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

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2answers
686 views

What is polytropic index?

What is polytropic index? What is the connection between it and work of an adiabatic system? I tried surfing but didn't able to find a proper answer for that.
2
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1answer
54 views

Difference between escape velocity and speed [duplicate]

What is the difference between escape velocity and escape speed , is their any error if we use them interchangeably?
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0answers
38 views

Names for various color indices in QCD

In Quantum Chromodynamics with $\mathrm{SU}(3)$ there are at least two types of color indices: Indices $a$, $b$, … that index the eight generators of the group $\mathrm{SU}(3)$. In some sense they ...
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1answer
257 views

What is difference between polarization and polarizability and how do we define it? [closed]

The book of physics that I have, uses the word "polarization" sometimes and sometimes uses the term "polarizability" and I am getting confused. And I even checked the dictionary for the term ...
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1answer
39 views

What is the different between Poisson Nernst–Planck and Poisson Navier–Stokes in the Electrolyte?

I am now studying about electroosmosis flow phenomena which is governing by the Navier-Stokes equation and Poisson equation. By combine these two equation we can describe the electrolyte flow velocity ...
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0answers
41 views

Radiative corrections and stability

What is meant by the terms radiatively stable and radiatively unstable? I know that when calculating physical observables in quantum field theory, such as the mass of the electron, to obtain a more ...
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4answers
106 views

Why the word “measurement” all the time?

I'm trying to learn more about the properties of light. In all the youtube videos and related to the two-slit experiment, the explanations always say that "measuring" can change the outcome. Why do ...
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1answer
45 views

Is there a name for leptons that are not neutrinos?

Is there a name for leptons that are not neutrinos? Not sure if its exists, its not particularly easy to search for. Is there a name for the set of charged leptons (or leptons that are not neutrinos)? ...
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1answer
112 views

Does 'focal length' mean something different with lenses and pinhole cameras?

Sometimes different but related things have the same name by some tradition or accident, causing a lot of headache to newcomers to a field. I would like to come to clear terms with this: does the ...
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0answers
102 views

Mean Field Theory vs. Effective Field Theory

I am reading my many-body quantum physics textbook, and specifically the section on Mean field theory. It seems that the Mean field approximation in the Hamiltonian formalism must be equivalent to ...
23
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5answers
2k views

What is a state in physics?

What is a state in physics? While reading physics, I have heard many a times a "___" system is in "____" state but the definition of a state was never provided (and googling brings me totally ...
3
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2answers
84 views

What exactly is an arbitrary parameter?

I was reading the article Turning Points: A meeting with Enrico Fermi by Freeman Dyson (available e.g. here), and I had a question about Dyson's use of the term 'arbitrary parameter'. More ...
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3answers
208 views

What does “the fabric of space and time” actually mean? [closed]

I've heard the term "the fabric of space and time" in both physics and science fiction, and although I know it has something to do with general relativity, I don't understand what, specifically, ...
3
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2answers
77 views

Heuristic explanation of the difference between vectors and scalars in physics

I'm trying to give a student a (physically) intuitive, heuristic explanation as to why certain quantities are vectors and others are scalars. Here is what I have come up with: Scalars are quantities ...
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1answer
93 views

What is the difference between Fermi level and Fermi edge?

Just as in title: What is the difference between Fermi level and Fermi edge? My friend makes some research about XPS and he encountered this term. He knows what is Fermi level, but never heard about ...
4
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1answer
199 views

Why do astronomers call all elements heavier than helium “metals”?

I understand that a scientific term need not be constrained by its etymology. But is there some significant reason why astronomers choose to call all elements heavier than helium "metals"? Are ...
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3answers
124 views

What is the difference between toy models and normal models? [closed]

Here is the short description of scientific model: an imperfect or idealized representation of a physical system And the definition of toy model: a simplified set of objects and equations ...
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0answers
27 views

Escape speed or Escape Velocity? [duplicate]

Which one should be the correct term escape speed or escape velocity? In one book it is given Speed whereas in another its velocity.
0
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0answers
207 views

Exact (quantitative) definition of “knee” and/or “cut-in” voltage?

Sort of a 2-part question: 1) I know they are used interchangeably but are the "knee" and "cut-in" voltages of a diode actually the exact same thing? I had thought that the "cut-in" voltage was ...
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2answers
121 views

Confusion with Blackbody Radiation

A blackbody is a theoretical object that perfectly absorbs all the light that falls on it. From what I understand this is an ideal situation and does not actually exist in reality. Certain objects are ...
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0answers
39 views

What does 'vector-like' mean?

What are properties of vector-like field/particle? What's the counterpart of it? Chiral like?
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2answers
53 views

Sound speed vs Speed of sound

Are 'sound speed' and 'speed of sound' the same thing? If not, what is the difference? If they are, could you clarify how the speed of sound applies in the below description of gaseous clouds? ...
0
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1answer
56 views

Is “applying a voltage” the same as “applying a potential” to an electrode?

From what I understand, voltage is the potential difference, but it seems like the terms are used interchangeably. This is confusing me because I am only just learning what these terms mean. I'm also ...
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1answer
49 views

How Does Rotational and Turbulent Motion Contribute to the Pressures of Dynamical Systems?

Rotational and turbulent motion can deepen a gravity well in a galaxy or galaxy cluster. In an analysis of the mass components of a large body, this would appear to be one of the components. Does it ...
0
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1answer
46 views

What does “n-particle reducible” mean?

I am reading Ramond and in page 112 he says "In $\lambda \phi^{4}$ theory, diagrams can be at most three-particle reducible". My question: whether the individual Feynman Diagrams are treated as ...
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0answers
30 views

What is the pure form of energy? [duplicate]

What is the pure form of energy? Einstein in his energy mass equation derivation said that electromagnetic radiation is pure form of energy.
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2answers
110 views

What does naturally mean here?

We often cross the sentence "Kahler geometry emerges naturally in sugra". I have always wondered what does this mean; actually what does naturally mean in that sentence?
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3answers
146 views

GR: Pseudo Riemannian or Riemannian?

Is General Relativityy described by Pseudo-Riemannian manifold or Riemannian manifold? I cannot understand the vast difference between the two manifolds. In books, General Relativity is looked as a ...
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0answers
23 views

What does “at%” refer to in sol-gel method?

I'm reading on the preparation of ZnO thin films for UV stimulated emission and I found a method called Sol-Gel. During this I found a paragraph saying, " the ratio Ag/Zn in the sol is 3 at%......". ...
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0answers
12 views

What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? [duplicate]

What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? And is there a way to determine a dwarf planet from a normal planet in a unknown solar system? (If we discover a unknown solar system)
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2answers
632 views

What is the difference between a hollow (sphere/cylinder) and a shell (cylinder/sphere)? [closed]

First of all, it was hard to "tag" this question ! Anyways, I see some contradictions in what a shell or a hollow cylinder is in some sources in the internet based on some figures they show. I ...
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2answers
67 views

What is $\mathcal{L}_M$?

Usually we derive the Einstein field equation in vacuum starting from E-H action $$S= \int{\sqrt{-g}d^4x(\frac{c^4}{16\pi G})R}.$$ But in case we wanted to get ...
3
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1answer
100 views

What is the difference between a quasar and an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN)?

In answering another Phys.SE question about quasars - Why no new quasars? - an issue arose about which object is the nearest quasar. That got me puzzled. To what is the label "quasar" attached, as ...
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1answer
54 views

What does dimensionless quantity 'number of $g$' mean?

I am doing data analysis in which I found a quantity named "no. of $g$". I don't know what it means or what is its usage. Look at the image below. I want to know the meaning and usage of "no. of ...
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1answer
59 views

Naming anti-electrons and anti-protons [closed]

I think I understand why an anti-electron is called a positron (since it symbolizes positive charge) But why then is anti-proton called an anti-proton and not a negatron?
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3answers
2k views

What is a mode?

Admittedly, this seems like a very simple question. The word mode pops up in every field of physics, yet I can't remember ever having read what I felt was a precise and sensible definition. After ...
0
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1answer
50 views

What is an awkward constant and is there a relation to ad-hoc hypotheses?

[I'm not entirely sure whether this is the right board, since it is not a technical but a soft question]. I'm reading the textbook "Spin Dynamics - Basics of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance", 2nd ed., ...
8
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3answers
891 views

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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1answer
32 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?
2
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2answers
112 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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1answer
65 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 $W=0$?
0
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1answer
30 views

What is the difference between hydraulic radius and geometrical radius in a cylindrical pore?

What is the difference between hydraulic radius and geometrical radius in a cylindrical pore? I was going through the 'stacks' present in an thermoacoustic refrigerators there I came across the ...
2
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0answers
65 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 ...
0
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1answer
136 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
271 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 ...
0
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1answer
69 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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1answer
120 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. ...
2
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2answers
561 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 ...
0
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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 ...
4
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0answers
95 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 ...