\, \text dq^i$$ is a central object in hamiltonian mechanics. It has a bunch of applications: $\omega=\text d\theta$ is the symplectic structure on phase space, ...
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1answer
100 views

What does it mean for a metric to be regular?

A problem in Carroll (a general relativity textbook) asks if a certain metric is regular. What does it mean for a metric to be regular?
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0answers
106 views

Why not “black matter” instead of “non-baryonic cold dark matter”? [closed]

I would like to know if any epistemologist or science popularizer has ever think about a better/simpler name for exotic or non-baryonic cold dark matter like black matter. That would be interesting ...
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1answer
66 views

Integrating out fields from classical systems

Has anyone ever heard of integrating out fields from classical Lagrangians if they are quadratic?
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2answers
5k views

What does it mean to be stationary?

I'm looking for a simple answer. What do we regard a stationary. Do we mean an object that is not moving noticeable from the viewers perspective because then a parked car would be considered ...
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1answer
439 views

Definition of mean free time in the Drude model

In the Drude model they derive a formule for the conductivity of a conductor. I wonder though how the main free time $\tau$ is defined in this formula. Wikipedia says that it is "the average time ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the name of the temperature limit beyond which an explosion will form a mushroom cloud?

Many months ago I saw a picture that was taken many years ago of an explosion, possibly in the Atlanta area. If I recall the explosion was caused by fuel in railroad cars. However, the explosion ...
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1answer
879 views

Constructive vs Algebraic Quantum Field Theory

I am interested to know how the (non)existence theorems of constructive QFT and algebraic QFT are related (or not). I have only a weak grasp of either, so I'm looking for something like a quick ...
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2answers
153 views

What distinguishes the particles we chose as matter from their antimatter equivalent? [duplicate]

Back before we knew about antimatter we just called everything matter. Ignoring CP-violation for a moment, there is nothing special about matter versus antimatter. Once we knew about antimatter it ...
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1answer
399 views

What is the difference between a battery and a “polarized” charged capacitor?

I know that the main difference between the two is that a battery can provide a constant voltage whereas a capacitor's voltage decreases as the charge stored decreases. But what about the internal ...
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1answer
169 views

Can the phrase “Terminal Velocity” be used to describe non-gravity situations?

According to Wikipedia: [Terminal Velocity] is the velocity of the object when the sum of the drag force (Fd) and buoyancy equals the downward force of gravity (FG) acting on the object. Since ...
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1answer
107 views

Ramsey Interactions

What are Ramsey interactions? I am researching atomic clocks and am not sure why the atoms need to be exposed twice to an electromagnetic field in order to cause excitation.
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1answer
1k views

What is a bilateral constraint?

In the realm of mechanics/rigid body dynamics, can anyone tell me what a bilateral constraint is? Can't seem to find any information on the exact definition, just uses of it such as "considering only ...
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1answer
366 views

Semiclassical Approximation

In many books I read about semiclassical approximation applied to the field of Bose-Einstein condensation. But I don't understand what it really means. For example I read that an expression like this ...
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1answer
338 views

Proper name for a thermodynamic process with constant internal energy $U$

Back in the day I learned that a few special thermodynamical processes have special names. For example, if one keeps $P$ constant, the process is called isobaric, if one keeps $T, V$ or $S$ ...
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1answer
219 views

How did neodymium magnets get their name?

Like in the question. Why neodymium magnets (Nd2Fe14B) are called "neodymium magnets"? Why not boron magnets? Or iron magnets?
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1answer
127 views

What is the space between galactic arms called?

Is there a term referring to space that is inside the plane of a galaxy, but not part of the center/bar/arms/spurs, etc? What's the filler called? The space between two spiral arms (if it isn't a ...
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0answers
41 views

What is the mean ionospheric height?

I am reading some articles about the ionosphere and I am a little bit confused about the terms mean ionospheric height and effective height of the ionosphere. Are these the same thing? I would ...
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4answers
6k views

Catapult vs. Trebuchet

I have been looking at trebuchet designs lately, and I have noticed that most, if not all, have a sling attached to them. Without such a sling, the machine would be a catapult. In terms of the speed ...
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1answer
85 views

What does “sites” mean in the lattice language?

I acknowledge that this question is quite trivial. But in the lattice jargon, what does a $N$-sites lattice mean? it's a lattice $N\times N$ or it's a lattice with $N$ vertices? another option ...
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0answers
106 views

What does the term 'a uniform RVB spin-liquid state' mean?

I encountered this term a uniform RVB spin-liquid state in some articles, for example, see the paragraph under Eq.(29) on page 9 in this paper. What does the word 'uniform ' mean? Simply from the ...
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0answers
220 views

Why supra-conductivity became super-conductivity?

The original article by the Kamerlingh Onnes team in Leiden does not give a name to the new effect: Kamerlingh Onnes, H. Further experiments with liquid helium. C. On the change of electric ...
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Have there been more distinctive names suggested for neutrino mass states $\nu_1, \nu_2, \nu_3$?

The different mass states of neutrinos are generally named $\nu_1, \nu_2, \nu_3$. By comparison, the names of quark mass states (up, ...
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Is there an official name for “Lorentz Pairs” like energy and momentum?

In learning about relativity I've noticed that in the construction of Lorentz invariants (specifically four-vectors) two physical quantities that were previously considered distinct are instead ...
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53 views

Do two synchronous clocks have simultaneous indications?

Considering two clocks, $C$ and $D$, which were at rest to each other throughout a sufficiently extended trial, and given their time parametrizations $t_C : {\text{ ordered set of}}C{\text{'s ...
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1answer
39 views

What are degenerate transversal oscillation modes?

This is just a question about terminology that is used in the beginning of a chapter about phonons. In a simple cubic crystal, we can consider elastic oscillations in f.i. the [100] direction. In ...
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1answer
8k views

What is the difference between Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Field Theory?

What is the difference between Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Field Theory? Are they the same subject? I believe that they are not the same subject! Maybe there is not ...
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1answer
604 views

Transparence of an infinite square well? [closed]

What does it mean by an infinite square well being transparent? I have been doing the calculation of the infinite square well and I came up with an answer $T = 1$ where $T$ for Transmission ...
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1answer
926 views

Difference between inorganic and organic semiconductors: electronic structure or configuration, or?

Organic semiconductors differ from inorganic semiconductors. In organic semiconductors the molecules are held together by weak van der Waals interactions and in inorganic semiconductors by covalent ...
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1answer
522 views

What is “Symmetric Fission”?

Dose anyone has a clue what Symmetric Fission is? I couldn't find any explanation on what is it on internet.
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2answers
175 views

Does the term “dark matter” apply to nonluminescent bodies which still interact electromagnetically?

On the new Astronomy.SE site, I was having a short discussion on one of my answers. The basic discrepancy was; can MACHOs like black holes/brown dwarfs/neutron stars be termed "dark matter"? My ...
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0answers
99 views

What does “define analytically” mean?

I'm trying to do my homework in physics but here I have found something that I am not understanding. It says: Define analytically the terms that should stationary flow accomplish. I know that ...
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1answer
292 views

Does effective theory have the same meaning in particle and condensed matter physics

I have a naive question about the meaning of effective theory in particle physics and condensed matter physics. In particle physics, from what I know, the effective theory comes from the Wilsonian ...
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0answers
125 views

How to name different approaches to relativistic quantum theory

In the introductory chapter of the QFT book by Mark Srednicki the author notes that [p. 26] So now we have two different approaches to relativistic quantum theory [...] Which [one of those two] we ...
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4answers
394 views

Can physics (ever) explain intrinsic properties of nature? [closed]

I may be totally off with this quite abstract (?) question(s). But still, here are some closely related sub-questions: Is there a list of currently "known" intrinsic properties of nature? How ...
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1answer
509 views

Numerical schemes, time integration algorithms and energy conservation

What does it mean when someone says a numerical scheme or a time integration algorithm is "energy conserving". How can a numerical scheme "gain" or "lose" or "conserve" energy apart from the numerical ...
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4answers
410 views

What does “carry a representation” mean (in SUSY algebra)?

I come from a maths background and am struggling with some of the more physical texts on SUSY. In particular they claim that the fermionic generators $Q_A^i$ carry a representation of the Lorentz ...
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4answers
52k views

What is the difference between phase difference and path difference?

I have learnt that path difference is the difference between the distance travelled by two waves meeting at a point. If that is path difference,then how will one know what is phase difference and how ...