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

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Definition of a symbol $s_{NN}$ appearing in particle physics

What is the meaning of $s_{NN}$ in particle physics? See e.g. here http://www4.rcf.bnl.gov/brahms/WWW/thesis/karabowicz_phd_thesis.pdf page 18 in the pdf. What is its relation to energy? I ...
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3answers
76 views

Ideal, isotropic fluid and stress tensor

An ideal fluid is the one which cannot support any shearing stress. It also doesn't have viscosity. My question is what does it mean by a fluid to be isotropic? Is an ideal fluid necessarily isotropic ...
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3answers
102 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
40 views

What does multi-periodicity mean in stellar pulsations?

How can there exist multi-periodicity in stellar pulsations? http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/sites/default/files/kitp/preprints/moskalik2.pdf How can one visualize a multi-periodic pulsation or oscillation?
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2answers
93 views

Why does the classical electrodynamics Lagrangian density equation have a “field” term and an “interaction” term?

On Wikipedia's page on classical electrodynamics, they state the Lagrangian density equation as follows \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = \mathcal{L}_{\text{field}} + \mathcal{L}_{\text{int}} = ...
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2answers
108 views

What does memorylessness mean as a postulate of special relativity?

I was reading the wiki page on special relativity postulates. And wiki says, The two-postulate basis for special relativity is the one historically used by Einstein, and it remains the starting ...
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2answers
74 views

Definition of Duality (opposed to Symmetry)

I'm learning basic string theory right now and we came across T-duality which was presented as a symmetry of the formula for the mass of a string in the context of compactification. There was a remark ...
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1answer
116 views

Name of battery voltage when load connected/disconnected

If I had a 3V battery, and when no load connected it reads 3.2V, and with a load 2.8V (just a hypothetical example), what is the name for these two terms, with a load or no load? I know the voltage ...
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1answer
49 views

What exactly is an image?

When we say several rays meet to form an image, what is that which is formed? Is it an arrangement of unknown entities? What exactly am I looking at when I see my image in a plane mirror?
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0answers
26 views

Frame dependence

I was reading an article about magnetospheres, and came across this quote: This supersonic ionized gas, or plasma, called the solar wind carries with it a magnetic field and a frame dependent ...
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3answers
91 views

Eternal Black Holes

What is the definition of an eternal black hole? Studying white holes and the term appears in relation to this field of research.
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1answer
47 views

What does 'channel' mean?

I see many plots like the following that graph counts per channel, I know what a 'count' is, but I don't know what a 'channel' is. Could somebody please explain to me? My guess is that it is that ...
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3answers
191 views

About the postulates of quantum mechanics and self-adjointness

I am a freshman trying to understand the very basics of quantum mechanics but I met barriers at the beginning. What really matters is the postulates of quantum mechanics and their relationship with ...
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9answers
12k views

What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? All of them have ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Difference between 1PI effective action and Wilsonian effective action?

What is the simplest ay to describe the difference between these two concepts, that often go by the same name?
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1answer
35 views

Semantics: alternative word for long-ranged interaction? [closed]

I am working on wording for a report. I need to a word to describe long ranged interaction that is constant in strength. But I am aware that people sometimes use 'long-ranged' to mean decaying ...
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2answers
127 views

X-ray diffraction analytical principle - diffraction or reflection?

I am an MSc in analytical chemistry, currently working with x-ray diffraction. The technique is called "x-day diffraction", but are not the x-rays reflected? Max von Laue discovered that x-rays were ...
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1answer
40 views

What is a geocentric altitude?

In NAO TN no.69, Yallop defines ARCV as geocentric difference in altitude between the centre of the Sun and the centre of the Moon for a given latitude and longitude, ignoring the effects of ...
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1answer
63 views

Difference between harmonic oscillator & coupled oscillators

Coupling, according to wiki, is the condition of two systems when they interact with each other. Now, I came across the terms harmonic oscillator and coupled oscillators. Now,what is the difference ...
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3answers
736 views

Definition of a year

Is there an acceptable definition of a year (in number of days)? Google Calculator: https://www.google.com/search?q=seconds+in+1+year returns 3.15569e7 seconds and then ...
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0answers
46 views

Why is special relativity so special? [duplicate]

The title says it really. Why is special relativity so special? I'm just curious as to how and why the term 'special' came to describe the theory of relativity where gravitational forces are ...
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3answers
86 views

What really is “inertial force”?

In Fluid Mechanics we often see the term inertial force when discussing Reynolds number. The problem is, I didn't really get what's this inertial force. Basically, the notion of inertia I have is that ...
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1answer
61 views

Is 'grapheme' a substance or a typo?

While reading Ref. 1 I came across the sentence Below we focus on the physics of ideal (single layer) grapheme. I did google search 'grapheme' but the results tended towards a completely ...
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1answer
38 views

The name of effect of liquid flow inducing flow to neighboring layers of liquid?

How do you call an effect, when liquid or gas stream is involving the neighboring layers of matter also move? Like on videos of rocket engines testing, when exhausting gas sucks an air and steam from ...
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2answers
156 views

Showing that Coulomb and Lorenz Gauges are indeed valid Gauge Transformations?

I'm working my way through Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics. In Ch. 10, gauge transformations are introduced. The author shows that, given any magnetic potential $\textbf{A}_0$ and electric ...
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1answer
71 views

Realistic Potential Wells

What is meant by the term "realistic" potential wells? I got stuck into the term as I don't know what are the limitations of the word realistic in this case. For example mentioned in line We ...
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5answers
483 views

Hilbert space vs. Projective Hilbert space

Hilbert space and rays: In a very general sense, we say that quantum states of a quantum mechanical system correspond to rays in the Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, such that for any $c∈ℂ$ the state ...
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2answers
123 views

Is it accurate to say “a wavefunction is a function of particle positions or momenta”?

Something has been bothering me for a while. I encounter this kind of statement everywhere: While a single particle is described by a wave function $\Psi({\vec r};t)$, a system of two particles, ...
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2answers
440 views

History of the names “Feynman-gauge” & “Landau-gauge”. How arised & how settled?

Warning: Students, stay away from antiquities. The aim to learn is to survive. Hi. Today the nomenclatures Feynman gauge and Landau gauge seem established, but could you explain the history? It's ...
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2answers
144 views

What is the difference between classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics? [duplicate]

What is the difference between classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics? To me, they are greatly different but are different approaches for explaining same thing. But I do prefer ...
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1answer
363 views

Does a ball resting on the ground have acceleration?

Does a ball resting on the Earth's ground have acceleration caused by gravity?
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0answers
81 views

If the field concept was invented by Faraday, then how did Newton interpret the $g$?

This is Newton's law of universal gravitation. $F=G\frac{m_1.m_2}{r^2}$ Gravitational field $g$ is derived from this formula $g=G\frac{m_1}{r^2}$ This is named gravitational "field" strength. If ...
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3answers
658 views

What does “nearly infinite mass” mean?

I am sure this is a silly question, but I was reading something that described the pre big-bang universe as having "nearly infinite mass." How can something be "nearly" infinite? The term seems to ...
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4answers
88 views

Is trajectory the same as an orbit?

Is trajectory the same as an orbit? I wanted to know about gravity assists, but most books I find are talking about different types of orbits and such. Are they related?
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3answers
78 views

Is wave superposition always equivalent to wave interference?

I'm confused when using these 2 words "wave superposition" and "wave interference" since their definition is very similar. So, are these 2 term the same?
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4answers
3k 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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4answers
5k 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 ...
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6answers
5k views

Difference between theoretical physics and mathematical physics?

I'm a huge fan of mathematical physics and I know what the formal definitions of those two areas are, I've seen them. But I still get completely baffled when someone asks me to explain it simply. The ...
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1answer
71 views

What are “two-centre integrals”?

Reading through some condensed matter physics literature I came across the term "two-centre integrals". Could someone explain what is meant by this in general? CONTEXT: "the overlap matrix and the ...
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0answers
20 views

Relativistic non-linear Walecka model

What is meant by a relativistic non-linear Walecka model? What are some various sources to study it? [And why cannot Google show a satisfactory result to such a simple question?]
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3answers
453 views

What's the difference between “numerical methods” & “mathematical analysis” as said by Feynman in his lectures?

While reading his lectures, I came to these lines: On the basis of Newton's second law of motion,which gives the relation between the acceleration of any body & the force acting on it,any ...
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1answer
128 views

Where did the Word 'Physics' Come From? [closed]

As the title suggests, where did the name for the discipline 'Physics' come from? - does it mean something in Greek?
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0answers
45 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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7answers
35k 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.
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1answer
33 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
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0answers
37 views

Confusion about the use of the term “Phase Space” in Strogatz text

I've just started learning about Hamiltonian mechanics, and from the definition given in Taylor's classical mechanics, phase space must always have an even dimension. However, I recall from reading ...
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1answer
7k views

What is the $C_p/C_v$ ratio?

Recently in our chemistry class we read that the $C_p/C_v$ ratio of the inert gases is 1.66 thus they show inert nature. I asked my teacher what was $C_p/C_v$ ratio but he didn't answer me. So I want ...
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4answers
850 views

What is the Difference between a Lepton and a Fermion?

As the Title Says: I am Wondering what the Difference between a Lepton and A Fermion is. I know they both have an ½ integer spin number e.g. a electron, an atom with an odd mass number such as ...
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3answers
57 views

Image angle illusion [closed]

I am not sure whether this question on-topic here. (please suggest to migrate if this is off-topic) What is the phenomenon/illusion (or something else?) known as where in a photo of a person, the ...
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1answer
132 views

What is this simple mechanism called? [closed]

I often build with Lego and use this mechanism: It converts the rotational movement to linear by making the stick between the two blocks go back and forth. What is this mechanism called?