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

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3
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1answer
44 views

What does 'channel' mean?

I see many plots like the following that graph counts per channel, I know what a 'count' is, but I don't know what a 'channel' is. Could somebody please explain to me? My guess is that it is that ...
0
votes
3answers
168 views

About the postulates of quantum mechanics and self-adjointness

I am a freshman trying to understand the very basics of quantum mechanics but I met barriers at the beginning. What really matters is the postulates of quantum mechanics and their relationship with ...
12
votes
9answers
11k views

What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? All of them have ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between 1PI effective action and Wilsonian effective action?

What is the simplest ay to describe the difference between these two concepts, that often go by the same name?
0
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1answer
34 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

X-ray diffraction analytical principle - diffraction or reflection?

I am an MSc in analytical chemistry, currently working with x-ray diffraction. The technique is called "x-day diffraction", but are not the x-rays reflected? Max von Laue discovered that x-rays were ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What is a geocentric altitude?

In NAO TN no.69, Yallop defines ARCV as geocentric difference in altitude between the centre of the Sun and the centre of the Moon for a given latitude and longitude, ignoring the effects of ...
0
votes
1answer
42 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
728 views

Definition of a year

Is there an acceptable definition of a year (in number of days)? Google Calculator: https://www.google.com/search?q=seconds+in+1+year returns 3.15569e7 seconds and then ...
1
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0answers
46 views

Why is special relativity so special? [duplicate]

The title says it really. Why is special relativity so special? I'm just curious as to how and why the term 'special' came to describe the theory of relativity where gravitational forces are ...
1
vote
3answers
73 views

What really is “inertial force”?

In Fluid Mechanics we often see the term inertial force when discussing Reynolds number. The problem is, I didn't really get what's this inertial force. Basically, the notion of inertia I have is that ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Is 'grapheme' a substance or a typo?

While reading Ref. 1 I came across the sentence Below we focus on the physics of ideal (single layer) grapheme. I did google search 'grapheme' but the results tended towards a completely ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

The name of effect of liquid flow inducing flow to neighboring layers of liquid?

How do you call an effect, when liquid or gas stream is involving the neighboring layers of matter also move? Like on videos of rocket engines testing, when exhausting gas sucks an air and steam from ...
5
votes
2answers
142 views

Showing that Coulomb and Lorenz Gauges are indeed valid Gauge Transformations?

I'm working my way through Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics. In Ch. 10, gauge transformations are introduced. The author shows that, given any magnetic potential $\textbf{A}_0$ and electric ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Realistic Potential Wells

What is meant by the term "realistic" potential wells? I got stuck into the term as I don't know what are the limitations of the word realistic in this case. For example mentioned in line We ...
7
votes
5answers
436 views

Hilbert space vs. Projective Hilbert space

Hilbert space and rays: In a very general sense, we say that quantum states of a quantum mechanical system correspond to rays in the Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, such that for any $c∈ℂ$ the state ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

Is it accurate to say “a wavefunction is a function of particle positions or momenta”?

Something has been bothering me for a while. I encounter this kind of statement everywhere: While a single particle is described by a wave function $\Psi({\vec r};t)$, a system of two particles, ...
6
votes
2answers
385 views

History of the names “Feynman-gauge” & “Landau-gauge”. How arised & how settled?

Warning: Students, stay away from antiquities. The aim to learn is to survive. Hi. Today the nomenclatures Feynman gauge and Landau gauge seem established, but could you explain the history? It's ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

What is the difference between classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics? [duplicate]

What is the difference between classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics? To me, they are greatly different but are different approaches for explaining same thing. But I do prefer ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Why is static electricity called static?

They called it "static" because it doesn’t go anywhere. To create static electricity, you have to rub two different materials. At the moment you rub them, the electrons already moved. So how come ...
8
votes
1answer
359 views

Does a ball resting on the ground have acceleration?

Does a ball resting on the Earth's ground have acceleration caused by gravity?
2
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0answers
79 views

If the field concept was invented by Faraday, then how did Newton interpret the $g$?

This is Newton's law of universal gravitation. $F=G\frac{m_1.m_2}{r^2}$ Gravitational field $g$ is derived from this formula $g=G\frac{m_1}{r^2}$ This is named gravitational "field" strength. If ...
3
votes
3answers
628 views

What does “nearly infinite mass” mean?

I am sure this is a silly question, but I was reading something that described the pre big-bang universe as having "nearly infinite mass." How can something be "nearly" infinite? The term seems to ...
1
vote
4answers
86 views

Is trajectory the same as an orbit?

Is trajectory the same as an orbit? I wanted to know about gravity assists, but most books I find are talking about different types of orbits and such. Are they related?
2
votes
3answers
64 views

Is wave superposition always equivalent to wave interference?

I'm confused when using these 2 words "wave superposition" and "wave interference" since their definition is very similar. So, are these 2 term the same?
4
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the difference between air pressure and atmospheric pressure?

I know that air pressure and temperature are inversely proportional. Now I saw in a book that "Atmospheric pressure decreases as we go higher and higher." But at greater heights the temperature ...
13
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

What are “two-centre integrals”?

Reading through some condensed matter physics literature I came across the term "two-centre integrals". Could someone explain what is meant by this in general? CONTEXT: "the overlap matrix and the ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Relativistic non-linear Walecka model

What is meant by a relativistic non-linear Walecka model? What are some various sources to study it? [And why cannot Google show a satisfactory result to such a simple question?]
3
votes
3answers
403 views

What's the difference between “numerical methods” & “mathematical analysis” as said by Feynman in his lectures?

While reading his lectures, I came to these lines: On the basis of Newton's second law of motion,which gives the relation between the acceleration of any body & the force acting on it,any ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Where did the Word 'Physics' Come From? [closed]

As the title suggests, where did the name for the discipline 'Physics' come from? - does it mean something in Greek?
2
votes
0answers
42 views

What does “downshear” mean?

I occasionally read descriptions such as "downshear of the vortex" in meteorological publications. What does this mean?
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7answers
33k views

What does the magnitude of the acceleration mean?

I am a little confused as to what the magnitude of acceleration is and what it means.
0
votes
1answer
31 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
0
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0answers
30 views

Confusion about the use of the term “Phase Space” in Strogatz text

I've just started learning about Hamiltonian mechanics, and from the definition given in Taylor's classical mechanics, phase space must always have an even dimension. However, I recall from reading ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the $C_p/C_v$ ratio?

Recently in our chemistry class we read that the $C_p/C_v$ ratio of the inert gases is 1.66 thus they show inert nature. I asked my teacher what was $C_p/C_v$ ratio but he didn't answer me. So I want ...
1
vote
2answers
320 views

What is the difference between electromagnet and solenoid?

What is the difference between electromagnet and solenoid? Both these terms seem as the same thing to me. The only difference that I can find seems to be that an electromagnet contains a soft iron ...
2
votes
4answers
791 views

What is the Difference between a Lepton and a Fermion?

As the Title Says: I am Wondering what the Difference between a Lepton and A Fermion is. I know they both have an ½ integer spin number e.g. a electron, an atom with an odd mass number such as ...
0
votes
3answers
53 views

Image angle illusion [closed]

I am not sure whether this question on-topic here. (please suggest to migrate if this is off-topic) What is the phenomenon/illusion (or something else?) known as where in a photo of a person, the ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

What is this simple mechanism called? [closed]

I often build with Lego and use this mechanism: It converts the rotational movement to linear by making the stick between the two blocks go back and forth. What is this mechanism called?
1
vote
1answer
48 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.
11
votes
6answers
707 views

Gibbs free energy intuition

What is Gibbs free energy? As my book explains: Gibbs energy is the energy of a system available for work. So, what does it want to tell? Why is it free? Energy means ability to do work. What is ...
2
votes
3answers
72 views

What is “a vector of $SO(n)$”?

I'm watching (or trying to watch) this lecture from NPTEL on classical field theory. I've understood everything in the series up till this point, including the first half of the lecture on elementary ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Does “normal torque” exist?

Is there any force called normal torque? If a ruler is spinning, and it hits the floor, obviously it will stop. The floor must be exerting a "normal torque" on the ruler. If this exists, please tell ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

The spin and weight of a primary field in CFT

A primary field in Conformal Field Theory transforms as $$\phi (z,\bar{z}) =\left(\frac{dz}{dz'} \right)^h \left(\frac{d\bar{z}}{d\bar{z}'} \right)^\bar{h}\phi (z',\bar{z}') $$ under a conformal ...
24
votes
4answers
1k views

“Slightly off-shell”?

I'm not new to QFT, yet there are some matters which are quite puzzling to me. I often come across the statement that real particles (the ones we actually measure in experiments, not virtual ones) are ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Is charge transfer from A to B positive or negative?

I see this term pop up a lot -- for instance "charge is transferred from atom A to atom B", but it's never specified whether they're talking about positive or negative charge. I know electrical ...
2
votes
2answers
305 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [closed]

What is the main difference between Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology? I have the impression that astronomy is a subject that runs parallel to physics but it is outside the physics field. This ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Is there a scientific term for star formation?

It might be my stupidity to think that many laymen terms that most people use to describe some physics phenomena usually have a scientifically accepted term or name? The process of star formation, ...