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

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1answer
61 views

What is difference between polarization and polarizability and how do we define it? [closed]

The book of physics that I have, uses the word "polarization" sometimes and sometimes uses the term "polarizability" and I am getting confused. And I even checked the dictionary for the term ...
1
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5answers
2k views

Difference between circular motion and rotational motion

Are rotational motion and circular motion different or the same? If different then when can we say that a body is in circular motion, and when it's in rotational motion? I find several answers where ...
3
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4answers
101 views

Why the word “measurement” all the time?

I'm trying to learn more about the properties of light. In all the youtube videos and related to the two-slit experiment, the explanations always say that "measuring" can change the outcome. Why do ...
0
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1answer
28 views

What is the different between Poisson Nernst–Planck and Poisson Navier–Stokes in the Electrolyte?

I am now studying about electroosmosis flow phenomena which is governing by the Navier-Stokes equation and Poisson equation. By combine these two equation we can describe the electrolyte flow velocity ...
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0answers
33 views

Radiative corrections and stability

What is meant by the terms radiatively stable and radiatively unstable? I know that when calculating physical observables in quantum field theory, such as the mass of the electron, to obtain a more ...
0
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1answer
42 views

Is there a name for leptons that are not neutrinos?

Is there a name for leptons that are not neutrinos? Not sure if its exists, its not particularly easy to search for. Is there a name for the set of charged leptons (or leptons that are not neutrinos)? ...
7
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5answers
8k views

How do the terms comet, asteroid, meteoroid, meteor and meteorite differ?

These terms are frequently used interchangeably by the uninitiated to mean approximately “space rock”. In practical terms, how do their meanings differ?
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1answer
43 views

Does 'focal length' mean something different with lenses and pinhole cameras?

Sometimes different but related things have the same name by some tradition or accident, causing a lot of headache to newcomers to a field. I would like to come to clear terms with this: does the ...
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0answers
75 views

Mean Field Theory vs. Effective Field Theory

I am reading my many-body quantum physics textbook, and specifically the section on Mean field theory. It seems that the Mean field approximation in the Hamiltonian formalism must be equivalent to ...
3
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2answers
65 views

What exactly is an arbitrary parameter?

I was reading the article Turning Points: A meeting with Enrico Fermi by Freeman Dyson (available e.g. here), and I had a question about Dyson's use of the term 'arbitrary parameter'. More ...
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4answers
139 views

What does “the fabric of space and time” actually mean? [closed]

I've heard the term "the fabric of space and time" in both physics and science fiction, and although I know it has something to do with general relativity, I don't understand what, specifically, ...
3
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2answers
63 views

Heuristic explanation of the difference between vectors and scalars in physics

I'm trying to give a student a (physically) intuitive, heuristic explanation as to why certain quantities are vectors and others are scalars. Here is what I have come up with: Scalars are quantities ...
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2answers
41k views

What exactly is the difference between advection and convection?

After reading Wikipedia articles on advection and convection, I still cannot determine whether there is a consensus on a difference between these two terms. Sometimes, the term convection seems to ...
24
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2answers
3k views

Definitions: 'locality' vs 'causality'

I'm having trouble unambiguously interpreting many answers here due to the fact that the terms locality and causality are sometimes used interchangeably, while other times seem to mean very different ...
1
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1answer
53 views

What is the difference between Fermi level and Fermi edge?

Just as in title: What is the difference between Fermi level and Fermi edge? My friend makes some research about XPS and he encountered this term. He knows what is Fermi level, but never heard about ...
1
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1answer
64 views

What is the different between a dark state and a ground state?

In a atomic quantum system, typically discussing in quantum optics, there is something called dark state. A dark state is a state of a quantum system that does not emit any photon. A ground state also ...
4
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1answer
131 views

Why do astronomers call all elements heavier than helium “metals”?

I understand that a scientific term need not be constrained by its etymology. But is there some significant reason why astronomers choose to call all elements heavier than helium "metals"? Are ...
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2answers
89 views

What is the difference between toy models and normal models?

Here is the short description of scientific model: an imperfect or idealized representation of a physical system And the definition of toy model: a simplified set of objects and equations ...
2
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2answers
150 views

What is the clear cut difference between isotropic and anisotropic spin exchanges?

When are spin exchanges said to be isotropic or anisotropic? I have read several articles on this and can not differentiate these concepts properly.
0
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1answer
116 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
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2answers
252 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 ...
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0answers
48 views

Difference between the propagators and vertex function [closed]

I am confused between Green's function and vertex function in field theory. Can someone please explain the difference between the two in context ${\lambda} {\phi}^4$ theory?
1
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0answers
22 views

Escape speed or Escape Velocity? [duplicate]

Which one should be the correct term escape speed or escape velocity? In one book it is given Speed whereas in another its velocity.
0
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0answers
66 views

Exact (quantitative) definition of “knee” and/or “cut-in” voltage?

Sort of a 2-part question: 1) I know they are used interchangeably but are the "knee" and "cut-in" voltages of a diode actually the exact same thing? I had thought that the "cut-in" voltage was ...
0
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2answers
85 views

Confusion with Blackbody Radiation

A blackbody is a theoretical object that perfectly absorbs all the light that falls on it. From what I understand this is an ideal situation and does not actually exist in reality. Certain objects are ...
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0answers
35 views

What does 'vector-like' mean?

What are properties of vector-like field/particle? What's the counterpart of it? Chiral like?
2
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1answer
796 views

Is there a difference between Electric and Electrostatic Field?

Is there a difference between Electric and Electrostatic Field? All I know is that they both represented with same law suppose we have a Charge placed at the Origin: ...
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0answers
30 views

Terminology Question for Exponential Behavior [closed]

Say we have a simplistic model for population growth. $P(t) = P_0e^{at}$ Where $P(t)$ is the population at a time $t$, $P_0$ is the initial population and $a$ is a constant describing the rate of ...
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3answers
627 views

Why are diffraction gratings not called interference gratings? [closed]

It seems to me that diffraction gratings are completely described by the double slit experiment-why then is it called a diffraction grating?
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0answers
116 views

What is a Fermi arc?

What is meant with a Fermi arc in the context of Weyl semimetals? Is this the just a one-dimensional Fermi surface? For example, in electron-doped graphene, the Fermi surface consists of 2 disjoint ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

Sound speed vs Speed of sound

Are 'sound speed' and 'speed of sound' the same thing? If not, what is the difference? If they are, could you clarify how the speed of sound applies in the below description of gaseous clouds? ...
0
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1answer
25 views

What is the difference between hydraulic radius and geometrical radius in a cylindrical pore?

What is the difference between hydraulic radius and geometrical radius in a cylindrical pore? I was going through the 'stacks' present in an thermoacoustic refrigerators there I came across the ...
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5answers
423 views

Is Parity really violated? (Even though neutrinos are massive)

The weak force couples only to left-chiral fields, which is expressed mathematically by a chiral projection operator $P_L = \frac{1-\gamma_5}{2}$ in the corresponding coupling terms in the Lagrangian. ...
3
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
0
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1answer
35 views

Is “applying a voltage” the same as “applying a potential” to an electrode?

From what I understand, voltage is the potential difference, but it seems like the terms are used interchangeably. This is confusing me because I am only just learning what these terms mean. I'm also ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between a pulse and a wave?

I wanted to ask what is the difference between a pulse and a wave? According to the definitions of them, they are almost the same. In the websites I looked at, the difference between them was ...
0
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1answer
46 views

How Does Rotational and Turbulent Motion Contribute to the Pressures of Dynamical Systems?

Rotational and turbulent motion can deepen a gravity well in a galaxy or galaxy cluster. In an analysis of the mass components of a large body, this would appear to be one of the components. Does it ...
2
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0answers
332 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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6answers
10k views

Difference between theoretical physics and mathematical physics?

I'm a huge fan of mathematical physics and I know what the formal definitions of those two areas are, I've seen them. But I still get completely baffled when someone asks me to explain it simply. The ...
0
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1answer
38 views

What does “n-particle reducible” mean?

I am reading Ramond and in page 112 he says "In $\lambda \phi^{4}$ theory, diagrams can be at most three-particle reducible". My question: whether the individual Feynman Diagrams are treated as ...
3
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4answers
2k views

What is pure energy?

Inside the core of a star thermonuclear fusion reaction fuses hydrogen atom into helium releasing massive heat/light and energy.When a black hole eats up enough stars and gases it devours itself by ...
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0answers
30 views

What is the pure form of energy? [duplicate]

What is the pure form of energy? Einstein in his energy mass equation derivation said that electromagnetic radiation is pure form of energy.
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3answers
111 views

GR: Pseudo Riemannian or Riemannian?

Is General Relativityy described by Pseudo-Riemannian manifold or Riemannian manifold? I cannot understand the vast difference between the two manifolds. In books, General Relativity is looked as a ...
0
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0answers
20 views

What does “at%” refer to in sol-gel method?

I'm reading on the preparation of ZnO thin films for UV stimulated emission and I found a method called Sol-Gel. During this I found a paragraph saying, " the ratio Ag/Zn in the sol is 3 at%......". ...
0
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0answers
12 views

What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? [duplicate]

What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? And is there a way to determine a dwarf planet from a normal planet in a unknown solar system? (If we discover a unknown solar system)
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2answers
216 views

What is the difference between a hollow (sphere/cylinder) and a shell (cylinder/sphere)? [closed]

First of all, it was hard to "tag" this question ! Anyways, I see some contradictions in what a shell or a hollow cylinder is in some sources in the internet based on some figures they show. I ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

What is the difference between a quasar and an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN)?

In answering another Phys.SE question about quasars - Why no new quasars? - an issue arose about which object is the nearest quasar. That got me puzzled. To what is the label "quasar" attached, as ...
0
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2answers
63 views

What is $\mathcal{L}_M$?

Usually we derive the Einstein field equation in vacuum starting from E-H action $$S= \int{\sqrt{-g}d^4x(\frac{c^4}{16\pi G})R}.$$ But in case we wanted to get ...
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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 ...
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1answer
42 views

What does dimensionless quantity 'number of $g$' mean?

I am doing data analysis in which I found a quantity named "no. of $g$". I don't know what it means or what is its usage. Look at the image below. I want to know the meaning and usage of "no. of ...