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

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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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1answer
56 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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399 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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203 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
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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43 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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1answer
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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1answer
605 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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1answer
311 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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1answer
95 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
163 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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146 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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425 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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35 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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23 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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41 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
111 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
61 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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1answer
56 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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1answer
59 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
143 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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1answer
40 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 ...
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110 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
139 views

Buoyancy / Drag Problem

Buoyancy / Drag Problem Just a little bit of help would be nice. I have a spherical particle of radius $R$ and density $\rho$, surrounded in a fluid of density $\phi$ and viscosity $\eta$. I'm ...
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69 views

Why are Lagrangian subspaces called 'Lagrangian'?

I am wondering what the special role of Lagrangian subspaces (or submanifolds) are in mechanics. Do these subspaces have some sort of special property for which we have some sort of `Lagrangian ...
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45 views

Since “coordinate time” has a very specific meaning, how to call more general parametrizations?

Recently I've learned that "coordinate time" assigned to a particular time-like spacetime path is not only required (1) to be monotonous and continuous and even differentiable wrt. the "proper time" ...
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1answer
55 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
31 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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163 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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60 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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97 views

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 ...
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54 views

Have there been more distinctive names suggested for neutrino mass states $\nu_1, \nu_2, \nu_3$?

The different mass states of neutrinos are generally named $\nu_1, \nu_2, \nu_3$. By comparison, the names of quark mass states (up, ...
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49 views

Do two synchronous clocks have simultaneous indications?

Considering two clocks, $C$ and $D$, which were at rest to each other throughout a sufficiently extended trial, and given their time parametrizations $t_C : {\text{ ordered set of}}C{\text{'s ...
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1answer
518 views

Transparence of an infinite square well? [closed]

What does it mean by an infinite square well being transparent? I have been doing the calculation of the infinite square well and I came up with an answer $T = 1$ where $T$ for Transmission ...
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2answers
188 views

Correct terminology for combined kinematic and dynamic state

The kinematic state is defined as the position and orientation in space. The dynamic state is defined as the associated velocities. What is the correct terminology for the combined kinematic and ...
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57 views

Why are polymer representations called “polymer representations”?

Why are polymer representations called "polymer representations"? Polymer representations deal with non-continuous unitary representations of groups acting on nonseparable Hilbert spaces (see e.g. ...
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62 views

Trying to speak correctly of spacetime intervals and how to compare them

Is it correct to speak of "magnitude of a spacetime interval"? For instance, considering a pair of (distinct) events, $A$ and $B$, which are lightlike separated, is it correct to say that "the ...
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442 views

How is the term “Born level” usually defined?

How is the term "Born level" usually defined, e.g. in talking about the $pp\to Z/\gamma^*\to e^+e^-$ cross section at Born level?
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85 views

Motivation For Definitions [closed]

I noticed in my physics textbook that we define certain relationships to be true. I can see how this is considerably helpful in deriving other relationships from these definitions; for instance, take ...
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489 views

What's the common consensus on the meaning of “physical change”?

I'm doing a textbook problem that shows a "molecular level" view of some matter, little colored balls, before and after, and there are, among the four questions, two that say: 1) Did a physical change ...
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683 views

What is the relationship between Luminosity, Intensity, and Flux?

I am always confused by the terminology: In high energy particle scattering, and in particular, in the context of collider physics, what is the relationship between luminosity, intensity and flux? ...
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1answer
293 views

What does anthropic mean as in Anthropic principle? [closed]

I'm reading a book about string theory, and it describes anthropic principle. Idea is clear to me, I understand this principle describes certain constants in modern physics that are so fine tuned as ...
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110 views

Is putting a charged balloon up to a neutral wall polarization AND temporary induction, or just polarization?

Is putting a balloon that is charged up against a wall and having it stick polarization AND charging by temporary induction, or just polarization?
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565 views

What is a boundary condition for capacitors/dielectrics?

I am extremely confused about what boundary conditions are. One minute ago I was solving easy capacitor questions and the next minute I am being asked boundary condition questions and there is no such ...
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2answers
77 views

When referring to weights and mass of weights in a physics laboratory, do we use the term mass or weights?

What terminology is used to refer to weights/ mass/ weight of mass/ mass of weights when referring to the mass of weights in a physics report? My question is more of the weights that we use in the ...
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4answers
46 views

Can the term «shadow» pertain to anything else than light? [closed]

Can the term shadow pertain to anything else than light? Feel free to interpret this question in the widest sense possible.