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

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What is meant by a “c-number”?

In Chapter 2 of David Tong's QFT notes, he uses the term "c-number" without ever defining it. Here is the first place. However, it's easy to check by direct substitution that the left-hand side ...
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2answers
1k views

What do physicists mean when they say “speed of light”?

Does it make sense to say, "The speed of light varies?" Some may say right off the bat "Yes, it changes as a wave passes through a different medium." However, I'd like to say no, because when I hear ...
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0answers
89 views

Is the phrase “coupling constant” interchangable with “ strength of interactions”?

Can I use the terms coupling constant and strength of interactions, interchangeably, or are there more subtleties to the term coupling constant that I am not aware of? Coupling Constants from ...
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1answer
59 views

Is there a special name for thermodynamic process during which no work is performed?

Let $W$ denote the work done on a system during a thermodynamic process. Is there a commonly-accepted, dedicated term for a process during which $W=0$?
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1answer
29 views

5UDH Tandem electrostatic accelerator

What does UDH stands for in the name of an electrostatic accelerator 5UDH-2 Tandem accelerator? Does it is related to its working or just a trade mark?
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2answers
82 views

What is meant by the velocity of a star?

I recently read somewhere that among other things like size, radius, distance from earth, luminosity, age, etc of a star, velocity was another variable. What is exactly meant by the velocity of a ...
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2answers
184 views

The role of anharmonic oscillator(s) in Heisenberg's 1925 paper

I am talking about the most famous paper of Heisenberg, which I know from the translation of van der Waerden (Sources in Quantum mechanics, North Holland, 1967). After introducing matrix mechanics ...
2
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1answer
313 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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4answers
3k views

What's the difference between an entangled state, a superposed state and a cat state?

1) Can a state be entangled without also being a superposition? (Please give an example.) 2) Can a state be a superposition without being entangled? (Again, an example please.) 3) And what about ...
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0answers
64 views

QFT: What does “finiteness” mean?

As above: what is the definition of a QFT to be "finite"? That all UV corrections are finite and there are no divergences at all? That there are divergences, but these divergences can be absorbed ...
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1answer
73 views

Quantum mechanics successive measurements (incompatible observables) [closed]

I started a "principles of quantum mechanics" course this year, and already have a problem with successive measurements (using Dirac notation). The question is about incompatible observables A and B. ...
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1answer
159 views

What is meant by 'probability of transition per unit time'?

Today I came across a term used by Feynman in his thirteenth lecture: 'probability per unit time' to go from $| 1\rangle$ to $|2\rangle$ while initially being at $|1\rangle$. This is the excerpt fom ...
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3answers
1k views

Quantum field theory variants

Wikipedia describes many variants of quantum field theory: conformal quantum field theory topological quantum field theory axiomatic/constructive quantum field theory algebraic quantum field theory ...
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1answer
51 views

Understanding “Propagation in a Crystal Lattice”: What is the difference between 'amplitude leakage' & 'probability leakage'?

I started reading, today, Chap 13: Propagation in a Crystal Lattice of Feynman's Lectures III. But, I couldn't understand some of his writings as: If you have a harmonic oscillator which is ...
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2answers
110 views

What is meant by thermal penetration depth?

What is meant by thermal penetration depth? I am doing a project on Thermoacoustics. while researching I came across about thermal penetration depth.I searched over the net but i didn't get a clear ...
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1answer
74 views

Definition of the “support” of the reduced density matrix

Some of the papers in condensed matter physics use the word "support" (space). For example, the following papers use the support especially for the reduced density matrix. ...
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0answers
38 views

Meaning of 'nuclear surface vibrations'?

Would like to know the meaning of nuclear surface vibrations as mentioned by Bohr in his paper titled 'The coupling of nuclear surface vibrations to the motion of individual nucleons'. The paper talks ...
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1answer
43 views

Is “approximative reduction” general knowledge to physicists?

I came across this concept called "approximative reduction", about which there are some papers, e.g. in this collection called Structure and Approximation in Physical Theories. Very briefly, it ...
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0answers
30 views

Nomenclature of nuclear excited states

I read in an online portal about $^{112}$Sn nucleus making a transition from $0_{g.s}^{+} \rightarrow 2_{1}^{+}$ state. Also, some higher excited states were named as $0_{2}^{+}$, $3_{1}^{-}$, etc. ...
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1answer
108 views

What did Feynman mean by 'energy shift' here?

I was reading Feynman's Lectures III's Chapter 10: Other Two-State Systems. There he discussed about hydrogen molecular ion having two base states: The amplitude of the molecule to go from ...
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5answers
3k views

Is there a rigorous definition of 'much greater than'?

I have encountered $\gg$ in many physics text books where it's used as a relation between constants or functions but in none of the text books I have read is it properly defined anywhere. If $A \gg ...
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2answers
68 views

Terminology for “measurable” and “hidden” realms in quantum physics

Please excuse if some of my terminology is vague, the whole point of this question is to clarify terminology. In quantum physics, one frequently encounters situations where there are some kind of two ...
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4answers
6k views

Catapult vs. Trebuchet

I have been looking at trebuchet designs lately, and I have noticed that most, if not all, have a sling attached to them. Without such a sling, the machine would be a catapult. In terms of the speed ...
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1answer
43 views

What is the difference between damping and friction?

What is the difference between damping and friction? Both of them slows down any moving system. So whats the conceptual difference between them?
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1answer
310 views

At CERN - What do you call the moment (event) particles crash together in the particle accelerator? [closed]

At CERN - What do you call the moment (event) particles crash together in the particle accelerator? At CERN they crash different particles together and measure what comes out. What is the name of the ...
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3answers
204 views

Difference between discretization and quantization in physics

I am just trying to understand the fundamental difference between these two concepts in physics: From discreteness of some quantity: one usually interprets it as a quantity being only able to take ...
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0answers
21 views

Flamant's use of mass and weight

I apologize for the stupid question, but I've consulted teachers and found their answers unsatisfactory. Professor E.Brune, in the XIX century, delivered a course on l'École des beaux-arts on ...
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4answers
131 views

What is the 'normal/standard' formulation of quantum mechanics called?

I know of at least three equivalent formulations of QM: The "normal/standard" one, dealing with Hilbert spaces and state vectors. The Feynman path-integral formulation. The Wigner-Weyl phase space ...
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1answer
62 views

What do we mean by saying that one clock had been “running slower” than another clock; or that two clocks had been “running equally”?

Several posts on this site, especially on the topic of relativity, refer to comparisons between clocks in terms of their "running"; one having "run faster" than the other, one having "run slower" than ...
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1answer
116 views

What is the conformal mode of a metric?

I have a problem in terminology. This article talks about the conformal mode of a physical metric. I know what a conformal transformation is. But what is the conformal mode of a metric?
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4answers
1k views

Is there a difference between Hertz and 'frames per second'?

It's not uncommon that the term 'frames per second' (sometimes abbreviated as fps or FPS) is associated with, or even equated to, the unit Hertz (Hz). I'm not exactly sure how these two concepts ...
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6answers
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If the Earth is in constant motion then why do we say that an object is in a state of rest?

I got this question as my physics class homework for tomorrow. Anyone please help me out. If Earth constantly rotates and revolves, then how can we call an object in a state of rest?
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1answer
42 views

Does motion with constant proper acceleration, in a flat region, necessarily mean straight hyperbolic motion?

Is motion of a participant with constant proper acceleration, in a flat region, necessarily straight, hyperbolic motion (with respect to members of any inertial system, in that region)? Or is for ...
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2answers
280 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
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What is the difference between Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Field Theory?

What is the difference between Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Field Theory? Are they the same subject? I believe that they are not the same subject! Maybe there is not ...
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2answers
713 views

In interferometry, what is the origin of the name “Airy function”?

In interferometry (specifically, in the domain of Fabry-Perot cavities), the function $$f(\phi) = \frac{1}{1 + F \sin^2 \phi},$$ which describes the shape of the resonant structure of the cavity, is ...
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1answer
237 views

What is the recommended symbol for Volumetric flow rate? [closed]

I'm currently working on a paper with a mathematician. He always writes $\dot Q$ as well as $\dot V$ for volumetric flow rate and claims both are standard notations. Till now I always used $Q$ ...
2
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1answer
118 views

Difference between symmetry and invariance

I'm wondering what's the real difference between symmetry and invariance in Physics? I believe that sometimes the two words are given the same meaning and some other times they are used in a different ...
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1answer
2k views

Definition of Free Electrons and Mobile Charges?

Could someone please give me a good definition of the following electric terms? Despite what searching I have done, I have not come across a definition that I have found clear for me to understand: ...
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0answers
31 views

Laser Energy Level Transitions

I am new to Laser Physics. While looking at the Energy Levels diagram for the Laser Transition of ND:YAG laser, I see energy levels labeled like 4F(3/2), 4I(15/2),.. I did not come across such energy ...
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2answers
295 views

What is a self adjusting force?

What is a self adjusting force? I searched it everywhere on internet but not got my answer and I have no other source to get its answer except this site so please help me.
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3answers
58 views

Nonlocal dielectric function - what does it mean?

I'm reading this* article and in the second sentence of introduction I encountered a term I haven't heard of before. Namely: nonlocal dielectric function. What does this nonlocality mean? And how does ...
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1answer
58 views

Conventionally, how many amplitudes does a (harmonic) oscillator pass through in one full cycle? [closed]

I don't know the typical scientific convention. My book says there are 4 amplitude. But no matter where I start the oscillator , the answer is at most 3.
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4answers
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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: ...
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0answers
143 views

Definition of Hamilton operator

The Hamilton operator is by definition a self-adjoint operator $H\text{: }D\left(H\right)\to\mathcal{H}$ with $D\left(H\right)\subset\mathcal{H}$ a dense linear subspace of the Hilbert space ...
3
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2answers
64 views

What S means in S-duality?

As I know, there are many dualities related to S-duality. For example, Montonen-Olive duality, Seiberg duality. and so on. so, I wonder that what "S" means in the term "S-duality". If this is a stupid ...
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1answer
31 views

Formula relating sum of values of a function to its integral

I came across the above formula in some quantum mechanics lecture notes explaining the Casimir effect. Anyone seen it before if so could you please tell me its 'name'. B refers to the Bernoulli ...
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1answer
27 views

Definition of a Supercluster

A group of astronomers in September 2014 redefined what classifies a supercluster. Before this, the supercluster where the Milky Way resides was the Virgo Supercluster. Now, the Virgo Supercluster ...
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1answer
283 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 ...
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1answer
180 views

Meaning of the term 'bulk'

I have recently started reading literature on 2 dimensional systems in Condensed matter. While reading, I frequently came across the word 'bulk'. Sometimes it referred to 2-D and sometimes to 3-D. I ...