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

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What does “at%” refer to in sol-gel method?

I'm reading on the preparation of ZnO thin films for UV stimulated emission and I found a method called Sol-Gel. During this I found a paragraph saying, " the ratio Ag/Zn in the sol is 3 at%......". ...
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What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? [duplicate]

What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? And is there a way to determine a dwarf planet from a normal planet in a unknown solar system? (If we discover a unknown solar system)
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2answers
809 views

What is the difference between a hollow (sphere/cylinder) and a shell (cylinder/sphere)? [closed]

First of all, it was hard to "tag" this question ! Anyways, I see some contradictions in what a shell or a hollow cylinder is in some sources in the internet based on some figures they show. I ...
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2answers
68 views

What is $\mathcal{L}_M$?

Usually we derive the Einstein field equation in vacuum starting from E-H action $$S= \int{\sqrt{-g}d^4x(\frac{c^4}{16\pi G})R}.$$ But in case we wanted to get $$R_{\mu\nu}-\frac{1}{2}g_{\mu\nu}R=\...
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1answer
114 views

What is the difference between a quasar and an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN)?

In answering another Phys.SE question about quasars - Why no new quasars? - an issue arose about which object is the nearest quasar. That got me puzzled. To what is the label "quasar" attached, as ...
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1answer
59 views

What does dimensionless quantity 'number of $g$' mean?

I am doing data analysis in which I found a quantity named "no. of $g$". I don't know what it means or what is its usage. Look at the image below. I want to know the meaning and usage of "no. of $...
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1answer
60 views

Naming anti-electrons and anti-protons [closed]

I think I understand why an anti-electron is called a positron (since it symbolizes positive charge) But why then is anti-proton called an anti-proton and not a negatron?
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3answers
2k views

What is a mode?

Admittedly, this seems like a very simple question. The word mode pops up in every field of physics, yet I can't remember ever having read what I felt was a precise and sensible definition. After ...
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1answer
51 views

What is an awkward constant and is there a relation to ad-hoc hypotheses?

[I'm not entirely sure whether this is the right board, since it is not a technical but a soft question]. I'm reading the textbook "Spin Dynamics - Basics of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance", 2nd ed., (...
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3answers
975 views

What is meant by a “c-number”?

In Chapter 2 of David Tong's QFT notes, he uses the term "c-number" without ever defining it. Here is the first place. However, it's easy to check by direct substitution that the left-hand side ...
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1answer
34 views

5UDH Tandem electrostatic accelerator

What does UDH stands for in the name of an electrostatic accelerator 5UDH-2 Tandem accelerator? Does it is related to its working or just a trade mark?
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2answers
125 views

What is meant by the velocity of a star?

I recently read somewhere that among other things like size, radius, distance from earth, luminosity, age, etc of a star, velocity was another variable. What is exactly meant by the velocity of a star?...
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1answer
66 views

Is there a special name for thermodynamic process during which no work is performed?

Let $W$ denote the work done on a system during a thermodynamic process. Is there a commonly-accepted, dedicated term for a process during which $W=0$?
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1answer
35 views

What is the difference between hydraulic radius and geometrical radius in a cylindrical pore?

What is the difference between hydraulic radius and geometrical radius in a cylindrical pore? I was going through the 'stacks' present in an thermoacoustic refrigerators there I came across the ...
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0answers
65 views

QFT: What does “finiteness” mean?

As above: what is the definition of a QFT to be "finite"? That all UV corrections are finite and there are no divergences at all? That there are divergences, but these divergences can be absorbed ...
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1answer
148 views

Quantum mechanics successive measurements (incompatible observables) [closed]

I started a "principles of quantum mechanics" course this year, and already have a problem with successive measurements (using Dirac notation). The question is about incompatible observables A and B. ...
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1answer
314 views

What is meant by 'probability of transition per unit time'?

Today I came across a term used by Feynman in his thirteenth lecture: 'probability per unit time' to go from $| 1\rangle$ to $|2\rangle$ while initially being at $|1\rangle$. This is the excerpt fom ...
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1answer
70 views

Understanding “Propagation in a Crystal Lattice”: What is the difference between 'amplitude leakage' & 'probability leakage'?

I started reading, today, Chap 13: Propagation in a Crystal Lattice of Feynman's Lectures III. But, I couldn't understand some of his writings as: If you have a harmonic oscillator which is ...
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1answer
149 views

Definition of the “support” of the reduced density matrix

Some of the papers in condensed matter physics use the word "support" (space). For example, the following papers use the support especially for the reduced density matrix. http://journals.aps.org/prb/...
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2answers
720 views

What is meant by thermal penetration depth?

What is meant by thermal penetration depth? I am doing a project on Thermoacoustics. while researching I came across about thermal penetration depth.I searched over the net but i didn't get a clear ...
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1answer
46 views

Is “approximative reduction” general knowledge to physicists?

I came across this concept called "approximative reduction", about which there are some papers, e.g. in this collection called Structure and Approximation in Physical Theories. Very briefly, it ...
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0answers
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Is the phrase “coupling constant” interchangable with “ strength of interactions”?

Can I use the terms coupling constant and strength of interactions, interchangeably, or are there more subtleties to the term coupling constant that I am not aware of? Coupling Constants from ...
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2answers
217 views

The role of anharmonic oscillator(s) in Heisenberg's 1925 paper

I am talking about the most famous paper of Heisenberg, which I know from the translation of van der Waerden (Sources in Quantum mechanics, North Holland, 1967). After introducing matrix mechanics ...
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0answers
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Nomenclature of nuclear excited states

I read in an online portal about $^{112}$Sn nucleus making a transition from $0_{g.s}^{+} \rightarrow 2_{1}^{+}$ state. Also, some higher excited states were named as $0_{2}^{+}$, $3_{1}^{-}$, etc. ...
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1answer
125 views

What did Feynman mean by 'energy shift' here?

I was reading Feynman's Lectures III's Chapter 10: Other Two-State Systems. There he discussed about hydrogen molecular ion having two base states: The amplitude of the molecule to go from $|1\...
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Meaning of 'nuclear surface vibrations'?

Would like to know the meaning of nuclear surface vibrations as mentioned by Bohr in his paper titled 'The coupling of nuclear surface vibrations to the motion of individual nucleons'. The paper talks ...
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5answers
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Is there a rigorous definition of 'much greater than'?

I have encountered $\gg$ in many physics text books where it's used as a relation between constants or functions but in none of the text books I have read is it properly defined anywhere. If $A \gg ...
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1answer
62 views

What is the difference between damping and friction?

What is the difference between damping and friction? Both of them slows down any moving system. So whats the conceptual difference between them?
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2answers
74 views

Terminology for “measurable” and “hidden” realms in quantum physics

Please excuse if some of my terminology is vague, the whole point of this question is to clarify terminology. In quantum physics, one frequently encounters situations where there are some kind of two ...
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3answers
454 views

Difference between discretization and quantization in physics

I am just trying to understand the fundamental difference between these two concepts in physics: From discreteness of some quantity: one usually interprets it as a quantity being only able to take ...
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1answer
126 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 ...
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0answers
21 views

Flamant's use of mass and weight

I apologize for the stupid question, but I've consulted teachers and found their answers unsatisfactory. Professor E.Brune, in the XIX century, delivered a course on l'École des beaux-arts on ...
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1answer
66 views

What do we mean by saying that one clock had been “running slower” than another clock; or that two clocks had been “running equally”?

Several posts on this site, especially on the topic of relativity, refer to comparisons between clocks in terms of their "running"; one having "run faster" than the other, one having "run slower" than ...
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211 views

Instrumental function vs. instrumental line profile?

I am reading into spectroscopy and the terms instrumental function and instrumental line profile come up regularly. I have reason to believe that they are not equivalent but cannot find any clear ...
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1answer
47 views

Does motion with constant proper acceleration, in a flat region, necessarily mean straight hyperbolic motion?

Is motion of a participant with constant proper acceleration, in a flat region, necessarily straight, hyperbolic motion (with respect to members of any inertial system, in that region)? Or is for ...
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1answer
567 views

What is the recommended symbol for Volumetric flow rate? [closed]

I'm currently working on a paper with a mathematician. He always writes $\dot Q$ as well as $\dot V$ for volumetric flow rate and claims both are standard notations. Till now I always used $Q$ (...
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40 views

Laser Energy Level Transitions

I am new to Laser Physics. While looking at the Energy Levels diagram for the Laser Transition of ND:YAG laser, I see energy levels labeled like 4F(3/2), 4I(15/2),.. I did not come across such energy ...
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1answer
209 views

Difference between symmetry and invariance

I'm wondering what's the real difference between symmetry and invariance in Physics? I believe that sometimes the two words are given the same meaning and some other times they are used in a different ...
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6answers
2k views

If the Earth is in constant motion then why do we say that an object is in a state of rest?

I got this question as my physics class homework for tomorrow. Anyone please help me out. If Earth constantly rotates and revolves, then how can we call an object in a state of rest?
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0answers
190 views

What is a Fermi arc?

What is meant with a Fermi arc in the context of Weyl semimetals? Is this the just a one-dimensional Fermi surface? For example, in electron-doped graphene, the Fermi surface consists of 2 disjoint ...
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5answers
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Difference between circular motion and rotational motion

Are rotational motion and circular motion different or the same? If different then when can we say that a body is in circular motion, and when it's in rotational motion? I find several answers where ...
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3answers
82 views

Nonlocal dielectric function - what does it mean?

I'm reading this* article and in the second sentence of introduction I encountered a term I haven't heard of before. Namely: nonlocal dielectric function. What does this nonlocality mean? And how does ...
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1answer
114 views

Conventionally, how many amplitudes does a (harmonic) oscillator pass through in one full cycle? [closed]

I don't know the typical scientific convention. My book says there are 4 amplitude. But no matter where I start the oscillator , the answer is at most 3.
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169 views

Definition of Hamilton operator

The Hamilton operator is by definition a self-adjoint operator $H\text{: }D\left(H\right)\to\mathcal{H}$ with $D\left(H\right)\subset\mathcal{H}$ a dense linear subspace of the Hilbert space $\mathcal{...
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2answers
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What S means in S-duality?

As I know, there are many dualities related to S-duality. For example, Montonen-Olive duality, Seiberg duality. and so on. so, I wonder that what "S" means in the term "S-duality". If this is a stupid ...
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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
34 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
408 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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30 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
161 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?