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

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Generic term comprising everything that can be represented with a number and a unit?

I am looking for the generic term comprising all of the following: $23.42\,\text{m}$ $200\,\text{K}$ $123\,\text{MeV}$ $ħ$ with other words, everything that can be reasonably represented ...
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3answers
92 views

In terms of physics, does the phrase “time slows down” mean the same thing as “things happen more slowly?”

The common definition of "time" is a type of measurement, like size. But the sentence "size gets bigger" doesn't make any sense. Is "time slows down" an odd phrasing of "events occur more slowly" or ...
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3answers
2k views

Long/short-range interaction

A potential of the form $r^{-n}$ is often considered long-range, while one that decays exponentially is considered short-range. Is this characterization simply relative/conventional, or is there a ...
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3answers
925 views

Planets and Pluto? Neptune?

If one of the rules to be a planet is that it needs to clear ALL objects from their orbit, does this also make Neptune a non-planet? Since it has thus far failed to clear Pluto from it's orbit. Or ...
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1answer
51 views

Angular displacement after full rotation

I was wondering is why angular displacement isn't $0$ after $n$ full rotations?
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0answers
51 views

Which scientists have managed to name their laws/terms after themselves? [closed]

It would be pretty vain for someone to name a scientific law, unit, or term after themselves. "Newtons" as the name for the measurement of force, for example, was adopted in 1948, so I don't expect ...
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3answers
1k views

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics?

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics for states which are not eigenstates of the Hamiltonian i.e. which do not have definite energies? Can a superposition state like ...
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1answer
112 views

What is the name for the “nothing particle”? [closed]

What is the name for a particle with zero mass, zero charge, no strong force, no weak force and has no energy?
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1answer
60 views

Why is the specific notation used for term symbols useful?

This has bugged me for a long time. Term symbols describe electronic states of atoms which have well-defined total electronic angular momentum $J$ as well as total spin and orbital angular momenta ...
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1answer
127 views

Has the Nobel committee mixed up this years prizes for Physics and Chemistry? [closed]

The title of the question is tongue-in-cheek but the question remains: How does the Nobel committee delineate the fields when awarding work which is of such an inter-disciplinary nature. The chemistry ...
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2answers
161 views

What's the difference between hopping and tunneling?

My professor made a distinction between electron hopping (the closest wikipedia had an article on) and tunneling, saying that one (he didn't say which, but I assume hopping) was temperature dependent ...
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1answer
36 views

Why is a “Semi-leptonic” Decay Mode called so?

Why is a semileptonic decay mode called so? I mean, if there is one lepton amongst the decay products, it should be leptonic, right? If there are two, that should be called bi-leptonic or something ...
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2answers
143 views

How to understand whether potential energy increases or decreases?

I am confused by how to deal with the negative sign in the equation $U=-GMm/r^2$ in the following problem: If the distance between two masses is tripled, then the magnitude of the gravitational ...
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0answers
31 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 ...
3
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2answers
544 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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1answer
41 views

What does the term 'hyperbolic model' mean?

I am reading this non-linear discrete dynamical system paper. The authors mention the term hyperbolic model. What does that mean?
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3answers
1k views

What is the specific meaning of “Fourier frequency” (as opposed to simply “frequency”)?

I've noticed that many journal articles (in optics) use the phrase "Fourier frequency" to describe, well, the frequency of something. Google scholar search for "Fourier frequency". Example: ...
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2answers
39 views

Meaning of SIS in accelerators

With reference to accelerator facilities, the term "SIS" is often used. e.g. SIS-100, SIS-300 etc. What does SIS stand for, in this context? (The last S is probably for Synchrotron) Google appears ...
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4answers
1k views

Is 'restoring force' a particular type of force?

I have a question about the restoring force in elastic band or rope which confusing me for a long time. As I was told in high school physics, for an elastic band (or spring), if Hooke's law holds, we ...
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4answers
8k views

Are matrices and second rank tensors the same thing?

Tensors are mathematical objects that are needed in physics to define certain quantities. I have a couple of questions regarding them that need to be clarified: Are matrices and second rank tensors ...
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1answer
109 views

How does Dirac form this conjugate imaginary equation?

On page 30 of Dirac's book $$\xi|P\rangle = a|P\rangle\tag{12}$$ He then says Suppose we have a solution of (12) and we form the conjugate imaginary equation, which will read $$\langle ...
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5answers
718 views

Is speed an intensive property?

I remember being taught in elementary physics that while it makes sense to add volumes, masses, or heat, it makes no sense to add temperatures. As I wanted to use that to illustate some other issue, ...
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1answer
97 views

Use of the term first order dependency

In a question I am doing it says: Show explicitly that the function $$y(t)=\frac{-gt^2}{2}+\epsilon t(t-1)$$ yields an action that has no first order dependency on $\epsilon$. Also my textbook ...
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1answer
115 views

Buoyancy / Drag Problem

Buoyancy / Drag Problem Just a little bit of help would be nice. I have a spherical particle of radius $R$ and density $\rho$, surrounded in a fluid of density $\phi$ and viscosity $\eta$. I'm ...
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2answers
489 views

Why is density an intensive property?

I am still trying to understand what are intensive and extensive properties. Possibly someone can give a pointer to a decent text (preferably on the web), as I am not too happy (to say the least) with ...
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1answer
57 views

Friedmann equations question

Friedmann equations for critical density is: $$\rho_c = \frac{3H^2}{8\pi G}$$ Is there any other way to write this equation? For example: $$\rho_c = \frac{3}{8\pi GH^2}$$ I saw the above form on ...
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3answers
273 views

Is a “shift in the meaning” of Accuracy and Precision occurring?

Accuracy and precision are among the most fundamental concepts in experimental physics, and, I always believed, completely unambiguous. Recently I found that the Wikipedia article on Accuracy and ...
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0answers
67 views

Why are Lagrangian subspaces called 'Lagrangian'?

I am wondering what the special role of Lagrangian subspaces (or submanifolds) are in mechanics. Do these subspaces have some sort of special property for which we have some sort of `Lagrangian ...
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4answers
45 views

Can the term «shadow» pertain to anything else than light? [closed]

Can the term shadow pertain to anything else than light? Feel free to interpret this question in the widest sense possible.
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2answers
202 views

Conservation laws and continuity equations

I'm a bit messed up with conservation laws and continuity equations. This is my understanding: A conservation law describes that a physical quantity $G$ is conserved with time. It does not prevent ...
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0answers
118 views

What does “P-wave” mean when referring to a particle?

In scattering theory, P wave means $l=1$, where $l$ is the azimuthal quantum number. However, what does P wave mean when referring to particle states? For example, in this paper (arXiv link), the ...
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1answer
30 views

Can Allan variance be generalized such that the “Oscillator model” is not presumed?

The definition of Allan variance, $\sigma^2[ \tau ]$, which relates to "stability of clocks" is described on the Wikipedia page as being derived in terms of an "Oscillator model": "The oscillator ...
3
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1answer
134 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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3answers
291 views

Is it time or duration? [closed]

Taking this post: "Is there a proof of existence of time?", as a starting point. Therein was mentioned that there is confusion between: "time" and "flow of time". There was a comment (of mine) that ...
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2answers
240 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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3answers
198 views

What is the work done against a force?

Suppose a particle travels a path $\gamma : I\subset \mathbb{R}\to \mathbb{R}^3$ subject to a force $\mathbf{F}: \mathbb{R}^3\to T\mathbb{R}^3$, then we know that we define the work done by the force ...
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3answers
176 views

Configuration manifolds and constraints

In Classical Mechanics there's this notion of configuration manifold. Although I've heard about that a lot and although I often use that concept, I'm not sure I really understand them well because ...
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5answers
2k views

Is 'amp' a technically invalid term?

I've been told to use the term ampere in exams and class (I'm in high school), instead of amp as it's not a valid unit, although I've been using the amp for years along with all of my friends who do ...
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2answers
1k views

In layman's terms, what is a quantum fluctuation?

What causes it and how does it occur? If you do post some mathematics, please explain what each term means too please.
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1answer
26 views

What are “finely subdivided” substances?

As in the title, what does it mean for a substance to be finely subdivided, or finely grained? For example: It is only in the cases for which the ratio area/volume is very large (for example, a ...
3
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1answer
75 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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0answers
283 views

Gauge invariant but not gauge covariant regularization

I'm not sure if someone's already asked this before, but I was wondering, in field theory, when we say that a certain field is gauge invariant but not gauge covariant, what does this mean? In ...
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0answers
17 views

Is there some other name used for “ping rigidity”?

In MTW, p. 398, "Box 16.4 (continued)", there's an interesting sketch (which can also be seen on p. 15 of this excerpt (www.pma.caltech.edu/~ph236/yr2008/readings/MTW_Chapter16.pdf). (It's not the ...
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1answer
66 views

Are there more distinctive names of “null curves” with certain additional properties (absence of “chord curves”)?

In this answer (to the question "In general relativity, are light-like curves light-like geodesics?", PSE/q/76170) a particular example of a curve is discussed whose "tangent is everywhere null" and ...
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0answers
154 views

Why supra-conductivity became super-conductivity?

The original article by the Kamerlingh Onnes team in Leiden does not give a name to the new effect: Kamerlingh Onnes, H. Further experiments with liquid helium. C. On the change of electric ...
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2answers
151 views

Is there a difference between Hertz and 'frames per second'?

It's not uncommon that the term 'frames per second' (sometimes abbreviated as fps or FPS) is associated with, or even equated to, the unit Hertz (Hz). I'm not exactly sure how these two concepts ...
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2answers
288 views

Action and Action integral: Different kinds of variational principles

What are the difference between: the action $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}(L+H) dt$ that we use in the principle of least action, and the action integral $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}L dt$ that we use in ...
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1k views

What is “code” in “toric code”?

When I first heard people talking about using Kitaev's toric code to do topological quantum computation, I was thinking how many lines does the toric code have. Then I was told that the "code" really ...
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2answers
72 views

Changing from potential to kinetic energy

During a conversation with a friend, I began to wonder if there's is a term for the transformation of potential energy to kinetic energy, and vice versa.Is there a term for the process of converting ...
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4answers
80 views

Measurement in reciprocal metres

I'm trying to name a measurement that is measured in reciprocal length, which is in a draft document for vehicle risk management. It currently says: ...