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

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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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64 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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44 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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81 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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3answers
359 views

Given the Wikipedia notion of “arc length”, how is its manifestly real “signed variant” to be called and denoted?

I am dissatisfied with the presentation (not to say "definition") of "arc length", in its "Generalization to (pseudo-)Riemannian manifolds", as given in Wikipedia. (Who isn't?. But I'll sketch it here ...
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58 views

What does it mean the term “probe brane”?

What does it exactly mean the term "probe brane"? People say for example: We put a stack of N branes at some point and then a probe brane ..." How do they appear in AdS/CFT? Can you give me an ...
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30 views

In astronomy, what is a 'reflex orbit'?

In astronomy, what is a reflex orbit? The term is used in one of my books, but u don't find a definition for it. Googling it gives me articles about 'Oculocardiac reflex' which is not what I want. ...
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65 views

Does reverse biasing hold any meaning in case if both terminals are n type semiconductors?

When we talk about an n-p-n transistor in common emitter configuration, we often say that emitter-collector circuit (the one towards right) is reverse biased. In what sense it is reverse biased? Here, ...
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37 views

Definition of a symbol $s_{NN}$ appearing in particle physics

What is the meaning of $s_{NN}$ in particle physics? See e.g. here http://www4.rcf.bnl.gov/brahms/WWW/thesis/karabowicz_phd_thesis.pdf page 18 in the pdf. What is its relation to energy? I ...
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39 views

Semantics: alternative word for long-ranged interaction? [closed]

I am working on wording for a report. I need to a word to describe long ranged interaction that is constant in strength. But I am aware that people sometimes use 'long-ranged' to mean decaying ...
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100 views

Difference between harmonic oscillator & coupled oscillators

Coupling, according to wiki, is the condition of two systems when they interact with each other. Now, I came across the terms harmonic oscillator and coupled oscillators. Now,what is the difference ...
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40 views

What is “Lifetime Intensity” in photoluminescence?

I'm reading an article "Surface plasmon enhanced Förster resonance energy transfer between the CdTe quantum dots". Link The reasearchers are writing about increase in "lifetime intensity" and even ...
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161 views

Simple explanation of Coherent integration radar

I have a physics background, and I'm reading some physics data analysis papers where they keep throwing around the term coherent integration. I've done the google search, but the best answer I could ...
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158 views

Does graphene have a honeycomb lattice?

In my grand ignorance I would state that graphene has a honeycomb lattice. Some tend to agree with me and some others do not. I'm curious to know what members of the SE community think is the right ...
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42 views

Why is a “Semi-leptonic” Decay Mode called so?

Why is a semileptonic decay mode called so? I mean, if there is one lepton amongst the decay products, it should be leptonic, right? If there are two, that should be called bi-leptonic or something ...
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2answers
247 views

How to understand whether potential energy increases or decreases?

I am confused by how to deal with the negative sign in the equation $U=-GMm/r^2$ in the following problem: If the distance between two masses is tripled, then the magnitude of the gravitational ...
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60 views

Friedmann equations question

Friedmann equations for critical density is: $$\rho_c = \frac{3H^2}{8\pi G}$$ Is there any other way to write this equation? For example: $$\rho_c = \frac{3}{8\pi GH^2}$$ I saw the above form on ...
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192 views

Name of battery voltage when load connected/disconnected

If I had a 3V battery, and when no load connected it reads 3.2V, and with a load 2.8V (just a hypothetical example), what is the name for these two terms, with a load or no load? I know the voltage ...
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619 views

Is there a name for a substance that is a gas at room temperature?

Is there a name for a substance that is a gas at room temperature, such as Hydrogen, Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, Chlorine, Fluorine, Bromine, Nitrogen, and Oxygen. I am writing a paper where ...
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79 views

Should theory be the appropriate term? [duplicate]

Should theory be the appropriate term? I mean, for example, because of the quantum field theory we have been able to find the subatomic particles that it theorized and make the Standard Model. Why ...
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817 views

A basic question: what is accelerating voltage? [closed]

Or would it be acceleration voltage? Acceleration sounds like it makes more sense, but my paper says accelerating. What are possible ways you could go about calculating it?
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357 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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143 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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248 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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33 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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47 views

Is there a term for the argument of the sine function outside of geometry?

Are there similar terms in other areas for the idea the "angle" conveys in geometry? I find that functions for abstract things such as pressure, electrical currents (nothing geometric there) on AC ...
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160 views

Magnitude of a photon?

I encountered the following sentence in my textbook, which I don't quite understand, and after an unfruitful google search, I still can't figure out what they mean by magnitude in this context: ...
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1answer
124 views

What is a long-tailed distribution for physicists?

What is the most common definition of long tailed distribution for physicists? I am looking for definition and examples. Examples should have arguments why the distribution is or is not long tailed. ...
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164 views

What's the difference between these two formulas and how are these called?

I just want to know the differences between these two formulas: $h = h_0 + v_0 t ± \frac{1}{2} g t^2$ and $y = y_0 + v_{0y} t + \frac{1}{2} g t^2$ Also, how are these called in English?
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372 views

What is the reference spectrum?

What is the reference spectrum? I need to know how to calculate the reference spectrum of a wavelength 500nm.
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394 views

What is the pause called at the apex of an object's trajectory?

My apologies for such a basic question--I am a musician, not a physicist. But I cannot anywhere find the word, if one exists, that describes that elegant pause of an object such as a ball, thrown ...
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3answers
18k views

Difference b/w Kinetics & Kinematics w/concrete example

(I know whether I understand this or not doesn't matter much to my work & study but am just curious.) I still can't differentiate in my head kinetics and kinematics (similar thread is found but ...
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277 views

Is $f=ma$ an identity?

In his The Principles of Natural Knowledge, Alfred North Whitehead writes that famous $f=ma$ is an identity: It has been popular to define force as the product of mass and acceleration. The ...
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350 views

What's the difference between “measurement method” and “measurement procedure”? [closed]

The ISO VIM defines them as: measurement method: generic description of a logical organization of operations used in a measurement. measurement procedure: detailed description of a ...
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44 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 ...
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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?
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47 views

What is this normalization principle called in quantum mechanics?

I searched all over the web about this: $$\left|\Psi\right> = ...
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18 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 ...
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13 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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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?
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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 ...
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52 views

Is there a name for the linear quantity corresponding to the (quadratic) “interval $\Delta s^2$”?

Recently it has been affirmed here (again) that the quantity called "interval (also 'spacetime interval' or 'invariant interval')" is referring to two (in general distinct) events as arguments, such ...
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30 views

What do physicists mean with “classical critical behaviour”?

What do physicists mean with "classical critical behaviour"? As far as I am concerned it should be "power law behaviour" of some quantity close to the critical point but I ask here to be sure.
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72 views

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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20 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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61 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 ...