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

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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 ...
3
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1answer
123 views

What the name of the evacuated glass gadget with black and white vanes that turn when a light is applied?

I remember a glass device my physics teacher had at high school which Contained some vanes mounted somehow on a vertical axis, which were all black on one side and white on the other Was in a ...
3
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1answer
360 views

What is “charge discreteness”?

I assume it is some kind of quantity. Google only made things more confusing. I get that it has something to do with circuits. I also get what a discrete charge is. In fact, I thought charges ...
3
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2answers
125 views

What is an “Interaction Hamiltonian”

I'm an undergraduate reading up on some quantum physics so that I can help out more in the lab that I'm working in this summer. In the book I'm reading (Shankar's "Principles of Quantum Mechanics") I ...
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2answers
99 views

What are threshold corrections?

As the title goes, what are threshold corrections in quantum field theory? In particular, I would be glad if a good reference is provided. Standard QFT books such as Peskin, Weinberg, etc seem to ...
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1answer
512 views

Difference between steady state and equilibrium?

In semiconductor physics, what is the difference between steady state and equilibrium. How analysis of devices varies in these processes?
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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 ...
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2answers
914 views

What is phenomenological equation and phenomenological model?

I come across these terms in some papers. My understanding is that it is an equation or model describing a phenomenon. Usually, the equations are given and claimed to be true with only some ...
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1answer
93 views

Is it better to call the doppler effect a change in wavelength or frequency?

Why is it preferable to say that the doppler effect causes a shift in frequency rather than a shift in wavelength? I often read on websites that they define the doppler effect as a change in ...
3
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1answer
91 views

Neutral current: terminology

In particle physics, where does the term 'neutral current' originate? An example would be an electron exchanging a Z boson with another electron. I understand that the Z boson itself is neutral, but ...
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4answers
793 views

Basic question concerning pure energy

Inside the core of a star thermonuclear fusion reaction fuses hydrogen atom into helium releasing massive heat/light and energy.When a blackhole eats up enough stars and gases it devours itself by ...
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2answers
56 views

The word 'sector' in Particle Physics

What exactly is meant when one uses the word sector in Particle Physics? As in, the Hidden Sector or the Electroweak Sector. Does it refer to a specific part of the Lagrangian? Or does it refer to ...
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2answers
70 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
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, ...
3
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1answer
291 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 ...
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2answers
60 views

What does “sites” mean in the lattice language?

I acknowledge that this question is quite trivial. But in the lattice jargon, what does a $N$-sites lattice mean? it's a lattice $N\times N$ or it's a lattice with $N$ vertices? another option ...
3
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1answer
181 views

Does effective theory have the same meaning in particle and condensed matter physics

I have a naive question about the meaning of effective theory in particle physics and condensed matter physics. In particle physics, from what I know, the effective theory comes from the Wilsonian ...
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2answers
525 views

Where do the terms microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical (ensemble) come from?

Where do the terms microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical (ensemble) come from? When were they coined and by whom? Is there any reason for the names or are they historical accidents?
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3answers
2k views

What's the difference between “boundary value problems” and “initial value problems”?

Mathematically speaking, is there any essential difference between initial value problems and boundary value problems? The specification of the values of a function $f$ and the "velocities" ...
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1answer
205 views

What's a pseudo-rotation?

I'm sorry for this lexical, probably extremely elementary, question. But what is a pseudo-rotation? I just read this term for the first time, in the beginning of the 4th chapter book of CFT by Di ...
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1answer
82 views

Is there a technical term for “meaningfulness” of mathematical operations?

Is there a technical term for "meaningfulness" of mathematical operations? For example, adding vectors that represent forces has a meaning regardless of the coordinate frame, but an elementwise ...
3
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1answer
67 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 ...
3
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1answer
78 views

Supersymmetry definition

Can someone outline the difference between supersymmetry and supersymmetric quantum mechanics? I often hear the two used interchangeably but I'm almost certain they are not the same.
3
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1answer
65 views

What is meant by Proton Structure Function?

I am going to embark on a project involving deep-inelastic scattering but first I am trying to do some really basic background reading to get me up to task. My only background in particle physics is ...
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1answer
55 views

Hot Big Bang vs. Big Bang

This should hopefully be a quick one. Is there any difference between the Big Bang Theory and the Hot Big Bang Theory? Around Cambridge I hear everyone using "Hot Big Bang Theory", for example ther ...
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3answers
458 views

Probability vs. degree of belief in facts of nature (“Plausibility”)

I just came across a line in a paper: "Assume the probability that a Lagrangian parameter lies between $a$ and $a + da$ is $dP(a) = $ [...]." This reminded me again of my single biggest qualm I have ...
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1answer
391 views

What are Low-lying energy levels?

I am reading about some canonical transformations of the Hamiltonian (of a system consisting of an electron interacting with an ionic lattice) due to Tomanaga and Lee, Low and Pines. One of the ...
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1answer
40 views

Off-diagonal terms of the Husimi $Q$ function?

The Husimi $Q$ function of a quantum state $\rho $ is defined as $ Q (\alpha)=\langle \alpha \vert \rho \vert \alpha \rangle $, where $\alpha = (x, p) $ is a phase space coordinate and $\vert \alpha ...
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1answer
123 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 ...
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0answers
74 views

What does the term 'a uniform RVB spin-liquid state' mean?

I encountered this term a uniform RVB spin-liquid state in some articles, for example, see the paragraph under Eq.(29) on page 9 in this paper. What does the word 'uniform ' mean? Simply from the ...
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0answers
386 views

Difference between inorganic and organic semiconductors: electronic structure or configuration, or?

Organic semiconductors differ from inorganic semiconductors. In organic semiconductors the molecules are held together by weak van der Waals interactions and in inorganic semiconductors by covalent ...
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1answer
506 views

What's a better phrase than “speed of light” for the universal spacetime speed constant? [closed]

The phrase "speed of light" is commonly used for the constant c =3E8 m/s, a feature that's "hardcoded" into the structure of spacetime. All massless waves and particles move at this speed, and it's a ...
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5answers
104 views

Is there a more scientific term for “obstruction of EM waves”?

When EM waves pass through things like rain and hail, they can be "obstructed" and bounced back or absorbed, rather than passing through. I'm conducting an experiment on this effect, and wondered if ...
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1answer
99 views

How to pronounce $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$

It seems that $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$ (and its multiples) is commonly used as the unit of mass in particle physics. For example, David Griffiths uses it quite naturally in Introduction to Elementary ...
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4answers
2k 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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4answers
10k views

What is the difference between a moment and a couple?

In mechanical engineering, the torque due to a couple is given by $\tau = P\times d$, where $\tau$ is the resulting couple, $P~$ is one of the force vectors in the couple and $d$ is the arm of the ...
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3answers
655 views

Opposite of Cryogenics

Cryogenics is related to very low temperatures, so, what is the term when referring to very high temperatures?
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1answer
140 views

Why is it called “annihilation”?

The term "annihilate" literally means "turn into nothing". However, when a particle and antiparticle collide, they clearly do not turn into nothing; they simply transform into different particles. ...
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2answers
192 views

Representations of Lie algebras in physics

Why is an invariant vector subspace sometimes called a representation? For example in Lie algebras, say su(3), the subspace characterized by the highest weight (1,0) is an irreducible representation ...
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2answers
787 views

What the difference between “orbital” and “orbit”?

What's the difference between "ortibal" and "orbit"? Which one should be used in physics? In quantum mechanics, is "atomic orbital" or "atomic orbit" used? And what about in classical mechanics? A ...
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3answers
848 views

If an atom is fully ionized by removing all electrons, is it still an atom?

This is a question about terminology. To me, it's clear that the nucleus of an atom is still an atom. But a comment by Willie Wong at Is nature symmetric between particles and antiparticles? raises ...
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2answers
141 views

May molecules of ideal gases have an inner structure?

The following question is probably very elementary: whether molecules of ideal gases may have optic properties? As far as I understand, when one discusses optic properties, one assumes that molecules ...
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4answers
702 views

what is it called: box potential with one infinite wall

The finite square well and the infinite square well problem are well known, however is there a reason that there is almost no reference to the one sided infinite square well? Consider a particle ...
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2answers
61 views

Where does the term “boost” come from for rotation-free transformations?

I had never seen rotation free transformations called "boosts" (I think I have it right) before reading some questions here. I'm too old perhaps. I have not found the etymology after some searching, ...
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3answers
1k views

Differences between symmetric, Hermitian, self-adjoint, and essentially self-adjoint operators

I am a physicist. I always heard physicists used the terminology "symmetric", "Hermitian", "self-adjoint", and "essentially self-adjoint" operators interchangeably. Actually what is the difference ...
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2answers
101 views

Terminology for opposite null lines

Is there a name for two null lines that lie on the opposite sides of the null cone? Each line can be obtained from the other by reflection in the axis of the null cone (the time-axis). In terms of ...
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2answers
7k views

Are all metals good conductor of electricity?

I am writing an article for kids, which is on conductors and insulators of electricity. If I make a statement that "All metals are electrical conductors and all non-metals are electrical insulators" ...
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1answer
359 views

Why are the quarks so named?

Quarks have a variety of names (or flavours): Up Down Strange Charm Bottom or Beauty Top or Truth Why do they have such odd names?
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116 views

Why is the Faraday Tensor derived from the Lorentz force?

If we start from the Lorentz force, $$\textbf{F}=q\textbf{E} +q\textbf{v}\times\textbf{B}$$ and use the four velocity u$^{\mu}$ and the four momentum p$^{\nu}$, then we get to ...
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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 ...