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

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2answers
75 views

Should theory be the appropriate term? [duplicate]

Should theory be the appropriate term? I mean, for example, because of the quantum field theory we have been able to find the subatomic particles that it theorized and make the Standard Model. Why ...
2
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2answers
150 views

Quantum Philosophy a la John Bell

I recently discovered this website http://www.quantumphil.org/ and wondering whether Quantum Philosophy is an actual field, or just an aspect of QM? Apologies if this is in the wrong place.
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0answers
57 views

Actions at a distance vs. contact interaction

The ancestors could not imagine an action at a distance (in German: "Fernwirkung"). Today physicists don't take serious its opposite anymore (in German: "Kontaktwechselwirkung"). So my first question ...
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1answer
63 views

Valley meaning explanation for foreigner

English is not my native language and I have some hard time translating this word. I was searching in couple dictionaries(both paper and online) and could not find it. Could anyone provide me ...
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1answer
26 views

Differentiating between mass number (A) and activity (A) in a nomenclature/glossary [closed]

I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this question, but as it's related to the terminology of nuclear physics I thought it would probably be a logical place to start. I'm currently writing ...
3
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2answers
73 views

How is the set of displacement operators best called?

Displacement operators $\hat D(x,p), \ \ x,p\in\mathbb{R},$ follow a composition rule $$D(x,p) D(x',p') = \exp\frac{i(px'-xp')}2 D(x+x',p+p').$$ Because of the extraneous phase factor, the set of all ...
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2answers
128 views

Terminology for line integral of magnetic field

One of the quantities appearing in the integral form of Maxwell's Equations is the line integral of the magnetic field around a closed loop. (The relevant equation states that this is equal to the ...
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1answer
56 views

The exact definition of conjugate momentum density

After checking various websites, I've seen the conjugate momentum density defined as either: \begin{align*} P_r ~=~ \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{A}_r} \end{align*} or \begin{align*} P_r ...
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0answers
50 views

Difference between RPA and generalized RPA

The random phase approximation (RPA) is an approximation method in condensed matter physics and in nuclear physics. What is the difference between RPA and generalized RPA?
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0answers
23 views

What is “thermal undulation” in the context of lipid bilayers?

What is thermal undulation in the context of lipid bilayers? Is it another word for "thermal fluctuation"?
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1answer
98 views

Single-channel vs multi-channel scattering

I am studying quantum scattering and stumbled upon the "scattering channel" and "single- and multi-channel scattering" terms. However, I didn't manage to find any sufficiently formal definitions of ...
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2answers
79 views

Definition of quantum anharmonicity

I have been reading research papers in mathematical physics for some months now, and I've seen the the term "anharmonic oscillator" quite frequently. At first I assumed that given a Schrodinger ...
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1answer
26 views

Equivalent temperature: laser and cell containing Rb

What's the meaning of "equivalent temperature" related to a cell containing rubidium and crossed by laser?
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0answers
163 views

Morphisms between chiral CFTs

This is a question about terminology. Given two vertex algebras $V_1$ and $V_2$ (= chiral CFTs), there are two kinds of maps $V_1\to V_2$ that one might want to consider. 1) Morphisms of VOAs that ...
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1answer
55 views

What is a phrase for testing for a certain result? [closed]

Is there a word or phrase for when someone is testing for a certain result thereby skewing his findings?
5
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1answer
180 views

Why the speed of light is represented by $c$? [closed]

In almost every textbook, I've found that the speed of light is $c \approx 3 \times 10^8\: \mathrm{m/s}$. I wonder why it's just $c$ ?
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4answers
18k 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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0answers
26 views

Is there a generic term for orbital groups such as $e_g$ and $t_{2g}$?

I am looking for a generic term for sets of atomic orbitals (viz. spherical harmonics) which are grouped by crystal symmetry. The most familiar examples would be $e_g$ and $t_{2g}$ (in cubic ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

How to determine the order of indications of a clock?

Given the description of a clock $\mathcal A$, as (1) a set $A$ of all (more than 2) distinct indications of this clock, in no particular order (where the individual indications contained in set ...
4
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3answers
195 views

Defining left and right independent of a human body?

Is it possible to define right and left independent of the asymmetric human body? I am unable to think of such a definition without circular reasoning. Example: If you are facing east, your left ...
2
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1answer
69 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 ...
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3answers
138 views

Meaning of invariable

Invariable means which is not variable i.e. can't be changed. Recently I have seen a sentence when reading a chapter based on measurement: The accepted standards must be accessible to those who ...
5
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1answer
92 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 ...
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3answers
217 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
113 views

Why is it tension in surface tension?

Why is it called surface tension not surface compression?
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1answer
273 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?
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1answer
79 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?
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0answers
58 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 ...
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1answer
614 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
2k 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 ...
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4answers
205 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
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1answer
116 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
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1answer
54 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 ...
6
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1answer
88 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, ...
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2answers
314 views

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

What is the difference between work in thermodynamics and work in mechanics?
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2answers
429 views

QFT Dyson series: why are we solving the Schrodinger equation?

In quantum field theory, the solution of the time evolution operator of the Schrodinger equation (in the interaction picture) is given by Dyson's series, which is used to calculate the S-matrix. Why ...
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0answers
55 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?
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2answers
228 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 ...
3
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1answer
67 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
203 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
88 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
90 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
47 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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2answers
718 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
138 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
538 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 ...
1
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2answers
116 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
157 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 ...