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

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2
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2answers
61 views

Where does the term “boost” come from for rotation-free transformations?

I had never seen rotation free transformations called "boosts" (I think I have it right) before reading some questions here. I'm too old perhaps. I have not found the etymology after some searching, ...
0
votes
3answers
88 views

What does the term 'equation of motion' refer to?

What does the term equation of motion refer to? If I am asked a question of the form 'What is the equation of motion of this object?', what should I write?
2
votes
0answers
80 views

Why is the projective symmetry group (PSG) called projective?

As discussed by Prof.Wen in the context of the quantum orders of spin liquids, PSG is defined as all the transformations that leave the mean-field ansatz invariant, IGG is the so-called invariant ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Why is a dipole moment called a dipole moment

The General Formula for a moment is the following one: $$ \vec{M} = \vec{r} \times \vec{F} $$ However the formula for a dipole moment is this one: $$ \vec{p} = Q \vec{d} $$ How comes this is still ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Meaning of “Simple” in Simple Pendulum and Simple Harmonic Motion?

I have gone through the Phys.SE question Why is simple harmonic motion called so?. From the 1st answer of this Question it seems to me that another type of "Harmonic motion" is "Damped Harmonic ...
2
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0answers
31 views

What is Jacobian about the “Jacobian Edge” in $E_\mathrm{T}$ distributions?

Particle physicists often talk of a "Jacobian Edge" in distributions, i.e. when looking at the $E_\mathrm{T}$ distribution of $W \to e \nu$ decays at rest. How is this related to the Jacobian ...
1
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2answers
55 views

Origin of the word Permittivity

Who coined the word "permittivity"? It appears that first usage was in 1887. Please cite your source.
2
votes
0answers
30 views

Archimedes' principle: innacurate terminology? [duplicate]

All around I read that buoyancy is numerically equal to the weight of fluid displaced by a submerged object, the volume of displaced fluid being equal to that of the submerged portion (Wikipedia). ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

How to pronounce $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$

It seems that $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$ (and its multiples) is commonly used as the unit of mass in particle physics. For example, David Griffiths uses it quite naturally in Introduction to Elementary ...
5
votes
1answer
56 views

Phase space appellation

Does anyone know why they called the momentum-position space the phase space in the first place? To clarify what I mean a bit more, I'll give you an example: The name configuration space for the ...
-1
votes
1answer
62 views

What does this notation mean? [duplicate]

Terminology question. Reading this, in the middle of the second page, when it says Left-handed quarks form 3 (3; 2; + 1 6 ) multiplets Qn (n = 1; 2; 3); What does this (3;2;+1/6) mean?
3
votes
2answers
120 views

What are threshold corrections?

As the title goes, what are threshold corrections in quantum field theory? In particular, I would be glad if a good reference is provided. Standard QFT books such as Peskin, Weinberg, etc seem to ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Off-diagonal terms of the Husimi $Q$ function?

The Husimi $Q$ function of a quantum state $\rho $ is defined as $ Q (\alpha)=\langle \alpha \vert \rho \vert \alpha \rangle $, where $\alpha = (x, p) $ is a phase space coordinate and $\vert \alpha ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

Hot Big Bang vs. Big Bang

This should hopefully be a quick one. Is there any difference between the Big Bang Theory and the Hot Big Bang Theory? Around Cambridge I hear everyone using "Hot Big Bang Theory", for example ther ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Is there a technical term for “meaningfulness” of mathematical operations?

Is there a technical term for "meaningfulness" of mathematical operations? For example, adding vectors that represent forces has a meaning regardless of the coordinate frame, but an elementwise ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

If the axis of rotation is fixed, is it ok to say clockwise torque?

I know that the direction of torque is along the axis of rotation, but would it be acceptable to say, for example considering a vertical thin rod in the x-y plane with a force acting on the bottom end ...
4
votes
2answers
311 views

Where does this term “shell” with prefix “on-/off-” come from?

Is there some historical reasons or is there a specific reason behind it? This question is connected to: Why on-shell vs. off-shell matters?
-1
votes
1answer
109 views

Looking for the name of a physical phenomenon in fluids' mechanics

I have not even an idea about how I would search for that on Google, that is why I'm trying my chance here. As electrical engineer I have no clue about fluid mechanics. We all now that when water is ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

What is the principle of equivalence in thermodynamics?

I've been searching for this for a while. There is a principle of equivalence in general relativity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivalence_principle But I need the principle of equivalence in ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Gravity force and dark energy [duplicate]

If gravity is a fundamental force which bends spacetime and dark energy is energy which stretches spacetime, what is the difference between the terms force and energy?
2
votes
2answers
121 views

Why “Dark Energy” is called energy instead of force?

The overly simplified explanation I'm giving myself right now is dark energy causes the opposite of what gravity does, that's why the universe is expanding. Now where gravity is a force, why dark ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Why is the Faraday Tensor derived from the Lorentz force?

If we start from the Lorentz force, $$\textbf{F}=q\textbf{E} +q\textbf{v}\times\textbf{B}$$ and use the four velocity u$^{\mu}$ and the four momentum p$^{\nu}$, then we get to ...
0
votes
3answers
75 views

Commutator summation notation

I have the relation $ e^L M e^{-L}=\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac 1{n!} [L,M]_{(n)}$ where $L$ and $M$ are operators. What does the subscript $n$ after the commutator bracket denote?
0
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0answers
21 views

What is Fermi energy and Fermi level? [duplicate]

What is meant by Fermi level and Fermi energy? And what is the difference between the two?
4
votes
1answer
144 views

Which transformations are canonical?

Which transformations are canonical? Why do canonical transformations preserve the measure of integration in phase space?
3
votes
1answer
224 views

Why have $n$, $\ell$, $m_\ell$, $m_s$ been picked as quantum number symbols $\mathbf{\text{in this order}}$?

I’m learning about electron configurations and don’t quite understand why $n$, $\ell$, $m_\ell$, $m_s$ have been picked as symbols for the quantum numbers. As far as I understand it, the principal ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between steady state and equilibrium?

In semiconductor physics, what is the difference between steady state and equilibrium. How analysis of devices varies in these processes?
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Should theory be the appropriate term? [duplicate]

Should theory be the appropriate term? I mean, for example, because of the quantum field theory we have been able to find the subatomic particles that it theorized and make the Standard Model. Why ...
2
votes
2answers
148 views

Quantum Philosophy a la John Bell

I recently discovered this website http://www.quantumphil.org/ and wondering whether Quantum Philosophy is an actual field, or just an aspect of QM? Apologies if this is in the wrong place.
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Actions at a distance vs. contact interaction

The ancestors could not imagine an action at a distance (in German: "Fernwirkung"). Today physicists don't take serious its opposite anymore (in German: "Kontaktwechselwirkung"). So my first question ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Valley meaning explanation for foreigner

English is not my native language and I have some hard time translating this word. I was searching in couple dictionaries(both paper and online) and could not find it. Could anyone provide me ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Differentiating between mass number (A) and activity (A) in a nomenclature/glossary [closed]

I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this question, but as it's related to the terminology of nuclear physics I thought it would probably be a logical place to start. I'm currently writing ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

How is the set of displacement operators best called?

Displacement operators $\hat D(x,p), \ \ x,p\in\mathbb{R},$ follow a composition rule $$D(x,p) D(x',p') = \exp\frac{i(px'-xp')}2 D(x+x',p+p').$$ Because of the extraneous phase factor, the set of all ...
1
vote
2answers
108 views

Terminology for line integral of magnetic field

One of the quantities appearing in the integral form of Maxwell's Equations is the line integral of the magnetic field around a closed loop. (The relevant equation states that this is equal to the ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

The exact definition of conjugate momentum density

After checking various websites, I've seen the conjugate momentum density defined as either: \begin{align*} P_r ~=~ \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{A}_r} \end{align*} or \begin{align*} P_r ...
0
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0answers
50 views

Difference between RPA and generalized RPA

The random phase approximation (RPA) is an approximation method in condensed matter physics and in nuclear physics. What is the difference between RPA and generalized RPA?
0
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0answers
22 views

What is “thermal undulation” in the context of lipid bilayers?

What is thermal undulation in the context of lipid bilayers? Is it another word for "thermal fluctuation"?
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Single-channel vs multi-channel scattering

I am studying quantum scattering and stumbled upon the "scattering channel" and "single- and multi-channel scattering" terms. However, I didn't manage to find any sufficiently formal definitions of ...
4
votes
2answers
72 views

Definition of quantum anharmonicity

I have been reading research papers in mathematical physics for some months now, and I've seen the the term "anharmonic oscillator" quite frequently. At first I assumed that given a Schrodinger ...
1
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1answer
26 views

Equivalent temperature: laser and cell containing Rb

What's the meaning of "equivalent temperature" related to a cell containing rubidium and crossed by laser?
1
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0answers
162 views

Morphisms between chiral CFTs

This is a question about terminology. Given two vertex algebras $V_1$ and $V_2$ (= chiral CFTs), there are two kinds of maps $V_1\to V_2$ that one might want to consider. 1) Morphisms of VOAs that ...
-3
votes
1answer
55 views

What is a phrase for testing for a certain result? [closed]

Is there a word or phrase for when someone is testing for a certain result thereby skewing his findings?
5
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1answer
173 views

Why the speed of light is represented by $c$? [closed]

In almost every textbook, I've found that the speed of light is $c \approx 3 \times 10^8\: \mathrm{m/s}$. I wonder why it's just $c$ ?
2
votes
4answers
11k 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
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0answers
26 views

Is there a generic term for orbital groups such as $e_g$ and $t_{2g}$?

I am looking for a generic term for sets of atomic orbitals (viz. spherical harmonics) which are grouped by crystal symmetry. The most familiar examples would be $e_g$ and $t_{2g}$ (in cubic ...
3
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

Defining left and right independent of a human body?

Is it possible to define right and left independent of the asymmetric human body? I am unable to think of such a definition without circular reasoning. Example: If you are facing east, your left ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Any difference between “Mueller matrix” and “Scattering matrix”?

I find in some references 4x4 Mueller matrix and in other references 4x4 Scattering matrix. Are they different or identical? If they are different, I would like to know the book or any research ...
0
votes
3answers
124 views

Meaning of invariable

Invariable means which is not variable i.e. can't be changed. Recently I have seen a sentence when reading a chapter based on measurement: The accepted standards must be accessible to those who ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

Why are “quadratures” called this way?

In quantum optics (and hence also cv quantum information), given the annihilation and creation operators of the electromagnetic fields $a$ and $a^{\dagger}$, the "position" and "momentum" operators ...