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

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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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0answers
57 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
58 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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1answer
50 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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3answers
143 views

Is my conceptual understanding pertaining to heat & temperature correct?

From what I've understood: Heat is the total sum of translational energy possessed by individual atoms in an object. Temperature is the average translational energy possessed by individual atoms ...
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1answer
88 views

Difference between a “source dipole” and a “force dipole”

I know quite well what a dipole is and in general what multipole moments are (in the context of, for instance, electrodynamics). What I find myself confused by is something called a "force dipole" in ...
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3answers
217 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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5answers
124 views

A reference frame is any coordinate system or just a set of Cartesian axes?

In Physics the idea of a reference frame is one important idea. In many texts I've seem, a reference frame is not defined explicitly, but rather there seems to be one implicit definition that a ...
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1answer
44 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
88 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
75 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
28 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
31 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
59 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
35 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
47 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
78 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
67 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
70 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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1answer
3k 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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2answers
9k views

Convective and Diffusive terms in Navier Stokes Equations

My question has 2 parts: I just followed the derivation of Navier Stokes (for Control Volume CFD analysis) and was able to understand most parts. However, the book I use (by Versteeg) does not ...
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3answers
250 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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3answers
72 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
34 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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2answers
78 views

What is to be considered a “body” in physics?

Well, the question says it all; is there a definition of body in physics? What is to be considered a physical object and what it cannot?
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1answer
58 views

Statistical mechanics vs. many-body theory

Where is the basic difference of statistical mechanics with many-body physics? What are the systems which cannot be studied in statistical mechanics but in many body theory? After all we know ...
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1answer
52 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
23 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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1answer
66 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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2answers
58 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
57 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 ...
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2answers
70 views

Name for Earth?

What is the proper word for 'Earth', as in 'Solar' and 'Lunar'? I cannot find this anywhere; I am guessing there is a word that starts with geo?
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3answers
5k 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 ...
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3answers
96 views

What is meant by phase, phase difference, in (and out of) phase in wave terminology?

What is meant by phase, phase difference, in (and out of) phase in wave terminology? How do you get the relation $$y=A\sin(\omega t + \phi)?$$ Since the graph of sin function is identical to that of a ...
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4answers
6k views

Torque vs Moment

I was wondering, why in Newtonian physics torque is called "torque" while in static mechanics they call it "moment"? I prefer by far the term "torque", for not only it sounds strong, but also ...
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2answers
124 views

Is internal symmetry the same as gauge symmetry?

This is more a terminology question. I have seen that some people differentiate between the two types of symmetry: internal symmetry and gauge symmetry (of a field theory). Is there a difference (in ...
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1answer
106 views

Eigenfunctions of Schrödinger equation

Why are solutions of the Schrödinger equation called eigenfunctions? For an electron moving in one dimensional lattice the eigenfunctions are given by$$\psi(x)=u_k(x)e^{ikx}.$
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346 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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3answers
1k views

If an atom is fully ionized by removing all electrons, is it still an atom?

This is a question about terminology. To me, it's clear that the nucleus of an atom is still an atom. But a comment by Willie Wong at Is nature symmetric between particles and antiparticles? raises ...
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2answers
99 views

What is the difference between leptons and baryons?

I am learning about the formation of the first atoms and, from what I am reading, before heavy particles, like neutrons and protons could form, there were already other types of particles, called ...
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1answer
45 views

What is a self adjusting force?

What is a self adjusting force? I searched it everywhere on internet but not got my answer and I have no other source to get its answer except this site so please help me.
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3answers
114 views

Kinematic Viscosity

How would you define kinematic viscosity? What does it physically represent? Around the Internet I've found it defined as just a ratio, and that's it. I saw in an answer that I can think of it as ...
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5answers
2k views

Why are electromagnetic waves called waves even though they don't travel through a medium?

If waves are defined as the oscillation of a medium, why are electromagnetic waves called waves as they do not need a medium to travel through?
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4answers
45 views

Who is said to do Work, me or the body?

If I subject my force to a body and it is displaced then the work is said to be done. What is that work done by? Is it said to be done by me or that body?
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1answer
34 views

Mutually Commutative

What is the definition of a Mutually Commutative set of operators? I've found articles describing a complete set of mutually commutative operators, but I can't actually find what mutually commutative ...
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2answers
46 views

Is a constant transformation still considered a gauge transformation?

I've never even considered the possibility that a constant transformation would not qualify as a gauge transformation. But I'm reading a paper that seems to make exactly this distinction. In ...
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1answer
66 views

Why oobleck does not obey Newtonian dynamics? [duplicate]

In the following post we can see that some guys are walking on Non-Newtonian fluids. As far as I know that, we can not predict the exact amount of strain if we predict some forces. therefore the curve ...
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36 views

Motion Integrals of a Particle in a Force Field

I am trying to wrap my head around the following problem: A point particle is moving in a field, where its potential energy is U=-α/r. Find first motion integrals. In our university we have no ...