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

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0answers
38 views

Confusion about the use of the term “Phase Space” in Strogatz text

I've just started learning about Hamiltonian mechanics, and from the definition given in Taylor's classical mechanics, phase space must always have an even dimension. However, I recall from reading ...
2
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1answer
7k views

What is the $C_p/C_v$ ratio?

Recently in our chemistry class we read that the $C_p/C_v$ ratio of the inert gases is 1.66 thus they show inert nature. I asked my teacher what was $C_p/C_v$ ratio but he didn't answer me. So I want ...
2
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4answers
860 views

What is the Difference between a Lepton and a Fermion?

As the Title Says: I am Wondering what the Difference between a Lepton and A Fermion is. I know they both have an ½ integer spin number e.g. a electron, an atom with an odd mass number such as ...
0
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3answers
57 views

Image angle illusion [closed]

I am not sure whether this question on-topic here. (please suggest to migrate if this is off-topic) What is the phenomenon/illusion (or something else?) known as where in a photo of a person, the ...
0
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1answer
134 views

What is this simple mechanism called? [closed]

I often build with Lego and use this mechanism: It converts the rotational movement to linear by making the stick between the two blocks go back and forth. What is this mechanism called?
2
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1answer
54 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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6answers
790 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
77 views

What is “a vector of $SO(n)$”?

I'm watching (or trying to watch) this lecture from NPTEL on classical field theory. I've understood everything in the series up till this point, including the first half of the lecture on elementary ...
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1answer
112 views

Does “normal torque” exist?

Is there any force called normal torque? If a ruler is spinning, and it hits the floor, obviously it will stop. The floor must be exerting a "normal torque" on the ruler. If this exists, please tell ...
2
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1answer
61 views

The spin and weight of a primary field in CFT

A primary field in Conformal Field Theory transforms as $$\phi (z,\bar{z}) =\left(\frac{dz}{dz'} \right)^h \left(\frac{d\bar{z}}{d\bar{z}'} \right)^\bar{h}\phi (z',\bar{z}') $$ under a conformal ...
25
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4answers
1k views

“Slightly off-shell”?

I'm not new to QFT, yet there are some matters which are quite puzzling to me. I often come across the statement that real particles (the ones we actually measure in experiments, not virtual ones) are ...
0
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1answer
90 views

Is charge transfer from A to B positive or negative?

I see this term pop up a lot -- for instance "charge is transferred from atom A to atom B", but it's never specified whether they're talking about positive or negative charge. I know electrical ...
2
votes
2answers
864 views

Differences between astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology? [closed]

What is the main difference between Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology? I have the impression that astronomy is a subject that runs parallel to physics but it is outside the physics field. This ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Is there a scientific term for star formation?

It might be my stupidity to think that many laymen terms that most people use to describe some physics phenomena usually have a scientifically accepted term or name? The process of star formation, ...
10
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4answers
537 views

What is an interpretation of quantum mechanics?

In the sense of "Copenhagen Interpretation", what exactly is an interpretation? What purpose does an interpretation serve? Can an interpretation be tested or even be correct or incorrect independent ...
5
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2answers
447 views

What is a gauge in a gauge theory?

As I study Jackson, I am getting really confused with some of its key definitions. Here is what I am getting confused at. When we substituted the electric field and magnetic field in terms of the ...
0
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1answer
31 views

What is “Lifetime Intensity” in photoluminescence?

I'm reading an article "Surface plasmon enhanced Förster resonance energy transfer between the CdTe quantum dots". Link The reasearchers are writing about increase in "lifetime intensity" and even ...
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2answers
141 views

Is uniform circular motion an SHM?

I know the projection along a diameter is an SHM but is circular motion itself an SHM? If we consider the mean position to be the center of the circle then the centripetal acceleration is proportional ...
0
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1answer
89 views

Definition of “destructive” interference of waves

What is the commonly accepted precise definition of "destructive" interference of waves. Does it mean: interference with complete cancellation or interference where the amplitude gets smaller ...
3
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1answer
139 views

Why is a dipole moment called a dipole moment?

The General Formula for a moment is the following one: $$ \vec{M} = \vec{r} \times \vec{F}. $$ However the formula for a dipole moment is this one: $$ \vec{p} = Q \vec{d}. $$ How comes this is still ...
0
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1answer
48 views

De Donder Weyl theory

Im trying to get my head around what the difference is between a symplectic and multisymplectic manifold is. My understanding currently is that on a symplectic manifold time is the parameter that ...
3
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1answer
243 views

Definition of mean free time in the Drude model

In the Drude model they derive a formule for the conductivity of a conductor. I wonder though how the main free time $\tau$ is defined in this formula. Wikipedia says that it is "the average time ...
2
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4answers
1k views

Newton's first law: is his concept of (force of ) inertia still useful and used?

The force of inertia is the property common to all bodies that remain in their state, either at rest or in motion, unless some external cause is introduced to make them alter this state. That ...
11
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4answers
469 views

Is partial derivative a vector or dual vector?

The textbook(Introduction to the Classical Theory of Particles and Fields, by Boris Kosyakov) defines a hypersurface by $$F(x)~=~c,$$ where $F\in C^\infty[\mathbb M_4,\mathbb R]$. Differentiating ...
0
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1answer
147 views

Magnitude of a photon?

I encountered the following sentence in my textbook, which I don't quite understand, and after an unfruitful google search, I still can't figure out what they mean by magnitude in this context: ...
3
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2answers
125 views

Covariant derivative applied to a vector vs. applied to a matrix?

I know there are (say) two different definitions/representations of the covariant derivative: one is the covariant derivative applied to a vector $F$, which reads as $$DF=\partial F+iAF$$ ...
2
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2answers
112 views

How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ and $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$? [closed]

I'm French. I would like to know: How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \cdot \vec{B}$ : "A scalar B" or "A dot B" ? How do you pronounce $\vec{A} \times \vec{B}$ : "A vectorial B", "A vector B", "A cross ...
2
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1answer
281 views

Difference in “momentum” names in Lagrangian mechanics

In the context of Lagrangian formulation of classical mechanics, the following names keep occurring in most textbooks, which confuse me a lot, are they different in any way? Momentum Generalized ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

What's the symbol for the antiparticle of the delta plus baryon?

It can't be $\Delta^-$ since that is another particle also made up of quarks (not antiquarks). I can think of four possibilities: $\overline\Delta^+$ $\overline{\Delta^+}$ $\overline\Delta^-$ ...
0
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2answers
75 views

When referring to weights and mass of weights in a physics laboratory, do we use the term mass or weights?

What terminology is used to refer to weights/ mass/ weight of mass/ mass of weights when referring to the mass of weights in a physics report? My question is more of the weights that we use in the ...
6
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2answers
2k 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 ...
0
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1answer
29 views

What does “shortwave radiation” mean to a meteorologist?

I'm have an empirical model developed using surface observations of radiation (400-1100nm). I tend to think of this as visible, near infrared, and a little bit of shortwave infrared. I now need to ...
15
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4answers
494 views

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation?

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation? Seems like a simple enough question to answer right? And if just yesterday I were to encounter this, I'd have given a definite answer. But I've ...
2
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2answers
271 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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3answers
225 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
94 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
931 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 ...
-1
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1answer
52 views

Angular displacement after full rotation

I was wondering is why angular displacement isn't $0$ after $n$ full rotations?
2
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0answers
53 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 ...
-2
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1answer
114 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?
4
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1answer
62 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
204 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
171 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 ...
2
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0answers
33 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
560 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 ...
0
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1answer
42 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?