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

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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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53 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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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
27 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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2k views

What does the magnitude of the acceleration mean?

I am a little confused as to what the magnitude of acceleration is and what it means.
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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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73 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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390 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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5k 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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116 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
134 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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658 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
812 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
51 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
48 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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75 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
175 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
134 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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151 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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286 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
206 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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717 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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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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44 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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37 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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75 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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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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255 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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151 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
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 ...
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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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98 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 ...
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2answers
134 views

What should I call an n>4 dimensional Minkowski metric?

I am manipulating an $nxn$ metric where $n$ is often $> 4$, depending on the model. The $00$ component is always tau*constant, as in the Minkowski metric, but the signs on all components might be ...
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1answer
256 views

What is the difference between quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation?

Generate two entangled photons, send one to a message sender and the other to the intended receiver. Both the sender and the receiver recover the same piece of quantum information from the photons, ...
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445 views

Common Variables in Quantum Mechanics

I am an eighth grader (please remember this!!!) in need of some guidance in my school project on Quantum Mechanics, Theory, and Logic. I am attempting the create a graph of the Schrödinger Equation ...
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1answer
90 views

Terminology question about energy

I'm looking for the appropriate term to use for what gets "used up" as potential energy is converted to heat and work. For example, some of the the energy in solar radiation is converted by ...
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1answer
137 views

Reality constraint

What is the "definition" of a reality constraint and why is it called that way? (I mean how it is used for example in quantum field theory and string theory)
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1answer
120 views

Where can I find the equations for “quasi” elastic collisions?

Yes, you all talk about neutrinos and spins, but I came out with this basic s**t :D All of us learnt the basic equations of collisions, elastic (everything bounces and energy remains the same), or ...
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1answer
392 views

Metrology: What is precision for a measurement? [closed]

Is precision a "quality" of a measurement? Is there a better (accepted by the literature) word?
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32 views

Definition of a geodesic ball? [migrated]

I think it goes along the lines of: a ball made of a series of flat sides. Also is a geodesic ball and geodesic dome the same thing?
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1answer
44 views

Gravity force and dark energy [duplicate]

If gravity is a fundamental force which bends spacetime and dark energy is energy which stretches spacetime, what is the difference between the terms force and energy?
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1answer
25 views

Differentiating between mass number (A) and activity (A) in a nomenclature/glossary [closed]

I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this question, but as it's related to the terminology of nuclear physics I thought it would probably be a logical place to start. I'm currently writing ...
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1answer
26 views

Equivalent temperature: laser and cell containing Rb

What's the meaning of "equivalent temperature" related to a cell containing rubidium and crossed by laser?
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154 views

Morphisms between chiral CFTs

This is a question about terminology. Given two vertex algebras $V_1$ and $V_2$ (= chiral CFTs), there are two kinds of maps $V_1\to V_2$ that one might want to consider. 1) Morphisms of VOAs that ...
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52 views

What is the definition of a charge-neutral operator?

What is the definition of a charge-neutral operator? I guess it means something like: it is invariant under charge conjugation. It that correct?
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Why not “black matter” instead of “non-baryonic cold dark matter”? [closed]

I would like to know if any epistemologist or science popularizer has ever think about a better/simpler name for exotic or non-baryonic cold dark matter like black matter. That would be interesting ...