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

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1answer
54 views

Two-component formalism and four-component formalism [closed]

When deriving the Dirac equation for spin-1/2 particles, we realize that the wave function must be four-component. In some works, people use two-component wave function for calculation. So, my ...
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1answer
103 views

What is the difference between a parameter, a variable, and an operator in QM?

On the question why time isn't an operator, people will usually say that time is a parameter in QM (Time as a Hermitian operator in QM?) and not a variable. Can someone please distinguish between a ...
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2answers
98 views

What is a full cycle in damped oscillation?

Maybe it seems a dumb question, but I can't understand what the cycle in a damped oscillation is? Let's take an example: In harmonic motion, one cycle is the smallest distinguishable part of wave ...
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1answer
110 views

When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles were called Majorana fermions?

Since a number of years, the field of superconductivity has a growing obsession with Majorana fermions. I wonder how far back we can go: When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles ...
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2answers
155 views

How to tell the order of a Feynman diagram?

How can we know the order of a Feynman diagram just from the pictorial representation? Is it the number of vertices divided by 2? For example, I know that electnro-positron annihilaiton is first ...
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1answer
16 views

What are pressure threshold patches called in professional terminology?

I am making a small combustion chamber, and need to measure the pressure when a combustion occurs. This is a hobby project, so I don't have enough money to buy a dP cell with a remote membrane for ...
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2answers
60 views

What does it mean to “contract” a tensor identity?

I'm taking a GR course at the moment, completely stumped on this step here: starting from the Bianchi identity: Then it says "Contracting the Bianchi identity..." How does this work and what ...
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2answers
140 views

Why is static electricity called static?

They called it "static" because "it doesn’t go anywhere". In order to create static electricity, you have to rub two different materials. When you rub them, the electrons move. So, why is it called ...
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2answers
78 views

What does the “UV” in “UV completion” stand for? [closed]

What does the "UV" in "UV completion" stand for? Also, I'm not sure which tags I should tag this question with.
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1answer
6k 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?
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0answers
63 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
39 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
62 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
97 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
168 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
147 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
237 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
166 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
52 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
106 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 ...
4
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1answer
94 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
60 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
53 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
62 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
40 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 ...
2
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1answer
88 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
91 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
107 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
77 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
4k 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
10k 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
306 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
136 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
39 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
65 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
61 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
27 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 ...
2
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1answer
71 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
64 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
2k 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
109 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
81 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
7k 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
127 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
7k 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
144 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
107 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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3answers
357 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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2answers
140 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 ...