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

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94 views

Why can't we precisely define physics? [closed]

While reading a textbook, I came across this statement: "A precise definition of physics is neither possible nor necessary." I was curious why it is not possible but the textbook never ...
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4answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
23 views

Motion in oscillating field: expanding in powers of $\xi$ [closed]

I'm reading an excerpt from Landau/Lifschitz's Mechanics book about motion in oscillating fields. Two equations for the motion of a particle with mass $m$ are set out: \begin{equation} m\ddot{x} = ...
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1answer
383 views

Does “finite” include zero?

Infinity, is clearly not finite. But there is some dissent on whether or not zero is finite. I have seen authors use "finite" to indicate the value of $0$ is excluded as well as infinity. Is there ...
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0answers
29 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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1answer
55 views

Can someone explain what's the difference between all these terms in “Simple Words” with their “applications”? [closed]

I'm very confused between all these terms. Can someone explain what's the difference between Classical Mechanics, Relativistic Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Field Theory, ...
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1answer
24 views

Object moving with 2 linear accelerations

Say I have an object moving with an acceleration of 5 m/s$^2$. At a certain point X, due to some forces, the acceleration of the object changes from 5 m/s$^2$ to 2 m/s$^2$. Would this change in ...
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1answer
52 views

What does “Standard Model” really refer to?

I am reading the arXiv published paper by Frank Wilczek called "Physics in 100 Years". Apparently, this paper is the printed form of a talk given at Brown University earlier this year (2015). Right ...
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1answer
119 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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3answers
214 views

About field gradient

I read the term field gradient in most of the article about magnetic field. I search it online but most of the explanation is about the math. I wonder in physics, what the gradient field really mean? ...
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0answers
39 views

Can anybody explain about phase shift and phase spectrum terms in case of multidimensional signal?

I know about phase of a 1D signal, but when I move into higher dimensions like 2D or 3D etc, it becomes headache to grasp the concept. What do the terms "phase shift" and "phase spectrum" mean in ...
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1answer
73 views

Laplace-Beltrami vs d'Alembert operators in flat vs curved space-time

I am confused with the difference between Laplace-Beltrami (LB) and d'Alembert operators in flat/curved space-time. d'Alembert operator in flat space-time (Minkowski) is defined as $$\Box= ...
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1answer
40 views

How to compute phases of the signals?

Let us take 4 signals which are sinusoidal and periodic. Suppose you are given a phase spectrum or (/and) equation of the (main) signal only and you are said that the given (main) signal is formed of ...
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1answer
420 views

“Hard wall”/ “soft wall”

I have encountered those terms in various places. As I understand it, "soft wall" can correspond to a smooth cutoff of some spacetime, while "hard wall" can be a sharp one, which can be described in ...
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2answers
39 views

What does excitation in an atom mean?

This is not regarding the definition of excitation itself. What I'm having trouble with is the difference between "electron excitation" and "atom excitation". When I electron inside the atom gets ...
3
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3answers
2k 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 ...
3
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1answer
76 views

What is the precise definition of “cadence” in astronomy?

I'm finding it difficult to find a precise definition of "cadence" in astronomy. This term is commonly used to describe the data of astronomical surveys. For instance, one of the data products for the ...
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3answers
65 views

Does lithium-6 “decay” when hit by a neutron?

I am talking about the nuclear reaction $$ ^6\text{Li} + n \rightarrow\ ^4\text{He} +\ ^3\text{H} + 4.78\text{MeV} $$ A neutron hits a lithium-6 nucleus and together they form an alpha and triton ...
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3answers
58 views

What is nuclide notation referring to? Only the nucleus or the whole atom?

sorry that this is an easy question but I am just a bit confused about nuclide notation. When you say e.g. $^{240}_{94}\text{Pu}$, are you referring to the atom of $\text{Pu}$ or only its nucleus? It ...
0
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1answer
157 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 ...
0
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1answer
99 views

Square-Cube Law?

I've heard about something called the square-cube law. What is it? All I know of it is that it has something to do with mass of large objects and their gravitational influence.
0
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1answer
32 views

What does “interact via strong force” mean?

I was just wondering if the words "strong force" and "strong interaction" are interchangeable? Also, these are referring to "strong nuclear force", correct? Then what does it mean for particles to ...
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2answers
529 views

Should it be obvious that independent quantum states are composed by taking the tensor product?

My text introduces multi-quibt quantum states with the example of a state that can be "factored" into two (non-entangled) substates. It then goes on to suggest that it should be obvious1 that the ...
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1answer
53 views

What is space charge and how to calculate it?

I want to clarify the meaning of space charge. What I know is that the space charge is the total charge in a small region in space. I really confuse this in the ion beam context. Many text book says ...
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2answers
88 views

Making sense out of covariance and contravariance

I just read about co- and contravariant vectors and I am not sure that I got it right: If we imagine that we have a n-dimensional manifold $M$ then a tangent space is spanned by the vectors ...
2
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2answers
44 views

Why does one call $B$ the magnetic induction?

When one studies electrostatics we have the electric field $\mathbf{E}$. This object usually is introduced as a field produced by a configuration of charges such that the force on another charge $Q$ ...
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2answers
84 views

What is third cosmic velocity?

I have been studying Gravitation chapter and there I found one term : Third cosmic velocity which is also known as interstellar speed. So what is it ? What it really tells about? I tried to gather ...
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1answer
52 views

What's the difference between “Ohmic dissipation”, “Joule heating”, “ion drag” and “resistive heating”?

The following terms are sometimes used to refer to ... more or less ... the same thing by different people and in different contexts (electronic circuits vs. plasma physics, etc.): Ohmic ...
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3answers
123 views

What is a “Reversed Effective Force”?

I have some confusion about the "Reversed effective force" as it appears in the derivation of D'Alembert's principle. In Goldstein d'Alembert's principle is given as: $(F-\dot{p}) \cdot \delta r = ...
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0answers
29 views

What is the correct terminology for a “symplectic covariant” equation?

A Lorentz covariant equation is one that takes the same form even when a Lorentz transformation is applied to each variable. Lorentz covariance is generally made manifest by writing the equation with ...
2
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2answers
114 views

What are global and local gauge invariance defined as they are?

I'm sorry for the triviality of my questions. Why is $\bar{\psi} = e^{i \theta}\bar{\psi}$, where $\theta$ is a real number, used as the global gauge transformation? Why $e^{i \theta}$; what's the ...
2
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1answer
297 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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2answers
250 views

Quantum hadrodynamics

What is quantum hadrodynamics? Can anybody give a proper explanation? What are the standard books and sources of information that can be found on the internet for better understanding?
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1answer
65 views

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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1answer
67 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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1answer
551 views

Name of the process that causes ice to melt under pressure and refreeze after

I remember a physics experiment from school where a wire with weights on each end was placed over a block of ice. The pressure of the wire caused the ice to melt underneath and refreeze once the ...
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0answers
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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2answers
75 views

Are the words “coincident” and “simultaneous” considered synonymous? Else, please explain the difference

In discussions, experimental and thought-experimental descriptions (especially concerning the Theory of Relativity) the words "coincident" and "simultaneous" appear, notably for instance in the ...
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1answer
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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2answers
47 views

On Elementary Particles

The mass of positron and electron are same. Also their charges are equal in magnitude but opposite in nature. Then why positron is not called one of the elementary particles? Is this only because it ...
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2answers
34 views

What is the formula of power of an optical instrument?

I have searched and found that the power of a lens, with surrounding medium of refractive index $n$, is $n/f$ where $f$ is the focal length, the formula is $$n/f=(n'-n)/R1 + (n-n')/R2.$$ But in my ...
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2answers
165 views

What exactly is meant by saying that two events had been “simultaneous in an inertial frame”?

In order to address my question based on a concrete example setup let the following two separate events be given: participants $A$ and $J$ encountering each other in passing (additional participants ...
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1answer
53 views

Lorentz invariance vs. covariance

I am a bit confused whether relativistic theory is Lorentz invariant or covariant. And please explain why?
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0answers
42 views

How to get from $E_8 \rightarrow E_7 \rightarrow E_6 \rightarrow …$

I read in section 2 of this paper : "There is a well-defined chain to descent from $E_8$ to smaller groups by chopping off a node of the Dynkin diagram." What exactly is here referring to ...
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1answer
125 views

Vorticity versus Viscosity

For a work project I need to revive my aerodynamics knowledge again. Can somebody help me with the distinction between vorticity and viscosity. If a flow vorticity is not equal to zero, the flow is ...
0
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1answer
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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2answers
95 views

What unit system does Fahrenheit belong to?

Wikipedia's page for Imperial Units does not list Fahrenheit. The corresponding page for SI Units lists Kelvin as an SI unit, and Celcius as a derived SI unit. This leads me to believe that ...
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2answers
45 views

What is the difference between the potential $V$ and the effective potential $V_{eff}$?

What is the difference between the potential $V$ and the effective potential $V_{eff}$? Some times when solving problems, an effective potential $V_{eff}$ is defined and its usually equal to the ...
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4answers
2k views

What is a peryton?

It is a bit hard to find an accessible explanation online. I find the word "peryton" in some papers about radio astronomy, here's one example: http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.05245 I don't think they refer ...
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0answers
52 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 ...