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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

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
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 ...
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
vote
3answers
823 views

Meaning of dimension

I was wondering what dimension can mean in physics? I know it can mean the dimension of the space and time. But there is dimensional analysis. How is this dimension related to and different from the ...
0
votes
3answers
178 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
411 views

What does physics study? [closed]

Wikipedia definition: Physics (from Ancient Greek: φύσις physis "nature") is a natural science that involves the study of matter[1] and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such ...
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
0answers
87 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
606 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
699 views

Magnitude refers to number or number with units?

This question is about terminology for physical quantities. When we talk about magnitude (while talking about scalars and vectors) do we refer to just number or Number along with units? example: If ...
0
votes
3answers
9k views

Difference b/w Kinetics & Kinematics w/concrete example

(I know whether I understand this or not doesn't matter much to my work & study but am just curious.) I still can't differentiate in my head kinetics and kinematics (similar thread is found but ...
8
votes
2answers
361 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
360 views

What is a “measure equation” as mentioned by this TeX Users Group guide?

In this TeX Users Group (TUG) document, Typesetting mathematics for science and technology according to ISO 31/XI by Claudio Beccari, the author makes various typesetting recommendations including: ...
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? ...
0
votes
1answer
162 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
0answers
80 views

Motivation For Definitions [closed]

I noticed in my physics textbook that we define certain relationships to be true. I can see how this is considerably helpful in deriving other relationships from these definitions; for instance, take ...
1
vote
1answer
52 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
100 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
120 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. ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
452 views

What is a boundary condition for capacitors/dielectrics?

I am extremely confused about what boundary conditions are. One minute ago I was solving easy capacitor questions and the next minute I am being asked boundary condition questions and there is no such ...
0
votes
2answers
88 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Are all metals good conductor of electricity?

I am writing an article for kids, which is on conductors and insulators of electricity. If I make a statement that "All metals are electrical conductors and all non-metals are electrical insulators" ...
2
votes
1answer
166 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 ...
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
5answers
107 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
102 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
vote
0answers
351 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
779 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
70 views

Is there an established standard for naming exoplanets?

I understand that exoplanets are named by adding a lowercase letter to the a designation of the planet's parent star or stellar system, beginning with 'b' (the star itself is 'a') in order of ...
0
votes
1answer
135 views

What's the difference between these two formulas and how are these called?

I just want to know the differences between these two formulas: $h = h_0 + v_0 t ± \frac{1}{2} g t^2$ and $y = y_0 + v_{0y} t + \frac{1}{2} g t^2$ Also, how are these called in English?
2
votes
0answers
51 views

What name would you give to the method of approximating an arbitrary magnet with many smaller dipoles?

Let's say I had an arbitrarily shaped permanent magnet, with total magnetic moment $M_{0}$. Ways to calculate the magnetic field of this magnet include an analytic solution (if one exists), as well ...
2
votes
2answers
198 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
252 views

Word for the star around which an exoplanet orbits:

Is there accepted nomenclature for the star around which a particular exoplanet orbits? Meaning, if I were to say "The exoplanet blah blah blah's (noun)" what noun would I put there? Sun? Star? ...
4
votes
3answers
934 views

What is the meaning of the word “Principle” in Physics?

What is the meaning of the word principle in Physics? For example in the "action principle". Is it an action law, an action equation, or an unproved assumption? (I have an idea what an action is). ...
2
votes
2answers
201 views

Curved space or curved spacetime?

As I understand it, you can have time + flat space = curved spacetime. So, when one is trying to emphasise that there is a curvature to the space, is it more technically correct to say curved space ...
1
vote
2answers
292 views

Are the intersections of past and future light cones spacelike?

Given a timelike reference worldline (not necessarily geodesic), we can define light-cone coordinates $\tau^+$ and $\tau^-$ so that the 3-D hypersurfaces of constant $\tau^+$ are past light cones of ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

What is a general definition of impedance?

Impedance is a concept that shows up in any area of physics concerning waves. In transmission lines, impedance is the ratio of voltage to current. In optics, index of refraction plays a role similar ...
9
votes
3answers
20k views

What exactly is the difference between radiation and convection?

Okay, so everywhere I've read, I hear the main difference is the requirement of a medium. But for example, if you take the case of heat 'radiating' from a red-hot iron, isn't that actually convection ...
3
votes
1answer
367 views

What is “charge discreteness”?

I assume it is some kind of quantity. Google only made things more confusing. I get that it has something to do with circuits. I also get what a discrete charge is. In fact, I thought charges ...
18
votes
3answers
936 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
151 views

Is shear elasticity the same as shear modulus?

I've encountered both the terms "shear elasticity" and "shear modulus". Are these the same?
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Reason for the convention about polarization states

I'd like to know if there is a special reason for limiting convention of polarization state to waves that can be split in just two components of equal frequency.
4
votes
4answers
385 views

What is the term for hose fluctuating movements during flow?

What do we call it when water flowing through a flexible hose causes it to act like snake movements if the hose were disturbed? Can this movement be explained by the Coriolis force?
0
votes
2answers
234 views

Why equivalence principle is principle and not law?

We can prove that the inertial mass and the gravitational mass should be the same (equivalence principle) from the $f=mg=ma$ then $g=a$, so we have equivalence law! But why we said equivalence ...
20
votes
1answer
3k views

Differentiating Propagator, Greens function, Correlation function, etc

For the following quantities respectively, could someone write down the common definitions, their meaning, the field of study in which one would typically find these under their actual name, and most ...