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

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3
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1answer
100 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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2answers
67 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 ...
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4answers
64k 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 ...
0
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1answer
54 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 ...
0
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1answer
59 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?
6
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1answer
302 views

Which transformations are canonical?

Which transformations are canonical? Why do canonical transformations preserve the measure of integration in phase space?
0
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1answer
1k 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?
0
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1answer
50 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
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 ...
8
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3answers
891 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 ...
2
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2answers
1k views

What do physicists mean when they say “speed of light”?

Does it make sense to say, "The speed of light varies?" Some may say right off the bat "Yes, it changes as a wave passes through a different medium." However, I'd like to say no, because when I hear ...
4
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0answers
95 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
65 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 $W=0$?
0
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1answer
32 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?
2
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2answers
112 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
209 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
448 views

What is meant by a “stiff” or “soft” equation of state (wrt neutron stars)?

I am currently trying to understand the history of the development of the equations of state and structure of neutron stars. In my textbook, I frequently encounter phrases such as "The ...
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4answers
3k views

What's the difference between an entangled state, a superposed state and a cat state?

1) Can a state be entangled without also being a superposition? (Please give an example.) 2) Can a state be a superposition without being entangled? (Again, an example please.) 3) And what about ...
2
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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 ...
0
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1answer
136 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
271 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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3answers
1k views

Quantum field theory variants

Wikipedia describes many variants of quantum field theory: conformal quantum field theory topological quantum field theory axiomatic/constructive quantum field theory algebraic quantum field theory ...
0
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1answer
69 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 ...
2
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2answers
561 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
120 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. ...
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0answers
40 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
43 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
35 views

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. ...
0
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1answer
120 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 ...
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5answers
3k views

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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2answers
71 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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4answers
7k 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 ...
0
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1answer
58 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?
2
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1answer
350 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 ...
2
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3answers
329 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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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 ...
0
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4answers
136 views

What is the 'normal/standard' formulation of quantum mechanics called?

I know of at least three equivalent formulations of QM: The "normal/standard" one, dealing with Hilbert spaces and state vectors. The Feynman path-integral formulation. The Wigner-Weyl phase space ...
0
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1answer
64 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 ...
0
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1answer
120 views

What is the conformal mode of a metric?

I have a problem in terminology. This article talks about the conformal mode of a physical metric. I know what a conformal transformation is. But what is the conformal mode of a metric?
3
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4answers
1k views

Is there a difference between Hertz and 'frames per second'?

It's not uncommon that the term 'frames per second' (sometimes abbreviated as fps or FPS) is associated with, or even equated to, the unit Hertz (Hz). I'm not exactly sure how these two concepts ...
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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?
0
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1answer
45 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 ...
0
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2answers
286 views

Quantum hadrodynamics

What is quantum hadrodynamics? Can anybody give a proper explanation? What are the standard books and sources of information that can be found on the internet for better understanding?
3
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1answer
9k views

What is the difference between Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Field Theory?

What is the difference between Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Quantum Field Theory? Are they the same subject? I believe that they are not the same subject! Maybe there is not ...
0
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1answer
504 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 $Q$ ...
2
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1answer
183 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 ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Definition of Free Electrons and Mobile Charges?

Could someone please give me a good definition of the following electric terms? Despite what searching I have done, I have not come across a definition that I have found clear for me to understand: ...
0
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0answers
38 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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3answers
74 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
91 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.