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

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2
votes
2answers
102 views

How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ and $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$? [closed]

I'm French. I would like to know: How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ : "A scalar B" or "A dot B" ? How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$ : "A vectorial B", "A vector B", "A cross ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

Difference in “momentum” names in Lagrangian mechanics

In the context of Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, the following names keep occurring in most textbooks, which confuse me a lot, are they different in any way? Momentum Generalized ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

What's the symbol for the antiparticle of the delta plus baryon?

It can't be $\Delta^-$ since that is another particle also made up of quarks (not antiquarks). I can think of four possibilities: $\overline\Delta^+$ $\overline{\Delta^+}$ $\overline\Delta^-$ ...
0
votes
2answers
61 views

When referring to weights and mass of weights in a physics laboratory, do we use the term mass or weights?

What terminology is used to refer to weights/ mass/ weight of mass/ mass of weights when referring to the mass of weights in a physics report? My question is more of the weights that we use in the ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Differences between symmetric, Hermitian, self-adjoint, and essentially self-adjoint operators

I am a physicist. I always heard physicists used the terminology "symmetric", "Hermitian", "self-adjoint", and "essentially self-adjoint" operators interchangeably. Actually what is the difference ...
1
vote
0answers
36 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
132 views

Group representations as vectors and isomorphism between weights and matrix generators

This might be something basic, but it is unclear to me. So I am used to work with representations of groups as matrices. These matrices represent the structure of the Lie algebra by satisfying the ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

What does “shortwave radiation” mean to a meteorologist?

I'm have an empirical model developed using surface observations of radiation (400-1100nm). I tend to think of this as visible, near infrared, and a little bit of shortwave infrared. I now need to ...
1
vote
1answer
75 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
267 views

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation?

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation? Seems like a simple enough question to answer right? And if just yesterday I were to encounter this, I'd have given a definite answer. But I've ...
2
votes
2answers
260 views

Representations of Lie algebras in physics

Why is an invariant vector subspace sometimes called a representation? For example in Lie algebras, say su(3), the subspace characterized by the highest weight (1,0) is an irreducible representation ...
1
vote
3answers
213 views

Generic term comprising everything that can be represented with a number and a unit?

I am looking for the generic term comprising all of the following: $23.42\,\text{m}$ $200\,\text{K}$ $123\,\text{MeV}$ $ħ$ with other words, everything that can be reasonably represented ...
2
votes
3answers
74 views

In terms of physics, does the phrase “time slows down” mean the same thing as “things happen more slowly?”

The common definition of "time" is a type of measurement, like size. But the sentence "size gets bigger" doesn't make any sense. Is "time slows down" an odd phrasing of "events occur more slowly" or ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Long/short-range interaction

A potential of the form $r^{-n}$ is often considered long-range, while one that decays exponentially is considered short-range. Is this characterization simply relative/conventional, or is there a ...
10
votes
3answers
893 views

Planets and Pluto? Neptune?

If one of the rules to be a planet is that it needs to clear ALL objects from their orbit, does this also make Neptune a non-planet? Since it has thus far failed to clear Pluto from it's orbit. Or ...
-1
votes
1answer
46 views

Angular displacement after full rotation

I was wondering is why angular displacement isn't $0$ after $n$ full rotations?
2
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0answers
45 views

Which scientists have managed to name their laws/terms after themselves? [closed]

It would be pretty vain for someone to name a scientific law, unit, or term after themselves. "Newtons" as the name for the measurement of force, for example, was adopted in 1948, so I don't expect ...
4
votes
3answers
482 views

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics?

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics for states which are not eigenstates of the Hamiltonian i.e. which do not have definite energies? Can a superposition state like ...
-2
votes
1answer
105 views

What is the name for the “nothing particle”? [closed]

What is the name for a particle with zero mass, zero charge, no strong force, no weak force and has no energy?
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Why is the specific notation used for term symbols useful?

This has bugged me for a long time. Term symbols describe electronic states of atoms which have well-defined total electronic angular momentum $J$ as well as total spin and orbital angular momenta ...
7
votes
1answer
116 views

Has the Nobel committee mixed up this years prizes for Physics and Chemistry? [closed]

The title of the question is tongue-in-cheek but the question remains: How does the Nobel committee delineate the fields when awarding work which is of such an inter-disciplinary nature. The chemistry ...
1
vote
3answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

What's the difference between hopping and tunneling?

My professor made a distinction between electron hopping (the closest wikipedia had an article on) and tunneling, saying that one (he didn't say which, but I assume hopping) was temperature dependent ...
0
votes
1answer
32 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
63 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
30 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
462 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

What does the term 'hyperbolic model' mean?

I am reading this non-linear discrete dynamical system paper. The authors mention the term hyperbolic model. What does that mean?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the specific meaning of “Fourier frequency” (as opposed to simply “frequency”)?

I've noticed that many journal articles (in optics) use the phrase "Fourier frequency" to describe, well, the frequency of something. Google scholar search for "Fourier frequency". Example: ...
2
votes
2answers
32 views

Meaning of SIS in accelerators

With reference to accelerator facilities, the term "SIS" is often used. e.g. SIS-100, SIS-300 etc. What does SIS stand for, in this context? (The last S is probably for Synchrotron) Google appears ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is 'restoring force' a particular type of force?

I have a question about the restoring force in elastic band or rope which confusing me for a long time. As I was told in high school physics, for an elastic band (or spring), if Hooke's law holds, we ...
26
votes
4answers
6k views

Are matrices and second rank tensors the same thing?

Tensors are mathematical objects that are needed in physics to define certain quantities. I have a couple of questions regarding them that need to be clarified: Are matrices and second rank tensors ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

How does Dirac form this conjugate imaginary equation?

On page 30 of Dirac's book $$\xi|P\rangle = a|P\rangle\tag{12}$$ He then says Suppose we have a solution of (12) and we form the conjugate imaginary equation, which will read $$\langle ...
7
votes
5answers
590 views

Is speed an intensive property?

I remember being taught in elementary physics that while it makes sense to add volumes, masses, or heat, it makes no sense to add temperatures. As I wanted to use that to illustate some other issue, ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Use of the term first order dependency

In a question I am doing it says: Show explicitly that the function $$y(t)=\frac{-gt^2}{2}+\epsilon t(t-1)$$ yields an action that has no first order dependency on $\epsilon$. Also my textbook ...
0
votes
1answer
75 views

Buoyancy / Drag Problem

Buoyancy / Drag Problem Just a little bit of help would be nice. I have a spherical particle of radius $R$ and density $\rho$, surrounded in a fluid of density $\phi$ and viscosity $\eta$. I'm ...
1
vote
2answers
266 views

Why is density an intensive property?

I am still trying to understand what are intensive and extensive properties. Possibly someone can give a pointer to a decent text (preferably on the web), as I am not too happy (to say the least) with ...
0
votes
1answer
49 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
190 views

Is a “shift in the meaning” of Accuracy and Precision occurring?

Accuracy and precision are among the most fundamental concepts in experimental physics, and, I always believed, completely unambiguous. Recently I found that the Wikipedia article on Accuracy and ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Why are Lagrangian subspaces called 'Lagrangian'?

I am wondering what the special role of Lagrangian subspaces (or submanifolds) are in mechanics. Do these subspaces have some sort of special property for which we have some sort of `Lagrangian ...
0
votes
4answers
45 views

Can the term «shadow» pertain to anything else than light? [closed]

Can the term shadow pertain to anything else than light? Feel free to interpret this question in the widest sense possible.
2
votes
2answers
166 views

Conservation laws and continuity equations

I'm a bit messed up with conservation laws and continuity equations. This is my understanding: A conservation law describes that a physical quantity $G$ is conserved with time. It does not prevent ...
5
votes
0answers
88 views

What does “P-wave” mean when referring to a particle?

In scattering theory, P wave means $l=1$, where $l$ is the azimuthal quantum number. However, what does P wave mean when referring to particle states? For example, in this paper (arXiv link), the ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Can Allan variance be generalized such that the “Oscillator model” is not presumed?

The definition of Allan variance, $\sigma^2[ \tau ]$, which relates to "stability of clocks" is described on the Wikipedia page as being derived in terms of an "Oscillator model": "The oscillator ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

How to determine the order of indications of a clock?

Given the description of a clock $\mathcal A$, as (1) a set $A$ of all (more than 2) distinct indications of this clock, in no particular order (where the individual indications contained in set ...
3
votes
3answers
259 views

Is it time or duration? [closed]

Taking this post: "Is there a proof of existence of time?", as a starting point. Therein was mentioned that there is confusion between: "time" and "flow of time". There was a comment (of mine) that ...
2
votes
2answers
231 views

Why is it called “annihilation”?

The term "annihilate" literally means "turn into nothing". However, when a particle and antiparticle collide, they clearly do not turn into nothing; they simply transform into different particles. ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

What is the work done against a force?

Suppose a particle travels a path $\gamma : I\subset \mathbb{R}\to \mathbb{R}^3$ subject to a force $\mathbf{F}: \mathbb{R}^3\to T\mathbb{R}^3$, then we know that we define the work done by the force ...
2
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3answers
146 views

Configuration manifolds and constraints

In Classical Mechanics there's this notion of configuration manifold. Although I've heard about that a lot and although I often use that concept, I'm not sure I really understand them well because ...
11
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8answers
10k 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 ...