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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

3
votes
0answers
712 views

Difference between inorganic and organic semiconductors: electronic structure or configuration, or?

Organic semiconductors differ from inorganic semiconductors. In organic semiconductors the molecules are held together by weak van der Waals interactions and in inorganic semiconductors by covalent ...
3
votes
1answer
791 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
554 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
votes
1answer
278 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
votes
5answers
113 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
252 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. ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
269 views

What is the essential difference between a resonance and a particle?

Let me start by explaining my particle physics background is very patchy, so this question may not be as coherent as I would like it to be. In general terms, what is the difference between a ...
2
votes
2answers
284 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
973 views

Opposite of Cryogenics

Cryogenics is related to very low temperatures, so, what is the term when referring to very high temperatures?
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
98 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
415 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: ...
2
votes
2answers
179 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: $\overline\Delta^+$ $\overline{\Delta^+}$ $\overline\Delta^-$ ...
2
votes
3answers
393 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
157 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
953 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
161 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}} = ...
2
votes
3answers
90 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?
2
votes
1answer
288 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
70 views

Where does the term “boost” come from for rotation-free transformations?

I had never seen rotation free transformations called "boosts" (I think I have it right) before reading some questions here. I'm too old perhaps. I have not found the etymology after some searching, ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Terminology for opposite null lines

Is there a name for two null lines that lie on the opposite sides of the null cone? Each line can be obtained from the other by reflection in the axis of the null cone (the time-axis). In terms of ...
2
votes
1answer
715 views

Why are the quarks so named?

Quarks have a variety of names (or flavours): Up Down Strange Charm Bottom or Beauty Top or Truth Why do they have such odd names?
2
votes
1answer
8k 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? ...
2
votes
1answer
47 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
214 views

What is meant by “unique direction” in most of the arguments in application of Gauss' Law?

This term is really bothering me a lot. While explaining the radial direction of electric field of a uniformly charged sphere, my book writes: Notice the use of argument of symmetry. There is no ...
2
votes
2answers
118 views

What unit system does Fahrenheit belong to?

Wikipedia's page for Imperial Units does not list Fahrenheit. The corresponding page for SI Units lists Kelvin as an SI unit, and Celcius as a derived SI unit. This leads me to believe that ...
2
votes
2answers
131 views

Is it accurate to say “a wavefunction is a function of particle positions or momenta”?

Something has been bothering me for a while. I encounter this kind of statement everywhere: While a single particle is described by a wave function $\Psi({\vec r};t)$, a system of two particles, ...
2
votes
1answer
87 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
123 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
votes
3answers
227 views

Configuration manifolds and constraints

In Classical Mechanics there's this notion of configuration manifold. Although I've heard about that a lot and although I often use that concept, I'm not sure I really understand them well because ...
2
votes
2answers
184 views

Why is the Faraday Tensor derived from the Lorentz force?

If we start from the Lorentz force, $$\textbf{F}=q\textbf{E} +q\textbf{v}\times\textbf{B}$$ and use the four velocity u$^{\mu}$ and the four momentum p$^{\nu}$, then we get to ...
2
votes
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
votes
1answer
128 views

Since when the term 'mass' is being used in physics?

I was wondering who used the term 'mass' in physics and in what context? The Online Etymology Dictionary says it is in use since 1704. According to the Wiki article the year is contemporary to the ...
2
votes
2answers
258 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
561 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What is “Quantum Levitation”?

I just found this video Controlled Quantum Levitation on a WipeOut Track and I'm having a hard time finding the term "Quantum Levitation" used except in reference to the video. What is the proper ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Is UV catastrophe same as IR catastrophe?

I am currently studying quantum physics from Serwey-jewet. Where in the topic of Planck's law, infrared catastrophe is alternatively used for UV catastrophe while explaining how Plancks constant ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Is there a scientific term for the right-hand-(grip-)rule?

To illustrate and remember the direction of rotation around an axis defined by a vector as it happens to be in some fields of physics, one can employ the right-hand-rule: (image from here) Is ...
2
votes
2answers
47 views

Why does one call $B$ the magnetic induction?

When one studies electrostatics we have the electric field $\mathbf{E}$. This object usually is introduced as a field produced by a configuration of charges such that the force on another charge $Q$ ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

What is the difference between the diffusion equation and the heat equation?

I know that the diffusion equation is a more general version of the heat equation. But what is the exact difference informally?
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Eigenfunctions of Schrödinger equation

Why are solutions of the Schrödinger equation called eigenfunctions? For an electron moving in one dimensional lattice the eigenfunctions are given by$$\psi(x)=u_k(x)e^{ikx}.$
2
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

Why “Dark Energy” is called energy instead of force?

The overly simplified explanation I'm giving myself right now is dark energy causes the opposite of what gravity does, that's why the universe is expanding. Now where gravity is a force, why dark ...