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

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1answer
40 views

What process happens in an IT nuclear decay?

I've been researching medical isotopes and alot of them decay by an IT path. Does anyone know what IT stands for? And what physical process is happening? Example: ...
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2answers
78 views

What is to be considered a “body” in physics?

Well, the question says it all; is there a definition of body in physics? What is to be considered a physical object and what it cannot?
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1answer
70 views

Statistical mechanics vs. many-body theory

Where is the basic difference of statistical mechanics with many-body physics? What are the systems which cannot be studied in statistical mechanics but in many body theory? After all we know ...
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1answer
65 views

What is the relationship between harmonic motion and the harmonics of a wave?

I learned about harmonic motion and harmonic oscillators a long time ago in physics, but I can't remember what the relationship between that and and the definition of harmonic in a wave. A harmonic ...
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1answer
27 views

What is the difference between a measurement and an experiment?

For example, say I want to determine the atomic structure of a bio molecule. I purify the molecule, get it to crystallize (probably though trial and error), shoot it with X-rays, observe the scatter ...
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1answer
73 views

What is a “fundamental thermodynamic relation”?

My professor handed me a quiz in which he said something like (I don't remember exactly) "write down the four fundamental thermodynamic relations for $A,G,H,U$". I showed the differential elements of ...
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2answers
66 views

Do the matrices $S^{\mu\nu} = \frac{1}{4}[\gamma^\mu, \gamma^\nu]$ have a name?

Do the matrices $S^{\mu\nu}$ defined by $$ S^{\mu\nu} = \frac{1}{4}[\gamma^\mu, \gamma^\nu] $$ have a name ($\gamma^\mu$ are the gamma matrices)? They feel very important to me since they form a ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between electromagnet and solenoid?

What is the difference between electromagnet and solenoid? Both these terms seem as the same thing to me. The only difference that I can find seems to be that an electromagnet contains a soft iron ...
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1answer
138 views

What's the difference between binding energy and separation energy?

My understanding of the two was as follows: the binding energy of a nucleus is, classically speaking, the energy needed to put together/take apart that nucleus completely (i.e. a measure of the strong ...
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2answers
82 views

Name for Earth?

What is the proper word for 'Earth', as in 'Solar' and 'Lunar'? I cannot find this anywhere; I am guessing there is a word that starts with geo?
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3answers
7k views

What is the difference between a pulse and a wave?

I wanted to ask what is the difference between a pulse and a wave? According to the definitions of them, they are almost the same. In the websites I looked at, the difference between them was ...
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3answers
136 views

What is meant by phase, phase difference, in (and out of) phase in wave terminology?

What is meant by phase, phase difference, in (and out of) phase in wave terminology? How do you get the relation $$y=A\sin(\omega t + \phi)?$$ Since the graph of sin function is identical to that of a ...
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4answers
7k views

Torque vs Moment

I was wondering, why in Newtonian physics torque is called "torque" while in static mechanics they call it "moment"? I prefer by far the term "torque", for not only it sounds strong, but also ...
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2answers
159 views

Is internal symmetry the same as gauge symmetry?

This is more a terminology question. I have seen that some people differentiate between the two types of symmetry: internal symmetry and gauge symmetry (of a field theory). Is there a difference (in ...
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1answer
108 views

Eigenfunctions of Schrödinger equation

Why are solutions of the Schrödinger equation called eigenfunctions? For an electron moving in one dimensional lattice the eigenfunctions are given by$$\psi(x)=u_k(x)e^{ikx}.$
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3answers
361 views

Given the Wikipedia notion of “arc length”, how is its manifestly real “signed variant” to be called and denoted?

I am dissatisfied with the presentation (not to say "definition") of "arc length", in its "Generalization to (pseudo-)Riemannian manifolds", as given in Wikipedia. (Who isn't?. But I'll sketch it here ...
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2answers
155 views

What is the difference between leptons and baryons?

I am learning about the formation of the first atoms and, from what I am reading, before heavy particles, like neutrons and protons could form, there were already other types of particles, called ...
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1answer
66 views

What is a self adjusting force?

What is a self adjusting force? I searched it everywhere on internet but not got my answer and I have no other source to get its answer except this site so please help me.
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3answers
167 views

Kinematic Viscosity

How would you define kinematic viscosity? What does it physically represent? Around the Internet I've found it defined as just a ratio, and that's it. I saw in an answer that I can think of it as ...
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5answers
2k views

Why are electromagnetic waves called waves even though they don't travel through a medium?

If waves are defined as the oscillation of a medium, why are electromagnetic waves called waves as they do not need a medium to travel through?
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4answers
55 views

Who is said to do Work, me or the body?

If I subject my force to a body and it is displaced then the work is said to be done. What is that work done by? Is it said to be done by me or that body?
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1answer
38 views

Mutually Commutative

What is the definition of a Mutually Commutative set of operators? I've found articles describing a complete set of mutually commutative operators, but I can't actually find what mutually commutative ...
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2answers
55 views

Is a constant transformation still considered a gauge transformation?

I've never even considered the possibility that a constant transformation would not qualify as a gauge transformation. But I'm reading a paper that seems to make exactly this distinction. In ...
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1answer
79 views

Why oobleck does not obey Newtonian dynamics? [duplicate]

In the following post we can see that some guys are walking on Non-Newtonian fluids. As far as I know that, we can not predict the exact amount of strain if we predict some forces. therefore the curve ...
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0answers
38 views

Motion Integrals of a Particle in a Force Field

I am trying to wrap my head around the following problem: A point particle is moving in a field, where its potential energy is U=-α/r. Find first motion integrals. In our university we have no ...
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1answer
79 views

What is the difference between the diffusion equation and the heat equation?

I know that the diffusion equation is a more general version of the heat equation. But what is the exact difference informally?
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1answer
58 views

What does it mean the term “probe brane”?

What does it exactly mean the term "probe brane"? People say for example: We put a stack of N branes at some point and then a probe brane ..." How do they appear in AdS/CFT? Can you give me an ...
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1answer
196 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 ...
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0answers
75 views

How can we count 17 particles in the standard model

This may be a bit of numerology, but I'd like to be able to make a statement like "There are 17 particles in the standard model" with some logical definition of a particle. But this statement is ...
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0answers
42 views

How would you define a difference in potential?

I'm currently in 12th grade, and am required to write an essay about physics and biology. The topic of the essay is the artificial brain (with the researches of the Human Brain Project in Switzerland ...
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3answers
1k views

What is basically the difference between static pressure and dynamic pressure?

What is basically the difference between static pressure and dynamic pressure? While studying Bernoulli's theorem, I came before these terms. The law says: When the fluid flows through a small ...
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6answers
1k views

What is “special” and what is “general” in Relativity?

Initially I thought in special relativity the velocity was constant, whereas general relativity allowed treatment of accelerated frames as well. But now I have heard that SR is only valid locally?
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1answer
54 views

What are the differences between special and general relativity? [duplicate]

What are the differences between special relativity and general relativity? I am looking for a naive, non-mathematical explanation.
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0answers
28 views

Definition of a semiconductor

Originally I had learned that solids are split into two categories: isolators/semiconductors, and metals. The fundamental difference between the two is the existence of a bandgap. Metals don't have ...
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1answer
65 views

Does reverse biasing hold any meaning in case if both terminals are n type semiconductors?

When we talk about an n-p-n transistor in common emitter configuration, we often say that emitter-collector circuit (the one towards right) is reverse biased. In what sense it is reverse biased? Here, ...
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1answer
30 views

Forgotten word meaning susceptability to direction

A little over a year ago, I encountered a descriptive word with respect to experimental physics, describing the phenomenon in which calibrating an instrument from one direction will yield a different ...
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1answer
31 views

In astronomy, what is a 'reflex orbit'?

In astronomy, what is a reflex orbit? The term is used in one of my books, but u don't find a definition for it. Googling it gives me articles about 'Oculocardiac reflex' which is not what I want. ...
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1answer
37 views

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
138 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
105 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
55 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
145 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
118 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
94 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
194 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
54 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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27 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
164 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
64 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
227 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 ...