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

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When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles were called Majorana fermions?

Since a number of years, the field of superconductivity has a growing obsession with Majorana fermions. I wonder how far back we can go: When was the first time that superconducting quasiparticles ...
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2answers
105 views

What does the “T” stand for in T-duality?

First of all, I am not a physicist. I'm a graduate math student and recently I came across the concept of T-duality. Actually I'm studying generalized complex geometry, which according to this paper ...
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57 views

Difference between hydrostatic and uniaxial pressure

I'm confused with these two terminologies. Does 'hydrostatic' means every direction while 'uniaxial' means one direction? What're they usually used for?
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40 views

Kinematics and dynamics - what pattern do they portray?

The Equations which are derived for kinematics and dynamics are some patterns related to the body in motion. What is the demarcation in the pattern that kinematic equations and dynamic equations ...
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4answers
50 views

Who is said to do Work, me or the body?

If I subject my force to a body and it is displaced then the work is said to be done. What is that work done by? Is it said to be done by me or that body?
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101 views

What is the difference between a parameter, a variable, and an operator in QM?

On the question why time isn't an operator, people will usually say that time is a parameter in QM (Time as a Hermitian operator in QM?) and not a variable. Can someone please distinguish between a ...
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78 views

Realistic Potential Wells

What is meant by the term "realistic" potential wells? I got stuck into the term as I don't know what are the limitations of the word realistic in this case. For example mentioned in line We ...
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4answers
92 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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1answer
72 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
138 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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2answers
122 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
125 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
143 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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602 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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44 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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136 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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355 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
264 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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2answers
5k views

What are virtual objects, Reflection of light? [duplicate]

While studying reflection through a plane mirror, I have been told that when the object is real the image will be virtual and the image will be real while the object is virtual. What are virtual ...
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60 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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411 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
212 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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49 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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44 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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100 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
138 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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642 views

What is the difference between observer, frame of reference, and gauge?

It seems to me that there is considerable relationship between the three concepts: frame of reference, observer, and gauge. How do they overlap? My current understanding is that an observer with a ...
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317 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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96 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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168 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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149 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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430 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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55 views

How is the formula for the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor derived?

I have seen in I.E. Irodov that if the permittivity is given as $\epsilon$ then we can find the capacitance as $$C = \frac{\epsilon A}{d}$$ but I wonder whether it is dimensionally correct or not and ...
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37 views

Dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory

What is the difference between dynamics and kinematics of quantum field theory? I read that in QFT there is no possibility to keep the two things distinct because of a problem with the separability of ...
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29 views

What does 'easily reversed' mean in the NIST spectral database? [on hold]

Cross posted to http://engineering.stackexchange.com/q/3303/ I'm trying to do some processing of optical emission spectra from sputtering plasmas, and am confused by what NIST means by 'easily ...
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51 views

Is hidden symmetry the same concept as broken symmetry for the standard model?

I have recently started studying the basic ideas of symmetry and group representation in order to understand the basic principles behind the standard model. I do follow the difference between a global ...
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1answer
31 views

What is meant by 'a perfect dipole'?

Question What is meant by a perfect (electric) dipole? Additional information I came across the term in this question Force from point charge on perfect dipole and also in a textbook (which does ...
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1answer
48 views

Is there a name for the linear quantity corresponding to the (quadratic) “interval $\Delta s^2$”?

Recently it has been affirmed here (again) that the quantity called "interval (also 'spacetime interval' or 'invariant interval')" is referring to two (in general distinct) events as arguments, such ...
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64 views

Is 'Boltzon' an accepted name for particles following Maxwell-Boltzmann (MB) statistics?

In my curriculum during one of my statistical mechanics visiting lecture classes, our teacher was referring comparatively macro particles following MB statistics as "Boltzon". But I have searched ...
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39 views

Can anybody explain about phase shift and phase spectrum terms in case of multidimensional signal?

I know about phase of a 1D signal, but when I move into higher dimensions like 2D or 3D etc, it becomes headache to grasp the concept. What do the terms "phase shift" and "phase spectrum" mean in ...
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29 views

What is the correct terminology for a “symplectic covariant” equation?

A Lorentz covariant equation is one that takes the same form even when a Lorentz transformation is applied to each variable. Lorentz covariance is generally made manifest by writing the equation with ...
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42 views

How to get from $E_8 \rightarrow E_7 \rightarrow E_6 \rightarrow …$

I read in section 2 of this paper : "There is a well-defined chain to descent from $E_8$ to smaller groups by chopping off a node of the Dynkin diagram." What exactly is here referring to ...
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3answers
122 views

What is a “Reversed Effective Force”?

I have some confusion about the "Reversed effective force" as it appears in the derivation of D'Alembert's principle. In Goldstein d'Alembert's principle is given as: $(F-\dot{p}) \cdot \delta r = ...
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1answer
62 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 ...
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61 views

What is the relationship between harmonic motion and the harmonics of a wave?

I learned about harmonic motion and harmonic oscillators a long time ago in physics, but I can't remember what the relationship between that and and the definition of harmonic in a wave. A harmonic ...
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65 views

Statistical mechanics vs. many-body theory

Where is the basic difference of statistical mechanics with many-body physics? What are the systems which cannot be studied in statistical mechanics but in many body theory? After all we know ...
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26 views

Frame dependence

I was reading an article about magnetospheres, and came across this quote: This supersonic ionized gas, or plasma, called the solar wind carries with it a magnetic field and a frame dependent ...
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2answers
156 views

Locally flat coordinate and Locally inertial frame

I am having some doubts on myself regarding the above concepts in General Relativity. First, I want to point out how I understand them so far. A male observer follows a timelike worldline ($\gamma$) ...
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43 views

What is a geocentric altitude?

In NAO TN no.69, Yallop defines ARCV as geocentric difference in altitude between the centre of the Sun and the centre of the Moon for a given latitude and longitude, ignoring the effects of ...
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48 views

Why is special relativity so special? [duplicate]

The title says it really. Why is special relativity so special? I'm just curious as to how and why the term 'special' came to describe the theory of relativity where gravitational forces are ...