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

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2
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1answer
60 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 ...
1
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3answers
76 views

Direction of motion

What does the term direction of motion actually mean? Is it a direction where a particle is moving or the direction of its velocity? For example, what is the direction of motion of a projectile in ...
5
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
4
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2answers
95 views

Why is it tension in surface tension?

Why is it called surface tension not surface compression?
0
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0answers
25 views

Origin of the names for the decay chains

Is there any reason for the names of the decay chains? As shown in this chart (larger version here): only the Thorium chain starts on an isotope of the element it takes its name from, and it can ...
0
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1answer
185 views

A basic question: what is accelerating voltage? [closed]

Or would it be acceleration voltage? Acceleration sounds like it makes more sense, but my paper says accelerating. What are possible ways you could go about calculating it?
6
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3answers
8k views

What is the official difference between a planet and a dwarf planet?

I'm trying to understand how objects are classified as planets, moons, or dwarf planets. Can someone please explain the differences between them? I'm really curious about why Pluto is a dwarf planet, ...
-1
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1answer
78 views

Relativistic momentum and mass [duplicate]

Is there even a relativistic mass or just relativistic momentum? How does one reason to prefer one over another? What is the problem with saying a hot gas will have more mass/inertia to it?
0
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2answers
1k views

What are virtual objects, Reflection of light? [duplicate]

While studying reflection through a plane mirror, I have been told that when the object is real the image will be virtual and the image will be real while the object is virtual. What are virtual ...
2
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0answers
54 views

What is the 1/2 spin analog of the graviton called?

In some supergravities you have the gravition, gravitino, graviphoton and graviscalar. Each is analogous to each other in only sharing gravitational properties and nothing else. They differ by spin ...
4
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1answer
440 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: ...
2
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1answer
166 views

What is the name for the whistling “musical” sounds that change stepwise in pitch when a hollow tube is spun like a lasso?

You have likely heard those sounds, science museums sometimes sell Flexible plastic tubes you can whirl like a lasso. The air rushing by the end of the tube causes these sounds, which are admitted in ...
2
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2answers
232 views

What is deep Fresnel region?

If I understand correctly, it has something to do with autocorrelation function, but can someone give me a definition or exact explanation? In case of scattering, if you wish to analyze pattern with ...
0
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2answers
159 views

Equilibrium - uniform circular motion

Maybe this is a bit of a silly question, but let us pretend we have a pendulum in a ideal universe with no friction, drag, or anomalous forces there to affect it. Additionally, our pendulum is ...
12
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5answers
3k views

Does Earth have a code name?

Everything we discover in the sky get eventually a code name, like NGC 7293, Simeis 147, etc. Does Earth/Moon have a code name too? Or it is just Earth/Moon, etc.?
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4answers
177 views

Space-like and time-like: where do the names come from?

Space-like separated events are events that, in a well-chosen reference frame, can take place at the same time but never happen at the same location. On the other hand for time-like events, one can ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Term for “atmospheric ricochet” due to wrong “angle-of-attack”

I watched "Apollo 13" yesterday, and they had the "angle-of-attack" problem that had to be manually solved, to prevent the ship from "ricochet[ing] off the atmosphere like a rock skipping off a pond". ...
0
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1answer
100 views

Can the phrase “Terminal Velocity” be used to describe non-gravity situations?

According to Wikipedia: [Terminal Velocity] is the velocity of the object when the sum of the drag force (Fd) and buoyancy equals the downward force of gravity (FG) acting on the object. Since ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What is *uplift* in respect to extra dimensions and their stability?

What is uplift in respect to extra dimensions and their stability? It's notoriously hard to find something on this, as all possible keyword combinations pull up plethora of unrelated Google hits.
6
votes
1answer
78 views

What is “kinematic inversion” (from geophysics) in mathematical terms?

I am a mathematician working on a seismic imaging problem, and am currently (attempting to) read some geophysics papers (this one (Ruiz, Madariaga 2011) and this one (Di Carli, Francois-Holden, ...
2
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1answer
94 views

Name for thermodynamic derivative $dP/dT|_V$?

While trying to express the isoentropic sound speed as partial derivatives of $V$ and $T$ only I end up, as part of the longer expression with $dP/dT|_V$ (which according to a Maxwell relation is the ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

What is a Nyquist edge?

I've come to this sentence and I don't understand the term Nyquist edge. Because observing in the FM band is not feasible, a sampling frequency of 200 MHz has been chosen for most of the receiver ...
5
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2answers
233 views

What's the difference between work in thermodynamics and mechanics?

What is the difference between work in thermodynamics and work in mechanics?
11
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2answers
5k views

What's the difference between inclusive and exclusive decays?

For example, why is the semileptonic $B$ decay $B \to X\ell\nu$ inclusive? I can't find any definition of these frequently used terms, strange.
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0answers
52 views

What is the definition of a charge-neutral operator?

What is the definition of a charge-neutral operator? I guess it means something like: it is invariant under charge conjugation. It that correct?
3
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1answer
65 views

A (mundane) CS analogy for quantum teleportation

From my limited understanding of quantum entanglement, it seems like qubits act the same way as pseudo-random-number-generators (except as far as we can tell, these ones really are random). When you ...
3
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2answers
182 views

$p\ dq$ is the “tautological” one-form?

The one-form $$\theta=\sum_i p_i\, \text dq^i$$ is a central object in hamiltonian mechanics. It has a bunch of applications: $\omega=\text d\theta$ is the symplectic structure on phase space, ...
2
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1answer
86 views

What does it mean for a metric to be regular?

A problem in Carroll (a general relativity textbook) asks if a certain metric is regular. What does it mean for a metric to be regular?
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0answers
89 views

Why not “black matter” instead of “non-baryonic cold dark matter”? [closed]

I would like to know if any epistemologist or science popularizer has ever think about a better/simpler name for exotic or non-baryonic cold dark matter like black matter. That would be interesting ...
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1answer
46 views

Integrating out fields from classical systems

Has anyone ever heard of integrating out fields from classical Lagrangians if they are quadratic?
2
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3answers
804 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 ...
2
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2answers
353 views

What does it mean to be stationary?

I'm looking for a simple answer. What do we regard a stationary. Do we mean an object that is not moving noticeable from the viewers perspective because then a parked car would be considered ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Definition of mean free time in the Drude model

In the Drude model they derive a formule for the conductivity of a conductor. I wonder though how the main free time $\tau$ is defined in this formula. Wikipedia says that it is "the average time ...
7
votes
1answer
409 views

Constructive vs Algebraic Quantum Field Theory

I am interested to know how the (non)existence theorems of constructive QFT and algebraic QFT are related (or not). I have only a weak grasp of either, so I'm looking for something like a quick ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

What is the name of the temperature limit beyond which an explosion will form a mushroom cloud?

Many months ago I saw a picture that was taken many years ago of an explosion, possibly in the Atlanta area. If I recall the explosion was caused by fuel in railroad cars. However, the explosion ...
2
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2answers
104 views

What distinguishes the particles we chose as matter from their antimatter equivalent? [duplicate]

Back before we knew about antimatter we just called everything matter. Ignoring CP-violation for a moment, there is nothing special about matter versus antimatter. Once we knew about antimatter it ...
0
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1answer
134 views

What is the difference between a battery and a “polarized” charged capacitor?

I know that the main difference between the two is that a battery can provide a constant voltage whereas a capacitor's voltage decreases as the charge stored decreases. But what about the internal ...
3
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3answers
4k views

What is a virtual ground?

What is a virtual ground? I would like to know what it is.
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Are multipole fields, multipole expansion, and multipole radiation the same thing?

Interaction between electromagnetic radiation and nuclei can be written in terms of multipole radiation. Are multipole fields, multipole expansion and multipole radiation the same thing? I have found ...
6
votes
5answers
14k views

What's the difference between Fermi Energy and Fermi Level?

I'm a bit confused about the difference between these two concepts. According to Wikipedia the Fermi energy and Fermi level are closely related concepts. From my understanding, the Fermi energy is the ...
3
votes
1answer
285 views

What is a bilateral constraint?

In the realm of mechanics/rigid body dynamics, can anyone tell me what a bilateral constraint is? Can't seem to find any information on the exact definition, just uses of it such as "considering only ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

Semiclassical Approximation

In many books I read about semiclassical approximation applied to the field of Bose-Einstein condensation. But I don't understand what it really means. For example I read that an expression like this ...
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2answers
10k 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 ...
0
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1answer
147 views

Proper name for a thermodynamic process with constant internal energy $U$

Back in the day I learned that a few special thermodynamical processes have special names. For example, if one keeps $P$ constant, the process is called isobaric, if one keeps $T, V$ or $S$ ...
1
vote
1answer
765 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

How did neodymium magnets get their name?

Like in the question. Why neodymium magnets (Nd2Fe14B) are called "neodymium magnets"? Why not boron magnets? Or iron magnets?
3
votes
1answer
66 views

What is the space between galactic arms called?

Is there a term referring to space that is inside the plane of a galaxy, but not part of the center/bar/arms/spurs, etc? What's the filler called? The space between two spiral arms (if it isn't a ...
2
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0answers
107 views

How to name different approaches to relativistic quantum theory

In the introductory chapter of the QFT book by Mark Srednicki the author notes that [p. 26] So now we have two different approaches to relativistic quantum theory [...] Which [one of those two] we ...
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0answers
22 views

What is the mean ionospheric height?

I am reading some articles about the ionosphere and I am a little bit confused about the terms mean ionospheric height and effective height of the ionosphere. Are these the same thing? I would ...
17
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2answers
168 views

Is there an official name for “Lorentz Pairs” like energy and momentum?

In learning about relativity I've noticed that in the construction of Lorentz invariants (specifically four-vectors) two physical quantities that were previously considered distinct are instead ...