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

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1answer
58 views

Vectors finding direction include the difference between “north of east” and “east of north”

In what direction is your friend from the starting point after skiing 3 km east and then 1.5 km north? so far I know that angle= tan-1(opp/adj)=(1.5/3.0) angle= 26....
3
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1answer
265 views

Why is the projective symmetry group (PSG) called projective?

As discussed by Prof.Wen in the context of the quantum orders of spin liquids, PSG is defined as all the transformations that leave the mean-field ansatz invariant, IGG is the so-called invariant ...
0
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1answer
818 views

Brightness of light sources

I would like to know what determines the brightness of light. I'm confused, After hours of reading, I got these definitions mixed up I need to link them together: Light intensity Brightness of ...
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0answers
40 views

Name of the fourth entropy potential

Wikipedia's "Free Entropy" page lists three entropy potentials: Entropy, $S$, with natural variables $U$ and $V$ Massieu Potential / Helmholtz Free Entropy, $\Phi$, with natural variables $1/T$ and $...
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0answers
35 views

Why is Bohr's explanation called Bohr's model and not Bohr's theory?

I have seen an answer which tells the difference between model (specific) and a theory (general). And it makes sense 'coz Bohr explained it for the hydrogen atom only. But did he not make a set of ...
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2answers
75 views

Is standing wave realy a wave [closed]

We know that at least the waves inside a flute or laser make resonance waves,and simply we know that a standing wave is superposition of two waves that are propagating in oposit direction,for example ...
2
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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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0answers
75 views

What is a Witten diagram?

Recently I heard the terminology of Witten diagram. Studying QFT, I frequently see Feynman diagrams and use them to compute scattering amplitudes, one-loop corrections and so on. In string theory ...
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1answer
80 views

How is father of physics appointed? [closed]

I've tried Google, but couldn't figured out exactly whether its Newton, Einstein or Galileo. What is the criteria for appointment of father for a particular subject?
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5answers
799 views

A reference frame is any coordinate system or just a set of Cartesian axes?

In Physics the idea of a reference frame is one important idea. In many texts I've seem, a reference frame is not defined explicitly, but rather there seems to be one implicit definition that a ...
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1answer
117 views

What does $L^2(S^1,\mu_H)$ mean?

It's a Hilbert space, $\mu_H$ stands for the Haar measure on $U(1)$, but what does $S^1$ mean? I found it in one of my quantum mechanics books which approaches from a very 'mathematical' way.
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1answer
34 views

How do we call in English scientific terms the Fermat's principle about back and forth light traversal?

We know that the path followed by the light from point A to point B is independent of the direction of propagation of light. This is what is called in French "le principe de retour inverse de la ...
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4answers
57 views

Same equation, different meanings

I went into a physics classroom today and saw this equation written on the board: $$ E = \frac \sigma \epsilon $$ At first I thought it referred to the electric field $ E $ between 2 parallel plates ...
3
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1answer
85 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 ...
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4answers
141 views

What is meant by an excited atom?

I want to know how an atom is when it is excited. If an atom, due to collision of another fast moving atom, becomes fast moving as well, is that also an "excited state"?
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0answers
92 views

Which scientist is this?

Okay so I was watching discovery channel, in that i saw a man cleaning live electric wires of 10k volts in the air, he was not touching the ground. They said he was able to do this because of the "law"...
0
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1answer
83 views

Doesn't linear motion include curvilinear and rectilinear motion?

From some Portuguese language textbooks, I learned the following definitions: linear motion (movimento linear): motion along a line; rectilinear motion (movimento retilíneo): motion along a straight ...
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0answers
53 views

Terminology - optical (visual) properties of a structure

I am trying to understand few terminological problems that I encounter. Without knowing keywords it is hard to perform search for literature or publications in the area. The area relates to the ...
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3answers
62 views

What is the difference between accelerating and boosting?

My professor claimed in class that there was a difference between an acceleration and a boost. I don't really understand the distinction. If you want to go to a different inertial frame of reference, ...
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0answers
44 views

What is $\mathrm{U(1)}$ vector and axial?

In hadron physics we talked about $\mathrm{U(1)_V}$ (vector) and $\mathrm{U(1)_A}$ (axial) as well as $\mathrm{SU(3)_L}$ (left) and $\mathrm{SU(3)_R}$ (right). There are certain relations between them ...
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1answer
30 views

Prompt gamma emission vs gamma decay

I understand prompt gamma emission to mean gamma emission in a time period shorter than a second. I understand gamma decay to be the relaxion of a nucleus into a lower energy level by emission of a ...
3
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1answer
166 views

Repeated index in covariant derivative using abstract index notation

The same index showing up twice in the charge conservation law $\nabla_a j^a = 0$, as stated using abstract index notation, highly confuses me. If we chose a coordinate basis $\{\partial_\rho\}_{\...
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1answer
216 views

When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles were called Majorana fermions?

Since a number of years, the field of superconductivity has a growing obsession with Majorana fermions. I wonder how far back we can go: When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles ...
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4answers
39 views

What is the distinction between a “ray” and a “wave” in optics?

What is the distinction between a ray and a wave in optics? From what I can gather, the only discernible difference is in nomenclature, where a ray simply refers to an EM wave with short wavelengths. ...
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2answers
83 views

Distinguishing real forces and fictitious/pseudo forces in Newtonian mechanics

In understanding the law of inertia I had to consider the motion of bodies screened from the so called "real forces". What characterises these real forces? What makes us call them real? Or what is ...
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1answer
481 views

Does the Sun “drag the solar system through space”?

In this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHsq36_NTU#t=55 at 0:55, it is claimed that "the sun is [...] dragging the planets in its wake". Is this true? My understanding is that the sun and ...
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3answers
114 views

What does “fidelity” mean?

In particular I am interested in whether it is more closely related to "precision" or "accuracy". So a somewhat mathematical description might be appropriate. For example the word "fidelity" occurs ...
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39 views

Physical intuition on bivector in fluid dynamics

Reading the M. S. Howe's Theory of Vortex Sound I've ran into this exoression and equation: Let $v_A$ denote the fluid velocity at a point A at $x$. The velocity $v_B$ at a neighbouring point B at ...
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3answers
635 views

Should the term Watt's Law be used for $P = IV$?

I'm revising some electrical curriculum for a technical training program. In the curriculum students have to calculate values using Ohm's law and the equation $$\text{Power = Current * Voltage}$$ ...
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39 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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2answers
991 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
56 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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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 ...
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1answer
320 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 "...
3
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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
41 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
44 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 ...
0
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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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5answers
10k views

How do the terms comet, asteroid, meteoroid, meteor and meteorite differ?

These terms are frequently used interchangeably by the uninitiated to mean approximately “space rock”. In practical terms, how do their meanings differ?
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1answer
131 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
105 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 "...
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2answers
85 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
238 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, they'...
3
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2answers
82 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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2answers
47k views

What exactly is the difference between advection and convection?

After reading Wikipedia articles on advection and convection, I still cannot determine whether there is a consensus on a difference between these two terms. Sometimes, the term convection seems to ...
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1answer
120 views

What is the different between a dark state and a ground state?

In a atomic quantum system, typically discussing in quantum optics, there is something called dark state. A dark state is a state of a quantum system that does not emit any photon. A ground state also ...
4
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1answer
253 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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2answers
230 views

What is the clear cut difference between isotropic and anisotropic spin exchanges?

When are spin exchanges said to be isotropic or anisotropic? I have read several articles on this and can not differentiate these concepts properly.
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1answer
123 views

How is the formula for the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor derived?

I have seen in I.E. Irodov that if the permittivity is given as $\epsilon$ then we can find the capacitance as $$C = \frac{\epsilon A}{d}$$ but I wonder whether it is dimensionally correct or not and ...
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2answers
430 views

What is meant by 'a perfect dipole'?

Question What is meant by a perfect (electric) dipole? Additional information I came across the term in this question Force from point charge on perfect dipole and also in a textbook (which does ...