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

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7
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1answer
203 views

Numerical schemes, time integration algorithms and energy conservation

What does it mean when someone says a numerical scheme or a time integration algorithm is "energy conserving". How can a numerical scheme "gain" or "lose" or "conserve" energy apart from the numerical ...
8
votes
4answers
265 views

What does “carry a representation” mean (in SUSY algebra)?

I come from a maths background and am struggling with some of the more physical texts on SUSY. In particular they claim that the fermionic generators $Q_A^i$ carry a representation of the Lorentz ...
0
votes
3answers
14k views

What is the difference between phase difference and path difference?

I have learnt that path difference is the difference between the distance travelled by two waves meeting at a point. If that is path difference,then how will one know what is phase difference and how ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is phenomenological equation and phenomenological model?

I come across these terms in some papers. My understanding is that it is an equation or model describing a phenomenon. Usually, the equations are given and claimed to be true with only some ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Is it better to call the doppler effect a change in wavelength or frequency?

Why is it preferable to say that the doppler effect causes a shift in frequency rather than a shift in wavelength? I often read on websites that they define the doppler effect as a change in ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

Question about physical principles [duplicate]

How are principles created i.e. how is it decided that something qualifies as principle? What is the difference between a principle, a law and a theory? Were there any principles that were proved to ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

What is it called when two particles are associated so that what happens to one happens to the other?

There was some experiment that I read about some time back in which two particles (or the same particle, but split into two) were sent in opposite directions, but when something happened to one, it ...
1
vote
2answers
266 views

Why are diffraction gratings not called interference gratings?

It seems to me that diffraction gratings are completely described by the double slit experiment-why then is it called a diffraction grating?
1
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3answers
3k views

What is the difference between air pressure and atmospheric pressure?

I know that air pressure and temperature are inversely proportional. Now I saw in a book that "Atmospheric pressure decreases as we go higher and higher." But at greater heights the temperature ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Neutral current: terminology

In particle physics, where does the term 'neutral current' originate? An example would be an electron exchanging a Z boson with another electron. I understand that the Z boson itself is neutral, but ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

Definition: Coupling [closed]

What does it mean to say that 2 fields are coupled? More generally, what does "coupling" mean?
4
votes
1answer
189 views

What do you call the period after sunrise when the sky is bright?

At sunrise, the sky isn't actually up in the sky yet. Twilight occurs before sunrise, then at sunrise the leading part of the sun crosses the horizon. But, the sky isn't bright yet. It takes some time ...
4
votes
2answers
210 views

What is the meaning of “CW” in LASER?

I am reading a user's manual, and the word appears here. At first, I think "CW" means "center wave". But later, I find that the meaning of "CW" is "continuous wave". It makes me confused. ...
1
vote
1answer
233 views

At CERN - What do you call the moment (event) particles crash together in the particle accelerator? [closed]

At CERN - What do you call the moment (event) particles crash together in the particle accelerator? At CERN they crash different particles together and measure what comes out. What is the name of the ...
0
votes
1answer
165 views

Ultrarelativitistic particle - what kind of a particle is this?

I have heard many times that we can treat a moving particle as a: classical particle non-relativistic relativistic particle ultra-relativistic particle While I know equations for 1, 2, & 3, I ...
5
votes
1answer
69 views

Meaning of the 'deep lattice limit' and 'shallow lattice limit'?

In condensed matter literature, at many places, the phrase 'deep lattice limit' is used. Please tell what is the deep lattice limit and the shallow lattice limit?
1
vote
1answer
75 views

What is *uplift* in respect to extra dimensions and their stability?

What is uplift in respect to extra dimensions and their stability? It's notoriously hard to find something on this, as all possible keyword combinations pull up plethora of unrelated Google hits.
2
votes
1answer
113 views

Since when the term 'mass' is being used in physics?

I was wondering who used the term 'mass' in physics and in what context? The Online Etymology Dictionary says it is in use since 1704. According to the Wiki article the year is contemporary to the ...
3
votes
2answers
454 views

Is Hubble's constant really constant? [duplicate]

How does Hubble's constant resembles age of universe? Isn't universe getting old each day? How can a constant be a reciprocal of age of universe? Hubble's value must be variable, isn't it?
2
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Are multipole fields, multipole expansion, and multipole radiation the same thing?

Interaction between electromagnetic radiation and nuclei can be written in terms of multipole radiation. Are multipole fields, multipole expansion and multipole radiation the same thing? I have found ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What sets a “Law” apart from a “Rule” or a “Principle”? [duplicate]

Basically, I understand the difference between a "Theory" and a "Theorem" but I am quite confused when it comes to "Law", "Rule" and "Principle". Can you make the differences clear to me?
-1
votes
1answer
165 views

What is volume * mass be called? [closed]

I need a denotation for a rather unusual unit. $$ \frac{m}{V} $$ is called density. So what is $$ m \cdot V $$ called? Is there a denotation for it? I'd like to get a denotation that could somehow ...
0
votes
3answers
180 views

What is the name of the equation which led to the Schrödinger one?

What is the name of this equation: $$\frac {d^2\psi}{dr^2}+k^2\psi=0?$$ (I want a Wikipedia link for this equation, but I don't know what its name is.) Point: In this equation, the wave function ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Why are polymer representations called “polymer representations”?

Why are polymer representations called "polymer representations"? Polymer representations deal with non-continuous unitary representations of groups acting on nonseparable Hilbert spaces (see e.g. ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Is there a term for the argument of the sine function outside of geometry?

Are there similar terms in other areas for the idea the "angle" conveys in geometry? I find that functions for abstract things such as pressure, electrical currents (nothing geometric there) on AC ...
0
votes
1answer
99 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: ...
4
votes
2answers
629 views

Do generators belong to the Lie group or the Lie algebra?

In Physics papers, would it be correct to say that when there is mention of generators, they really mean the generators of the Lie algebra rather than generators of the Lie group? For example I've ...
0
votes
1answer
168 views

Is the speed of light related to the mass of the universe?

If the mass of the universe were cut in half, would it affect the speed of light? Would it be twice as fast? Would it stay the same? Do we have instruments that are sensitive enough to measure the ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

What is $\gamma$ in the damping equation?

$x''+\gamma x'+w_0^2x=0$ That is the general equation for damped harmonic motion. What is the term or name that describes $\gamma$? Is it called the damping constant? I know its the ration between ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Is symplectic form in Hamiltonian mechanics a physical quantity?

Is symplectic form $dp_i \wedge dq_i$ in Hamiltonian mechanics a physical quantity? It feels to me to be something different than say energy, momentum or mass. Like just certain structure. The real ...
0
votes
0answers
49 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?
1
vote
1answer
46 views

What are “packets”?

Paraphrased from Wikipedia: Infrared sensing in snakes depends on a kind of natural thermography, by which tiny packets of cellular water are raised in temperature by the infrared radiation. ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Name of a state with $d-1$ excitations, distributed uniformly among $n$ qudits

Is there a particular name for a quantum state of the form (up to the normalization): $$\sum_{i_1+\ldots+i_n = d-1} |i_1\rangle |i_2\rangle \ldots |i_n\rangle$$ or was it studied is some papers? ...
12
votes
3answers
761 views

The notion of an adiabatic process in thermodynamics -vs- quantum mechanics

I'm confused about the terminology in the two contexts since I can't figure out if they have a similar motivation. Afaik, the definitions state that quantum processes should be very slow to be called ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between Radiation and Electromagnetic Radiation

Are the two equivalent or is Electromagnetic Radiation a subset of Radiation. I am further confused by the fact that electromagnetic radiation includes both ionizing and non ionizing types of ...
0
votes
2answers
258 views

Conversion of ideal gas to real gas via $Z$ compression factor

The ideal gas equation $PV=nRT$ can be converted into real gas equation by compression factor $Z$ i.e $PV=Z~ nRT)$. My question is what is $Z$ and how does it arise? Is $PV/nRT$ a compression ratio of ...
2
votes
2answers
445 views

The meaning of 'postulate' in physics? [duplicate]

What does postulate mean in physics? What is its role in physical theories? Is it possible to break physical postulates?
0
votes
1answer
121 views

What is a long-tailed distribution for physicists?

What is the most common definition of long tailed distribution for physicists? I am looking for definition and examples. Examples should have arguments why the distribution is or is not long tailed. ...
0
votes
2answers
90 views

What is “species” in the context of an electrochemical cell?

From the Wikipedia entry on Electrochemical cell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrochemical_cell): An electrochemical cell consists of two half-cells. Each half-cell consists of an electrode, ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Is time a Scalar or a Vector?

In Wikipedia it's said that time is a scalar quantity. But its hard to understand that how? As stated that we consider only the magnitude of time then its a scalar. But on basis of time we define ...
1
vote
0answers
60 views

Trying to speak correctly of spacetime intervals and how to compare them

Is it correct to speak of "magnitude of a spacetime interval"? For instance, considering a pair of (distinct) events, $A$ and $B$, which are lightlike separated, is it correct to say that "the ...
2
votes
1answer
169 views

Moose Models (Purpose, Examples)

A problem set for my QFT class is titled "Moose Models" and deals with the moose model for a gauge symmetry of $U(1)\times U(1)$. I was wondering if I could get an explanation of what a Moose Model ...
2
votes
5answers
108 views

Is there a more scientific term for “obstruction of EM waves”?

When EM waves pass through things like rain and hail, they can be "obstructed" and bounced back or absorbed, rather than passing through. I'm conducting an experiment on this effect, and wondered if ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Difference between theoretical physics and mathematical physics?

I'm a huge fan of mathematical physics and I know what the formal definitions of those two areas are, I've seen them. But I still get completely baffled when someone asks me to explain it simply. The ...
2
votes
2answers
215 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

Should it be obvious that independent quantum states are composed by taking the tensor product?

My text introduces multi-quibt quantum states with the example of a state that can be "factored" into two (non-entangled) substates. It then goes on to suggest that it should be obvious1 that the ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Oscillon and soliton

I want to know the major difference between oscillon and soliton in terms of radiating energy with respect to time and position. And what about their localization?
1
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0answers
357 views

How is the term “Born level” usually defined?

How is the term "Born level" usually defined, e.g. in talking about the $pp\to Z/\gamma^*\to e^+e^-$ cross section at Born level?
6
votes
2answers
810 views

Amplitude of Probability amplitude. Which one is it?

QM begins with a Born's rule which states that probability $P$ is equal to a modulus square of probability amplitude $\psi$: $$P = \left|\psi\right|^2.$$ If I write down a wave function like this ...