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

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2
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0answers
90 views

If the field concept was invented by Faraday, then how did Newton interpret the $g$?

This is Newton's law of universal gravitation. $F=G\frac{m_1.m_2}{r^2}$ Gravitational field $g$ is derived from this formula $g=G\frac{m_1}{r^2}$ This is named gravitational "field" strength. If ...
3
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3answers
694 views

What does “nearly infinite mass” mean?

I am sure this is a silly question, but I was reading something that described the pre big-bang universe as having "nearly infinite mass." How can something be "nearly" infinite? The term seems to ...
1
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4answers
92 views

Is trajectory the same as an orbit?

Is trajectory the same as an orbit? I wanted to know about gravity assists, but most books I find are talking about different types of orbits and such. Are they related?
2
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3answers
87 views

Is wave superposition always equivalent to wave interference?

I'm confused when using these 2 words "wave superposition" and "wave interference" since their definition is very similar. So, are these 2 term the same?
3
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4answers
4k views

Catapult vs. Trebuchet

I have been looking at trebuchet designs lately, and I have noticed that most, if not all, have a sling attached to them. Without such a sling, the machine would be a catapult. In terms of the speed ...
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6answers
6k 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 ...
1
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1answer
72 views

What are “two-centre integrals”?

Reading through some condensed matter physics literature I came across the term "two-centre integrals". Could someone explain what is meant by this in general? CONTEXT: "the overlap matrix and the ...
0
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0answers
22 views

Relativistic non-linear Walecka model

What is meant by a relativistic non-linear Walecka model? What are some various sources to study it? [And why cannot Google show a satisfactory result to such a simple question?]
3
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3answers
557 views

What's the difference between “numerical methods” & “mathematical analysis” as said by Feynman in his lectures?

While reading his lectures, I came to these lines: On the basis of Newton's second law of motion,which gives the relation between the acceleration of any body & the force acting on it,any ...
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1answer
214 views

Where did the Word 'Physics' Come From? [closed]

As the title suggests, where did the name for the discipline 'Physics' come from? - does it mean something in Greek?
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7answers
39k views

What does the magnitude of the acceleration mean?

I am a little confused as to what the magnitude of acceleration is and what it means.
0
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1answer
38 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
0
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0answers
44 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
8k 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
975 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
62 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
135 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
68 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.
2
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3answers
80 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
139 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
75 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
110 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
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2answers
2k 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
95 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
555 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 ...
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2answers
497 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
39 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
169 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
128 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
votes
1answer
171 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
63 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
votes
1answer
259 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
votes
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
546 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
156 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
votes
2answers
152 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
121 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
284 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
173 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
89 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
30 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 ...
16
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4answers
607 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
votes
2answers
278 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
230 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
100 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 ...
2
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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
952 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 ...
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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?