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

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1answer
115 views

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics?

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics? I have read the wikipedia article and David Tong's lectures notes, but I didn't understand how an effective potential simplifies a situation or ...
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2answers
90 views

What does it mean by saying the generators of translations transform as vectors under the Lorentz Group?

The commutator of generators of Lorentz transformation and translation is as follow: $$[M^{\mu\nu},P^\sigma]=i(P^\mu\eta^{\nu\sigma}-P^\nu\eta^{\mu\sigma} ).$$ Then from this we usually say that the ...
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2answers
63 views

Is escape velocity really a velocity?

The term escape velocity is quite common to us. But we know velocity is a dimension dependent on the direction. But the escape velocity has same value irrespective of from where it is thrown from the ...
2
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1answer
236 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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0answers
24 views

Electromagnetic transfer function

In a paper on the superlens, I came across the term of "transfer function". I understand that the transfer function relates the output to a given input, but I've been unable to find a formula for the ...
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2answers
149 views

Rigorous distinction between quasiparticles and collective excitations

I would like to hear your opinion on the question whether there is an accepted distinction between both concepts in condensed matter physics. I would tend to use the word quasiparticle for dressed ...
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1answer
60 views

What is meant by a preliminary run at the LHC?

I am a bit confused over the meaning of "Preliminary run" when referring to the LHC experiments CMS and ATLAS. For example in this summary, Figure 2 refers to both the CMS $19.7\ \mathrm{fb^{-1}}$ ...
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1answer
191 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 ...
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0answers
15 views

What's the difference between frequency, spectral and cepstral domains?

I have a hard time teasing apart the conceptual difference between these three domains, and constantly mix them up in my head. I've been reading up on it, but I can't wrap my head around it. a ...
2
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1answer
41 views

Quadrature in quantum optics

I am reading a chapter about Squeezed state, and came across this word, quadrature, which I have never seen before in the book. Here is the quote from that chapter. " A general class of ...
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2answers
282 views

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space?

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space? In particular, I notices that Lagrangians are defined over configuration space and Hamiltonians over phase space. Liouville's ...
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6answers
970 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 ...
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3answers
17k views

What is the difference between angular speed and tangential speed in a circular motion?

I was looking a long time for the way the equations of this two speeds are obtained, and i found pretty much nothing important, so can someone explain how are those obtained, and which is the ...
2
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1answer
51 views

Is UV catastrophe same as IR catastrophe?

I am currently studying quantum physics from Serwey-jewet. Where in the topic of Planck's law, infrared catastrophe is alternatively used for UV catastrophe while explaining how Plancks constant ...
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1answer
39 views

Do gauge bosons really transform according to the adjoint representation of the gauge group?

Its commonly said that gauge bosons transform according to the adjoint representation of the corresponding gauge group. For example, for $SU(2)$ the gauge bosons live in the adjoint $3$ dimensional ...
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0answers
35 views

What does 'easily reversed' mean in the NIST spectral database? [closed]

Cross posted to http://engineering.stackexchange.com/q/3303/ I'm trying to do some processing of optical emission spectra from sputtering plasmas, and am confused by what NIST means by 'easily ...
2
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1answer
59 views

What operation does a beam splitter apply?

What is the unitary matrix equivalent to the operation of a beam splitter? I'm asking because I've seen different matrices used and was wondering if the term is just ambiguous or if there's an agreed ...
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0answers
49 views

Dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory

What is the difference between dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory? I read that in QFT there is no possibility to keep the two things distinct because of a problem with the separability of ...
2
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1answer
66 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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3answers
443 views

In the double slit experiment what, exactly, is a slit?

I have seen and read several times about the double slit experiment, that an electron (or even a molecule (!) as I found out later) behaves like a wave that swaps over those slits. However I wonder ...
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0answers
23 views

Measurement of drag (?) tension between two surfaces

I want to know if there are (reasonably inexpensive) devices to measure the tension between two surfaces. Beware of my terminology: the first help I need is to actually formulate my question ...
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1answer
39 views

What is “forward peaking”?

In "Research and Development for a Gadolinium Doped Water Cherenkov Detector" the phrase "forward peaking" is used to describe a signal. This comes up in lots of other contexts too, but I still can't ...
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2answers
214 views

What is meant by “unique direction” in most of the arguments in application of Gauss' Law?

This term is really bothering me a lot. While explaining the radial direction of electric field of a uniformly charged sphere, my book writes: Notice the use of argument of symmetry. There is no ...
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3answers
14k views

Is time a Scalar or a Vector?

In Wikipedia it's said that time is a scalar quantity. But its hard to understand that how? As stated that we consider only the magnitude of time then its a scalar. But on basis of time we define ...
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5answers
5k views

Why and how does negative velocity exist?

Why and how does negative velocity exist? I have read on the internet about negative velocity but I still don't understand how it can even exist since time is positive and so is length. By doing some ...
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1answer
53 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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1answer
40 views

Superscript on density matrix

I have been asked in homework to solve the optical bloch equation for the initial condition of $\rho_{22}=0,\rho_{12}=0$. Professor gave a hint of the general equation and let us carry it from here. ...
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2answers
126 views

Is kinetic theory part of statistical mechanics?

Some years ago from now I've seem some basic details about what was then called "kinetic theory of gases" where the study of property of gases was made by statistical considerations about the momentum ...
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2answers
46 views

Difference between a reversible change and a reversible process?

Question In thermodynamics what is the difference between a reversible change and a reversible process? Additional information I am new to the topic of thermodynamics and getting confused about ...
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0answers
17 views

Radial excitation and orbital-angular momentum excitation

Sorry. Just want to make sure, but what does radial excitation and orbital-angular excitation mean in the context of bound states? Just higher $n$ and $\ell$ quantum number?
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2answers
37 views

Is net work and total work same?

According to my text book Total Work = Delta Kinetic Energy = KEf - KEi But then work is defined to be dot product of Force (vector) and Displacement (vector). Also to my knowledge work is ...
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2answers
123 views

Friction force in rolling motion

In rolling without slipping motion we know that the friction acting is static friction and so we treat it as an unknown while solving equations of dynamics. Question: Is the static friction during ...
2
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1answer
77 views

Is there a scientific term for the right-hand-(grip-)rule?

To illustrate and remember the direction of rotation around an axis defined by a vector as it happens to be in some fields of physics, one can employ the right-hand-rule: (image from here) Is ...
4
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2answers
199 views

What is the difference between Chiral anomaly, ABJ anomaly, and Axial anomaly?

I get confuse with these three terms: Chiral anomaly, ABJ anomaly, and Axial anomaly. I can not find standard definition of these three. Is there anyone can describe precisely?
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3answers
87 views

Gravitational acceleration

'What is difference between free fall acceleration g and gravitational acceleration a?***a is with subscript g.In my textbook it is written that "free fall acceleration = gravitational acceleration - ...
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0answers
48 views

What is primitive divergence?

As in the title, what is primitive divergence? How is it distinguished from normal divergence? As a followup, what is a primitive divergent graph in a theory? Some simple examples?
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1answer
93 views

What is a weak solution of the MHD equations?

Many papers concerning solutions to the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) equations (eg. Osher, 1984) say that one is generally interested in finding weak solutions. Sometimes they are even called global ...
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1answer
65 views

What are “correlations”?

When working with realistic two-body hamiltonians, a direct diagonalization is almost always imposible. Thus one usually takes a procedure which yields an approximate solution. A well known approach ...
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2answers
269 views

What is the essential difference between a resonance and a particle?

Let me start by explaining my particle physics background is very patchy, so this question may not be as coherent as I would like it to be. In general terms, what is the difference between a ...
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2answers
655 views

What is the difference between a “model” and a “theory”?

In my past questions I have used the terms "model" and "theory" interchangeably. So we have statements along the lines of The Standard Model is our best theory of particle physics but I have also ...
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2answers
53 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?
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3answers
111 views

“Complete” confusion

The word "complete" seems to be used in several distinct ways. Perhaps my confusion is as much linguistic as mathematical? A basis, by definition, spans the space; some books call this "complete" -- ...
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1answer
49 views

What is meant by “the superpotential is not renormalized”?

Reading about supersymmetry I often read the phrase because of the non-renormalization theorems the superpotential is not renormalized. I would like someone to be more explicit on what is ...
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0answers
17 views

Is there a name for the squared refractive index?

In studying wave propagation through multilayers, the squared refractive index $n^2$ is a more pertinent parameter than $n$ itself. Is there a received name for $n^2$? Of course, as long as there is ...
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3answers
414 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 ...
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1answer
52 views

Is there a name for the linear quantity corresponding to the (quadratic) “interval $\Delta s^2$”?

Recently it has been affirmed here (again) that the quantity called "interval (also 'spacetime interval' or 'invariant interval')" is referring to two (in general distinct) events as arguments, such ...
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1answer
90 views

Is 'Boltzon' an accepted name for particles following Maxwell-Boltzmann (MB) statistics?

In my curriculum during one of my statistical mechanics visiting lecture classes, our teacher was referring comparatively macro particles following MB statistics as "Boltzon". But I have searched ...
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2answers
100 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
7k 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 ...