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

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1answer
31 views

Formula relating sum of values of a function to its integral

I came across the above formula in some quantum mechanics lecture notes explaining the Casimir effect. Anyone seen it before if so could you please tell me its 'name'. B refers to the Bernoulli ...
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1answer
27 views

Definition of a Supercluster

A group of astronomers in September 2014 redefined what classifies a supercluster. Before this, the supercluster where the Milky Way resides was the Virgo Supercluster. Now, the Virgo Supercluster ...
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1answer
288 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
189 views

Meaning of the term 'bulk'

I have recently started reading literature on 2 dimensional systems in Condensed matter. While reading, I frequently came across the word 'bulk'. Sometimes it referred to 2-D and sometimes to 3-D. I ...
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1answer
44 views

What is the $D_{x^2-y^2}$ symmetry/channel/instabilitied referred to with regards to super-conductivity?

I have been reading various articles on Renormalization group where they compute the flow of some parameter which becomes increasingly attractive and then say that parameter is responsible for Cooper ...
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3answers
24k views

What is difference between homogeneous vs isotropic material?

When we say a material is isotropic? When properties such as density, Young's modulus etc. are same in all directions. If these properties are direction dependent, then we can say that the material is ...
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7answers
661 views

What is inertia of a body?

The definition of inertia is "Inertia is the resistance offered by the body whenever its state of motion is changed." What is inertia of a body? Is inertia actually a force exerted by the body? If ...
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0answers
27 views

Rolling drag and action-reaction forces

I do not understand the two factors acting on the car during driving, they are Rolling drag which it is rolling resistance and action-reaction forces. If the Rolling friction reduces the the car ...
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1answer
97 views

Tension in the string produced due to pulling vs pushing

I know that tension is produced when we pull the rope, but what if we push it? What would that be called? Is that tension too? Negative tension?
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0answers
26 views

Optical path length and extremum time taken in Fermat's principle [duplicate]

Could someone please explain what is meant by stationary optical path length and extremum time taken in Fermat's principle?
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0answers
108 views

Why does Wikipedia equate hidden symmetry with broken symmetry for the standard model?

I have recently started studying the basic ideas of symmetry and group representation in order to understand the basic principles behind the standard model. I do follow the difference between a global ...
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2answers
46 views

In stellar astrophysics, what is the difference between protostellar disk and circumstellar disk?

I have noticed both the terms "protostellar disk" and "circumstellar disk" in the stellar astrophysics and exoplanet literature. What exactly is the difference?
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1answer
41 views

Spin-resolved current [closed]

What is spin-revolved current? Is it the spin current?
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0answers
32 views

What is the difference between Reissner-Nordstrom (RN) black hole and dyonic black hole?

A RN black hole is a black hole with electric charge, and a dyonic black hole with both electric charge and magnetic charge. My Questions: Is the above statement correct? Is the charges the unique ...
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1answer
26 views

Correct terminology for when neutral atom is ionized due to an electric field?

An electric field will cause an induced dipole in neutral atoms when present - I presume that if the field were strong enough the magnitude of the polarization could exceed a critical length and cause ...
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4answers
9k views

What is “pure energy” in matter-antimatter annihilation made of?

I used to read the term "pure energy" in the context of matter-antimatter annihilation. Is the "pure energy" spoken of photons? Is it some form of heat? Some kind of particles with mass? ...
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1answer
38 views

Does “converge” mean intersecting and producing image when we are taking about convex lenses?

After reading the chapter on convex lens, I saw several places where "converge" is used. In the very beginning of the chapter, my book says "converging lenses bring light together". So I thought ...
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3answers
59 views

Wavelength vs Wavenumber etiquette

When am I supposed to use the terminology of EM "wavenumber", instead of "wavelength" (or frequency)? The concepts of wavelength and frequency are no problem for me, but wavenumber (number of ...
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2answers
119 views

What is high energy physics?

Is high energy physics the same as particle physics? Does research in high-energy physics include things like quantum gravity, string theory and quantum field theory? Is unifying the four ...
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2answers
74 views

Why do people say “finite temperature” instead of “nonzero/positive temperature”? [duplicate]

This question is about terminology. The term "finite temperature" is often used to mean positive temperature, or equivalently finite inverse temperature $\beta = 1/T$. It seems to me that better ...
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1answer
61 views

Is harmonic oscillator continuous variable system?

In the literature I have seen that the notions "our system is continuous variable system", "Hilbert space of our system is infinite" were used as if they were equivalent. For example for harmonic ...
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0answers
62 views

Terminology: Gauge stress?

When a material is loaded with a force, the stress at some location in the material is defined as the applied force per unit of cross-sectional area. If I have a material submerged in pressurized ...
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0answers
111 views

What are the differences between logistic map, poincaré map, attractor, phase portrait, bifurcation diagram? [closed]

What are the differences between Logistic map, Poincaré map, Attractor, Phase portrait, Bifurcation diagram Currently I became interested in chaos theory and non-linear dynamics. While ...
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1answer
85 views

What is the defintion of a current-current diagram?

Right now I am facing some Feynman diagram calculations and in the instructions I am reading the phrase current-current diagram appears quite often so I wanted to know: What is the definition of a ...
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3answers
126 views

How to tell if area is displacement or distance?

why is it not called "velocity v. time"? how do you know? If the y-value can be either positive or negative, the direction is then indicated. i think this is why it should be called velocity but ...
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0answers
45 views

What is crossover?

It is known that EW and QCD phase transitions in SM are so-called "crossovers". What is the difference between crossover and phase transition of the second kind?
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11answers
18k views

What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? All of them have ...
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2answers
509 views

Difference between locality and causality?

I ask this question as the two seem to be very closely related and are sometimes taken to be one and the same (in the notion of microcausality in QFT), which has left me confused as to what meaning of ...
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1answer
818 views

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics?

What is an effective potential in classical mechanics? I have read the wikipedia article and David Tong's lectures notes, but I didn't understand how an effective potential simplifies a situation or ...
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2answers
106 views

What does it mean by saying the generators of translations transform as vectors under the Lorentz Group?

The commutator of generators of Lorentz transformation and translation is as follow: $$[M^{\mu\nu},P^\sigma]=i(P^\mu\eta^{\nu\sigma}-P^\nu\eta^{\mu\sigma} ).$$ Then from this we usually say that the ...
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2answers
111 views

Is escape velocity really a velocity?

The term escape velocity is quite common to us. But we know velocity is a dimension dependent on the direction. But the escape velocity has same value irrespective of from where it is thrown from the ...
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0answers
62 views

Electromagnetic transfer function

In a paper on the superlens, I came across the term of "transfer function". I understand that the transfer function relates the output to a given input, but I've been unable to find a formula for the ...
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2answers
167 views

Rigorous distinction between quasiparticles and collective excitations

I would like to hear your opinion on the question whether there is an accepted distinction between both concepts in condensed matter physics. I would tend to use the word quasiparticle for dressed ...
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1answer
83 views

What is meant by a preliminary run at the LHC?

I am a bit confused over the meaning of "Preliminary run" when referring to the LHC experiments CMS and ATLAS. For example in this summary, Figure 2 refers to both the CMS $19.7\ \mathrm{fb^{-1}}$ ...
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1answer
207 views

Group representations as vectors and isomorphism between weights and matrix generators

This might be something basic, but it is unclear to me. So I am used to work with representations of groups as matrices. These matrices represent the structure of the Lie algebra by satisfying the ...
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0answers
50 views

What's the difference between frequency, spectral and cepstral domains?

I have a hard time teasing apart the conceptual difference between these three domains, and constantly mix them up in my head. I've been reading up on it, but I can't wrap my head around it. a ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Quadrature in quantum optics

I am reading a chapter about Squeezed state, and came across this word, quadrature, which I have never seen before in the book. Here is the quote from that chapter. " A general class of ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space?

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space? In particular, I notices that Lagrangians are defined over configuration space and Hamiltonians over phase space. Liouville's ...
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6answers
1k views

Gibbs free energy intuition

What is Gibbs free energy? As my book explains: Gibbs energy is the energy of a system available for work. So, what does it want to tell? Why is it free? Energy means ability to do work. What is ...
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3answers
21k views

What is the difference between angular speed and tangential speed in a circular motion?

I was looking a long time for the way the equations of this two speeds are obtained, and i found pretty much nothing important, so can someone explain how are those obtained, and which is the ...
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1answer
70 views

Is UV catastrophe same as IR catastrophe?

I am currently studying quantum physics from Serwey-jewet. Where in the topic of Planck's law, infrared catastrophe is alternatively used for UV catastrophe while explaining how Plancks constant ...
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1answer
90 views

Do gauge bosons really transform according to the adjoint representation of the gauge group?

Its commonly said that gauge bosons transform according to the adjoint representation of the corresponding gauge group. For example, for $SU(2)$ the gauge bosons live in the adjoint $3$ dimensional ...
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0answers
59 views

What does 'easily reversed' mean in the NIST spectral database? [closed]

Cross posted to http://engineering.stackexchange.com/q/3303/ I'm trying to do some processing of optical emission spectra from sputtering plasmas, and am confused by what NIST means by 'easily ...
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1answer
97 views

What operation does a beam splitter apply?

What is the unitary matrix equivalent to the operation of a beam splitter? I'm asking because I've seen different matrices used and was wondering if the term is just ambiguous or if there's an agreed ...
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0answers
84 views

Dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory

What is the difference between dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory? I read that in QFT there is no possibility to keep the two things distinct because of a problem with the separability of ...
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1answer
78 views

What does “downshear” mean?

I occasionally read descriptions such as "downshear of the vortex" in meteorological publications. What does this mean?
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3answers
534 views

In the double slit experiment what, exactly, is a slit?

I have seen and read several times about the double slit experiment, that an electron (or even a molecule (!) as I found out later) behaves like a wave that swaps over those slits. However I wonder ...
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0answers
35 views

Measurement of drag (?) tension between two surfaces

I want to know if there are (reasonably inexpensive) devices to measure the tension between two surfaces. Beware of my terminology: the first help I need is to actually formulate my question ...
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1answer
53 views

What is “forward peaking”?

In "Research and Development for a Gadolinium Doped Water Cherenkov Detector" the phrase "forward peaking" is used to describe a signal. This comes up in lots of other contexts too, but I still can't ...
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2answers
246 views

What is meant by “unique direction” in most of the arguments in application of Gauss' Law?

This term is really bothering me a lot. While explaining the radial direction of electric field of a uniformly charged sphere, my book writes: Notice the use of argument of symmetry. There is no ...