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

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1answer
239 views

What's a pseudo-rotation?

I'm sorry for this lexical, probably extremely elementary, question. But what is a pseudo-rotation? I just read this term for the first time, in the beginning of the 4th chapter book of CFT by Di ...
3
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2answers
65 views

What exactly is an arbitrary parameter?

I was reading the article Turning Points: A meeting with Enrico Fermi by Freeman Dyson (available e.g. here), and I had a question about Dyson's use of the term 'arbitrary parameter'. More ...
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2answers
63 views

Heuristic explanation of the difference between vectors and scalars in physics

I'm trying to give a student a (physically) intuitive, heuristic explanation as to why certain quantities are vectors and others are scalars. Here is what I have come up with: Scalars are quantities ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space?

What is the difference between configuration space and phase space? In particular, I notices that Lagrangians are defined over configuration space and Hamiltonians over phase space. Liouville's ...
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3answers
469 views

Is it time or duration? [closed]

Taking this post: "Is there a proof of existence of time?", as a starting point. Therein was mentioned that there is confusion between: "time" and "flow of time". There was a comment (of mine) that ...
3
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1answer
116 views

Is there a technical term for “meaningfulness” of mathematical operations?

Is there a technical term for "meaningfulness" of mathematical operations? For example, adding vectors that represent forces has a meaning regardless of the coordinate frame, but an elementwise ...
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2answers
178 views

Quantum Philosophy a la John Bell

I recently discovered this website http://www.quantumphil.org/ and wondering whether Quantum Philosophy is an actual field, or just an aspect of QM? Apologies if this is in the wrong place.
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1answer
127 views

What is the space between galactic arms called?

Is there a term referring to space that is inside the plane of a galaxy, but not part of the center/bar/arms/spurs, etc? What's the filler called? The space between two spiral arms (if it isn't a ...
3
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1answer
85 views

What does “sites” mean in the lattice language?

I acknowledge that this question is quite trivial. But in the lattice jargon, what does a $N$-sites lattice mean? it's a lattice $N\times N$ or it's a lattice with $N$ vertices? another option ...
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1answer
7k 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

What is Dalitz decay?

What is Dalitz decay? I know there are Dalitz $\pi^0 \to e^+ + e^- + \gamma$ decay, $w \to \pi^0 + e^+ + e^-$ decay, may be more. But is there a rule to say which decay is Dalitz and which is not? ...
3
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1answer
170 views

What does “single inclusive” mean exactly?

I thought I knew what single inclusive scattering was, but today when I went to look up a definition to check my memory, I couldn't find one. A Google search yielded no shortage of papers that use the ...
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2answers
64 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
296 views

What's the difference between “Ohmic dissipation”, “Joule heating”, “ion drag” and “resistive heating”?

The following terms are sometimes used to refer to ... more or less ... the same thing by different people and in different contexts (electronic circuits vs. plasma physics, etc.): Ohmic ...
3
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1answer
288 views

What is the difference between a magnon and a spinon?

For a long time, I thought the terms "magnon" and "spinon" were equivalent, describing the collective spin excitation in a system. Lately, I have seen remarks in the literature that they indeed do ...
3
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1answer
140 views

What is a point transformation?

This problem comes from Goldstein. What does $s=e^{\gamma t}q$ mean? Do I just put $q=e^{-\gamma t}s$ into the Lagrangian? But I don't know what that means. I think the point transformation may ...
3
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1answer
108 views

Supersymmetry definition

Can someone outline the difference between supersymmetry and supersymmetric quantum mechanics? I often hear the two used interchangeably but I'm almost certain they are not the same.
3
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1answer
320 views

What is meant by Proton Structure Function?

I am going to embark on a project involving deep-inelastic scattering but first I am trying to do some really basic background reading to get me up to task. My only background in particle physics is ...
3
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1answer
108 views

Hot Big Bang vs. Big Bang

This should hopefully be a quick one. Is there any difference between the Big Bang Theory and the Hot Big Bang Theory? Around Cambridge I hear everyone using "Hot Big Bang Theory", for example ther ...
3
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1answer
140 views

How to determine the order of indications of a clock?

Given the description of a clock $\mathcal A$, as (1) a set $A$ of all (more than 2) distinct indications of this clock, in no particular order (where the individual indications contained in set ...
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3answers
712 views

Probability vs. degree of belief in facts of nature (“Plausibility”)

I just came across a line in a paper: "Assume the probability that a Lagrangian parameter lies between $a$ and $a + da$ is $dP(a) = $ [...]." This reminded me again of my single biggest qualm I have ...
3
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1answer
862 views

What are Low-lying energy levels?

I am reading about some canonical transformations of the Hamiltonian (of a system consisting of an electron interacting with an ionic lattice) due to Tomanaga and Lee, Low and Pines. One of the ...
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89 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 ...
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2answers
235 views

Is kinetic theory part of statistical mechanics?

Some years ago from now I've seem some basic details about what was then called "kinetic theory of gases" where the study of property of gases was made by statistical considerations about the momentum ...
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0answers
104 views

How can we count 17 particles in the standard model

This may be a bit of numerology, but I'd like to be able to make a statement like "There are 17 particles in the standard model" with some logical definition of a particle. But this statement is ...
3
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1answer
109 views

Off-diagonal terms of the Husimi $Q$ function?

The Husimi $Q$ function of a quantum state $\rho $ is defined as $ Q (\alpha)=\langle \alpha \vert \rho \vert \alpha \rangle $, where $\alpha = (x, p) $ is a phase space coordinate and $\vert \alpha ...
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0answers
106 views

What does the term 'a uniform RVB spin-liquid state' mean?

I encountered this term a uniform RVB spin-liquid state in some articles, for example, see the paragraph under Eq.(29) on page 9 in this paper. What does the word 'uniform ' mean? Simply from the ...
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1answer
1k views

What's a better phrase than “speed of light” for the universal spacetime speed constant? [closed]

The phrase "speed of light" is commonly used for the constant c =3E8 m/s, a feature that's "hardcoded" into the structure of spacetime. All massless waves and particles move at this speed, and it's a ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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4answers
659 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 ...
2
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1answer
310 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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5answers
119 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
260 views

Why is it called “annihilation”?

The term "annihilate" literally means "turn into nothing". However, when a particle and antiparticle collide, they clearly do not turn into nothing; they simply transform into different particles. ...
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1answer
151 views

How to pronounce $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$

It seems that $\textrm{eV}\!/c^2$ (and its multiples) is commonly used as the unit of mass in particle physics. For example, David Griffiths uses it quite naturally in Introduction to Elementary ...
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3answers
21k 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
790 views

Is there a difference between Electric and Electrostatic Field?

Is there a difference between Electric and Electrostatic Field? All I know is that they both represented with same law suppose we have a Charge placed at the Origin: ...
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2answers
294 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
11k views

What is the difference between Raman scattering and fluorescence?

What is the difference between Raman scattering and fluorescence? Both phenomena involve the emission of photons shifted in frequency relative to the incident light, because of some energetic ...
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2answers
1k views

What the difference between “orbital” and “orbit”?

What's the difference between "ortibal" and "orbit"? Which one should be used in physics? In quantum mechanics, is "atomic orbital" or "atomic orbit" used? And what about in classical mechanics? A ...
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3answers
1k views

Opposite of Cryogenics

Cryogenics is related to very low temperatures, so, what is the term when referring to very high temperatures?
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3answers
3k 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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2answers
119 views

What is high energy physics?

Is high energy physics the same as particle physics? Does research in high-energy physics include things like quantum gravity, string theory and quantum field theory? Is unifying the four ...
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2answers
233 views

What are global and local gauge invariance defined as they are?

I'm sorry for the triviality of my questions. Why is $\bar{\psi} = e^{i \theta}\bar{\psi}$, where $\theta$ is a real number, used as the global gauge transformation? Why $e^{i \theta}$; what's the ...
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2answers
212 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: $\overline\Delta^+$ $\overline{\Delta^+}$ $\overline\Delta^-$ ...
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3answers
723 views

What is the work done against a force?

Suppose a particle travels a path $\gamma : I\subset \mathbb{R}\to \mathbb{R}^3$ subject to a force $\mathbf{F}: \mathbb{R}^3\to T\mathbb{R}^3$, then we know that we define the work done by the force ...
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3answers
605 views

Should the term Watt's Law be used for $P = IV$?

I'm revising some electrical curriculum for a technical training program. In the curriculum students have to calculate values using Ohm's law and the equation $$\text{Power = Current * Voltage}$$ ...
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171 views

May molecules of ideal gases have an inner structure?

The following question is probably very elementary: whether molecules of ideal gases may have optic properties? As far as I understand, when one discusses optic properties, one assumes that molecules ...
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4answers
1k views

what is it called: box potential with one infinite wall

The finite square well and the infinite square well problem are well known, however is there a reason that there is almost no reference to the one sided infinite square well? Consider a particle ...
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2answers
248 views

Why does the classical electrodynamics Lagrangian density equation have a “field” term and an “interaction” term?

On Wikipedia's page on classical electrodynamics, they state the Lagrangian density equation as follows \begin{equation} \mathcal{L} = \mathcal{L}_{\text{field}} + \mathcal{L}_{\text{int}} = ...