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

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What is the difference between classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics? [duplicate]

What is the difference between classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics? To me, they are greatly different but are different approaches for explaining same thing. But I do prefer ...
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2answers
935 views

Why is static electricity called static?

They called it "static" because "it doesn’t go anywhere". In order to create static electricity, you have to rub two different materials. When you rub them, the electrons move. So, why is it called ...
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1answer
423 views

Does a ball resting on the ground have acceleration?

Does a ball resting on the Earth's ground have acceleration caused by gravity?
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0answers
107 views

If the field concept was invented by Faraday, then how did Newton interpret the $g$?

This is Newton's law of universal gravitation. $F=G\frac{m_1.m_2}{r^2}$ Gravitational field $g$ is derived from this formula $g=G\frac{m_1}{r^2}$ This is named gravitational "field" strength. If ...
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4answers
106 views

Is trajectory the same as an orbit?

Is trajectory the same as an orbit? I wanted to know about gravity assists, but most books I find are talking about different types of orbits and such. Are they related?
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6answers
2k views

What is “special” and what is “general” in Relativity?

Initially I thought in special relativity the velocity was constant, whereas general relativity allowed treatment of accelerated frames as well. But now I have heard that SR is only valid locally?
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3answers
112 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?
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0answers
34 views

Relativistic non-linear Walecka model

What is meant by a relativistic non-linear Walecka model? What are some various sources to study it? [And why cannot Google show a satisfactory result to such a simple question?]
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3answers
1k views

What's the difference between “numerical methods” & “mathematical analysis” as said by Feynman in his lectures?

While reading his lectures, I came to these lines: On the basis of Newton's second law of motion,which gives the relation between the acceleration of any body & the force acting on it,any ...
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1answer
94 views

What does “downshear” mean?

I occasionally read descriptions such as "downshear of the vortex" in meteorological publications. What does this mean?
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1answer
80 views

What are “two-centre integrals”?

Reading through some condensed matter physics literature I came across the term "two-centre integrals". Could someone explain what is meant by this in general? CONTEXT: "the overlap matrix and the ...
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1answer
1k views

Where did the Word 'Physics' Come From? [closed]

As the title suggests, where did the name for the discipline 'Physics' come from? - does it mean something in Greek?
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1answer
128 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}.$
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3answers
33k views

What is difference between homogeneous vs isotropic material?

When we say a material is isotropic? When properties such as density, Young's modulus etc. are same in all directions. If these properties are direction dependent, then we can say that the material is ...
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1answer
56 views

Difference between astronomy and astrophysics [duplicate]

In my university, the department for astronomy and astrophysics are distinct. I want to know what's basically the difference between the two fields?
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5answers
452 views

Is Parity really violated? (Even though neutrinos are massive)

The weak force couples only to left-chiral fields, which is expressed mathematically by a chiral projection operator $P_L = \frac{1-\gamma_5}{2}$ in the corresponding coupling terms in the Lagrangian. ...
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1answer
70 views

Confusion about the use of the term “Phase Space” in Strogatz text

I've just started learning about Hamiltonian mechanics, and from the definition given in Taylor's classical mechanics, phase space must always have an even dimension. However, I recall from reading ...
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4answers
6k views

What is the difference between electromagnet and solenoid?

What is the difference between electromagnet and solenoid? Both these terms seem as the same thing to me. The only difference that I can find seems to be that an electromagnet contains a soft iron ...
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3answers
321 views

About the postulates of quantum mechanics and self-adjointness

I am a freshman trying to understand the very basics of quantum mechanics but I met barriers at the beginning. What really matters is the postulates of quantum mechanics and their relationship with ...
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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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1answer
187 views

What is this simple mechanism called? [closed]

I often build with Lego and use this mechanism: It converts the rotational movement to linear by making the stick between the two blocks go back and forth. What is this mechanism called?
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3answers
66 views

Image angle illusion [closed]

I am not sure whether this question on-topic here. (please suggest to migrate if this is off-topic) What is the phenomenon/illusion (or something else?) known as where in a photo of a person, the ...
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6answers
1k views

Gibbs free energy intuition

What is Gibbs free energy? As my book explains: Gibbs energy is the energy of a system available for work. So, what does it want to tell? Why is it free? Energy means ability to do work. What is ...
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3answers
178 views

What really is “inertial force”?

In Fluid Mechanics we often see the term inertial force when discussing Reynolds number. The problem is, I didn't really get what's this inertial force. Basically, the notion of inertia I have is that ...
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3answers
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What is “a vector of $SO(n)$”?

I'm watching (or trying to watch) this lecture from NPTEL on classical field theory. I've understood everything in the series up till this point, including the first half of the lecture on elementary ...
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1answer
158 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 ...
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2answers
390 views

Does “normal torque” exist?

Is there any force called normal torque? If a ruler is spinning, and it hits the floor, obviously it will stop. The floor must be exerting a "normal torque" on the ruler. If this exists, please tell ...
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1answer
175 views

Is charge transfer from A to B positive or negative?

I see this term pop up a lot -- for instance "charge is transferred from atom A to atom B", but it's never specified whether they're talking about positive or negative charge. I know electrical ...
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2answers
8k 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 ...
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1answer
242 views

Is there a scientific term for star formation?

It might be my stupidity to think that many laymen terms that most people use to describe some physics phenomena usually have a scientifically accepted term or name? The process of star formation, ...
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2answers
531 views

What is the difference between Chiral anomaly, ABJ anomaly, and Axial anomaly?

I get confuse with these three terms: Chiral anomaly, ABJ anomaly, and Axial anomaly. I can not find standard definition of these three. Is there anyone can describe precisely?
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1answer
65 views

What is “Lifetime Intensity” in photoluminescence?

I'm reading an article "Surface plasmon enhanced Förster resonance energy transfer between the CdTe quantum dots". Link The reasearchers are writing about increase in "lifetime intensity" and even ...
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2answers
856 views

What is a gauge in a gauge theory?

As I study Jackson, I am getting really confused with some of its key definitions. Here is what I am getting confused at. When we substituted the electric field and magnetic field in terms of the ...
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1answer
379 views

Definition of “destructive” interference of waves

What is the commonly accepted precise definition of "destructive" interference of waves. Does it mean: interference with complete cancellation or interference where the amplitude gets smaller ...
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1answer
123 views

De Donder Weyl theory

Im trying to get my head around what the difference is between a symplectic and multisymplectic manifold is. My understanding currently is that on a symplectic manifold time is the parameter that ...
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2answers
320 views

Is uniform circular motion an SHM?

I know the projection along a diameter is an SHM but is circular motion itself an SHM? If we consider the mean position to be the center of the circle then the centripetal acceleration is proportional ...
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157 views

Friction force in rolling motion

In rolling without slipping motion we know that the friction acting is static friction and so we treat it as an unknown while solving equations of dynamics. Question: Is the static friction during ...
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1answer
849 views

Simple explanation of Coherent integration radar

I have a physics background, and I'm reading some physics data analysis papers where they keep throwing around the term coherent integration. I've done the google search, but the best answer I could ...
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4answers
618 views

What is an interpretation of quantum mechanics?

In the sense of "Copenhagen Interpretation", what exactly is an interpretation? What purpose does an interpretation serve? Can an interpretation be tested or even be correct or incorrect independent ...
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2answers
678 views

X-ray diffraction analytical principle - diffraction or reflection?

I am an MSc in analytical chemistry, currently working with x-ray diffraction. The technique is called "x-day diffraction", but are not the x-rays reflected? Max von Laue discovered that x-rays were ...
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2answers
341 views

Covariant derivative applied to a vector vs. applied to a matrix?

I know there are (say) two different definitions/representations of the covariant derivative: one is the covariant derivative applied to a vector $F$, which reads as $$DF=\partial F+iAF$$ ...
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4answers
831 views

Is partial derivative a vector or dual vector?

The textbook(Introduction to the Classical Theory of Particles and Fields, by Boris Kosyakov) defines a hypersurface by $$F(x)~=~c,$$ where $F\in C^\infty[\mathbb M_4,\mathbb R]$. Differentiating ...
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2answers
148 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 ...
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1answer
253 views

Vorticity versus Viscosity

For a work project I need to revive my aerodynamics knowledge again. Can somebody help me with the distinction between vorticity and viscosity. If a flow vorticity is not equal to zero, the flow is ...
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1answer
317 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 ...
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1answer
207 views

Does graphene have a honeycomb lattice?

In my grand ignorance I would state that graphene has a honeycomb lattice. Some tend to agree with me and some others do not. I'm curious to know what members of the SE community think is the right ...
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1answer
604 views

Difference between a “source dipole” and a “force dipole”

I know quite well what a dipole is and in general what multipole moments are (in the context of, for instance, electrodynamics). What I find myself confused by is something called a "force dipole" in ...
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3answers
282 views

Group representations as vectors and isomorphism between weights and matrix generators

This might be something basic, but it is unclear to me. So I am used to work with representations of groups as matrices. These matrices represent the structure of the Lie algebra by satisfying the ...
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1answer
33 views

What does “shortwave radiation” mean to a meteorologist?

I'm have an empirical model developed using surface observations of radiation (400-1100nm). I tend to think of this as visible, near infrared, and a little bit of shortwave infrared. I now need to ...
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306 views

Is internal symmetry the same as gauge symmetry?

This is more a terminology question. I have seen that some people differentiate between the two types of symmetry: internal symmetry and gauge symmetry (of a field theory). Is there a difference (in ...