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

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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?
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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 ...
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1answer
180 views

What is the name for the whistling “musical” sounds that change stepwise in pitch when a hollow tube is spun like a lasso?

You have likely heard those sounds, science museums sometimes sell Flexible plastic tubes you can whirl like a lasso. The air rushing by the end of the tube causes these sounds, which are admitted in ...
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0answers
496 views

de Sitter and anti de Sitter metric

Is the following correct for the distance $d$ from the origin $(0,0)$ to point $(t,x)$ in the 2-dimensional de-Sitter and anti de-Sitter spaces? Here, $t$ is time and the distance may be called the ...
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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 ...
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4answers
294 views

What is the correct term to describe matter converting into energy?

Matter and energy are related; one can convert into the other. What is it called when this happens? For example, solids melt/liquefy into liquid, and liquid vaporizes into gas. Gas condenses into ...
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3answers
850 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 ...
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2answers
127 views

Action and Action integral: Different kinds of variational principles

What are the difference between: the action $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}(L+H) dt$ that we use in the principle of least action, and the action integral $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}L dt$ that we use in ...
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2answers
75 views

Why is scattering vector $\vec{q}$ called vector of 'momentum transfer'?

In the world of scattering the angle at which you detect the scattered radiation is known as $q$, where $$ \vec{q} = \frac{4\pi\eta}{\lambda}\sin(\theta/2) $$ I read in a lot of books that this is ...
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2answers
188 views

What will happen if we use a speed greater than light speed and find a body'motion and energy relative to it?

In Einstein's papers, he used light speed as a reference speed. What if we use a greater finite speed and do the same calculations. Won't this greater speed then be the limit.
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3answers
1k 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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1answer
797 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 ...
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3answers
57 views

In Orbital Mechanics what is the quantity described below called?

I seem to recall that $r^2 \dot{\theta}$ is a conserved quantity in orbital mechanics, which I just proved using the Euler-Lagrange equations. Namely via: $ \mathcal{L} = \frac{m}{2} (\dot{r}^2+r^2 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
10k views

What is the difference between angular speed and tangential speed in a circular motion?

I was looking a long time for the way the equations of this two speeds are obtained, and i found pretty much nothing important, so can someone explain how are those obtained, and which is the ...
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1answer
71 views

Looking for the name of a particular device [closed]

Please move this if it's not in the right location. I'm looking for the name of a device that I frequently see in many scenarios, specifically that of an office/library which can be described as ...
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1answer
40 views

Usage of the terms Raman, Stokes and anti-Stokes scattering

I am confused over the correct usage of the terminology for "Raman scattering", "Stokes scattering", "anti-Stokes scattering", or even "Stokes-Raman scattering" and "anti-Stokes-Raman scattering". Is ...
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2answers
109 views

What distinguishes the particles we chose as matter from their antimatter equivalent? [duplicate]

Back before we knew about antimatter we just called everything matter. Ignoring CP-violation for a moment, there is nothing special about matter versus antimatter. Once we knew about antimatter it ...
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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 ...
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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.
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2answers
433 views

A basic confusion about what is an atom

Wikipedia defines atom as The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. and defines electron as: The ...
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1answer
6k views

Is there a name for the derivative of current with respect to time, or the second derivative of charge with respect to time?

This measurement comes up a lot in my E&M class, in regards to inductance and inductors. Is there really no conventional term for this? If not, is there some historical reason for this omission? ...
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1answer
126 views

How did neodymium magnets get their name?

Like in the question. Why neodymium magnets (Nd2Fe14B) are called "neodymium magnets"? Why not boron magnets? Or iron magnets?
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1answer
136 views

Theorem or Conjecture? [closed]

I understand the definitions "theorem" and "conjecture" in mathematics, but I wasn't sure for physics. I mean, if it's proved mathematically, it's a theorem, otherwise it's a conjecture. But for ...
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2answers
894 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 ...
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1answer
902 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: ...
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1answer
120 views

A terminological question about work and energy

Work is force applied over distance. Is it also reasonable to say that work is (the same thing as) the transfer of energy? When work is done, the equivalent energy is transferred. But if energy is ...
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2answers
55 views

Origin of the word Permittivity

Who coined the word "permittivity"? It appears that first usage was in 1887. Please cite your source.
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1answer
52 views

The exact definition of conjugate momentum density

After checking various websites, I've seen the conjugate momentum density defined as either: \begin{align*} P_r ~=~ \frac{\partial \mathcal{L}}{\partial \dot{A}_r} \end{align*} or \begin{align*} P_r ...
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3answers
109 views

Direction of motion

What does the term direction of motion actually mean? Is it a direction where a particle is moving or the direction of its velocity? For example, what is the direction of motion of a projectile in ...
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4answers
185 views

Space-like and time-like: where do the names come from?

Space-like separated events are events that, in a well-chosen reference frame, can take place at the same time but never happen at the same location. On the other hand for time-like events, one can ...
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1answer
157 views

Semiclassical Approximation

In many books I read about semiclassical approximation applied to the field of Bose-Einstein condensation. But I don't understand what it really means. For example I read that an expression like this ...
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1answer
172 views

What is “Symmetric Fission”?

Dose anyone has a clue what Symmetric Fission is? I couldn't find any explanation on what is it on internet.
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297 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 ...
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1answer
227 views

What do I call the inverse of a propagator?

Let's suppose I have a theory described by a Lagrangian as follows: $ \mathcal{L} = A_\mu \underbrace{\left( \partial^2 g^{\mu\nu} - \partial^\mu \partial^\nu + m^2 g^{\mu \nu} \right)}_{K^{\mu \nu}} ...
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2answers
740 views

Does a cycle (in Simple Harmonic Motion) have to equal 2π?

So, I search for the definition of cycle and I get this in Wikipedia: A turn is a unit of angle measurement equal to 360° or 2π radians (or ...). A turn is also referred to as a revolution or ...
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2answers
115 views

Why is density an intensive property?

I am still trying to understand what are intensive and extensive properties. Possibly someone can give a pointer to a decent text (preferably on the web), as I am not too happy (to say the least) with ...
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2answers
44 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 ...
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1answer
36 views

Totally antisymetric wavefunction: clarification about terminology

Pauli's Principle says: "The wavefunction of two identical fermions must be totally antisymmetric". I know that, for a antisymmetric wavefunction, $(-1)^L*(-1)^{S+1}*(-1)^{I+1}=-1$ "totally ...
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1answer
50 views

Parity of a system composed of 2 particles

I have read that for a system of 2 particles, the total parity is given by: $P=P_1 P_2 (-1)^L$ where $ P_1, P_2$= insisec parity of particle 1, 2 $L$ = relative angular moment what's the meaning ...
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2answers
39 views

Terminologies for moment of inertia

Perhaps someone can suggest the right terms for the following mathematical objects related to moment of inertia? A inertia tensor $I$. $$I \equiv \begin{bmatrix} I_{1,1} & I_{1,2} & I_{1,3} ...
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1answer
103 views

Meaning of “Simple” in Simple Pendulum and Simple Harmonic Motion?

I have gone through the Phys.SE question Why is simple harmonic motion called so?. From the 1st answer of this Question it seems to me that another type of "Harmonic motion" is "Damped Harmonic ...
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2answers
108 views

Terminology for line integral of magnetic field

One of the quantities appearing in the integral form of Maxwell's Equations is the line integral of the magnetic field around a closed loop. (The relevant equation states that this is equal to the ...
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1answer
46 views

Integrating out fields from classical systems

Has anyone ever heard of integrating out fields from classical Lagrangians if they are quadratic?
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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? ...
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1answer
99 views

Is “Egyptian Year” the same as a modern sidereal year?

Copernicus uses the term "Egyptian Year" throughout his discussions of the movements of the Earth, and of his and other models of the movements of the planets; but is unclear from his text, or from ...