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

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2
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1answer
64 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Is symplectic form in Hamiltonian mechanics a physical quantity?

Is symplectic form $dp_i \wedge dq_i$ in Hamiltonian mechanics a physical quantity? It feels to me to be something different than say energy, momentum or mass. Like just certain structure. The real ...
1
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2answers
78 views

What is to be considered a “body” in physics?

Well, the question says it all; is there a definition of body in physics? What is to be considered a physical object and what it cannot?
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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. ...
1
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1answer
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? ...
12
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3answers
983 views

The notion of an adiabatic process in thermodynamics -vs- quantum mechanics

I'm confused about the terminology in the two contexts since I can't figure out if they have a similar motivation. Afaik, the definitions state that quantum processes should be very slow to be called ...
4
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1answer
4k views

What is the difference between Radiation and Electromagnetic Radiation

Are the two equivalent or is Electromagnetic Radiation a subset of Radiation. I am further confused by the fact that electromagnetic radiation includes both ionizing and non ionizing types of ...
2
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3answers
392 views

Conversion of ideal gas to real gas via $Z$ compression factor

The ideal gas equation $PV=nRT$ can be converted into real gas equation by compression factor $Z$ i.e $PV=Z~ nRT)$. My question is what is $Z$ and how does it arise? Is $PV/nRT$ a compression ratio of ...
2
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2answers
723 views

The meaning of 'postulate' in physics? [duplicate]

What does postulate mean in physics? What is its role in physical theories? Is it possible to break physical postulates?
0
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1answer
123 views

What is a long-tailed distribution for physicists?

What is the most common definition of long tailed distribution for physicists? I am looking for definition and examples. Examples should have arguments why the distribution is or is not long tailed. ...
0
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2answers
119 views

What is “species” in the context of an electrochemical cell?

From the Wikipedia entry on Electrochemical cell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrochemical_cell): An electrochemical cell consists of two half-cells. Each half-cell consists of an electrode, ...
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3answers
13k views

Is time a Scalar or a Vector?

In Wikipedia it's said that time is a scalar quantity. But its hard to understand that how? As stated that we consider only the magnitude of time then its a scalar. But on basis of time we define ...
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0answers
64 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 ...
2
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1answer
232 views

Moose Models (Purpose, Examples)

A problem set for my QFT class is titled "Moose Models" and deals with the moose model for a gauge symmetry of $U(1)\times U(1)$. I was wondering if I could get an explanation of what a Moose Model ...
2
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5answers
111 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 ...
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6answers
6k views

Difference between theoretical physics and mathematical physics?

I'm a huge fan of mathematical physics and I know what the formal definitions of those two areas are, I've seen them. But I still get completely baffled when someone asks me to explain it simply. The ...
2
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2answers
248 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. ...
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4answers
2k views

Is 'restoring force' a particular type of force?

I have a question about the restoring force in elastic band or rope which confusing me for a long time. As I was told in high school physics, for an elastic band (or spring), if Hooke's law holds, we ...
9
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2answers
530 views

Should it be obvious that independent quantum states are composed by taking the tensor product?

My text introduces multi-quibt quantum states with the example of a state that can be "factored" into two (non-entangled) substates. It then goes on to suggest that it should be obvious1 that the ...
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1answer
128 views

Oscillon and soliton

I want to know the major difference between oscillon and soliton in terms of radiating energy with respect to time and position. And what about their localization?
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0answers
459 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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2answers
983 views

Amplitude of Probability amplitude. Which one is it?

QM begins with a Born's rule which states that probability $P$ is equal to a modulus square of probability amplitude $\psi$: $$P = \left|\psi\right|^2.$$ If I write down a wave function like this ...
0
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1answer
162 views

What's the difference between these two formulas and how are these called?

I just want to know the differences between these two formulas: $h = h_0 + v_0 t ± \frac{1}{2} g t^2$ and $y = y_0 + v_{0y} t + \frac{1}{2} g t^2$ Also, how are these called in English?
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0answers
86 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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0answers
54 views

What name would you give to the method of approximating an arbitrary magnet with many smaller dipoles?

Let's say I had an arbitrarily shaped permanent magnet, with total magnetic moment $M_{0}$. Ways to calculate the magnetic field of this magnet include an analytic solution (if one exists), as well ...
2
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2answers
278 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 ...
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3answers
567 views

What are the differences between indistinguishable and identical?

What is the difference between indistinguishable particles and identical particles?
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2answers
256 views

Word for the star around which an exoplanet orbits:

Is there accepted nomenclature for the star around which a particular exoplanet orbits? Meaning, if I were to say "The exoplanet blah blah blah's (noun)" what noun would I put there? Sun? Star? ...
2
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2answers
253 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
420 views

“Hard wall”/ “soft wall”

I have encountered those terms in various places. As I understand it, "soft wall" can correspond to a smooth cutoff of some spacetime, while "hard wall" can be a sharp one, which can be described in ...
2
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1answer
150 views

Term for “atmospheric ricochet” due to wrong “angle-of-attack”

I watched "Apollo 13" yesterday, and they had the "angle-of-attack" problem that had to be manually solved, to prevent the ship from "ricochet[ing] off the atmosphere like a rock skipping off a pond". ...
4
votes
4answers
522 views

What is the term for hose fluctuating movements during flow?

What do we call it when water flowing through a flexible hose causes it to act like snake movements if the hose were disturbed? Can this movement be explained by the Coriolis force?
2
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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 ...
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4answers
314 views

What makes an equation an 'equation of motion'?

Every now and then, I find myself reading papers/text talking about how this equation is a constraint but that equation is an equation of motion which satisfies this constraint. For example, in the ...
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1answer
220 views

Is shear elasticity the same as shear modulus?

I've encountered both the terms "shear elasticity" and "shear modulus". Are these the same?
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2answers
2k views

What is Curie-Weiss temperature?

What is Curie-Weiss temperature? What is the difference between Curie-Weiss temperature and Curie temperature?
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2answers
2k views

Is Pauli-repulsion a “force” that is completely separate from the 4 fundamental forces?

You can have two electrons that experience each other's force by the exchange of photons (i.e. the electromagnetic force). Yet if you compress them really strongly, the electromagnetic interaction ...
4
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3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the word “Principle” in Physics?

What is the meaning of the word principle in Physics? For example in the "action principle". Is it an action law, an action equation, or an unproved assumption? (I have an idea what an action is). ...
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2answers
362 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 ...
2
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2answers
182 views

SI units with more than one prefix in fractions

Is it (in the view of SI) correct to note units with more then one prefix? I discuss this since several months with friends, but we could not find a proper source for our statements yet. Examples for ...
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1answer
66 views

Reason for the convention about polarization states

I'd like to know if there is a special reason for limiting convention of polarization state to waves that can be split in just two components of equal frequency.
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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 ...
3
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1answer
193 views

What the name of the evacuated glass gadget with black and white vanes that turn when a light is applied?

I remember a glass device my physics teacher had at high school which Contained some vanes mounted somehow on a vertical axis, which were all black on one side and white on the other Was in a ...
2
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1answer
242 views

What is the name for the whistling “musical” sounds that change stepwise in pitch when a hollow tube is spun like a lasso?

You have likely heard those sounds, science museums sometimes sell Flexible plastic tubes you can whirl like a lasso. The air rushing by the end of the tube causes these sounds, which are admitted in ...
2
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3answers
392 views

Weightlessness by a parabolic flight

Do you actually achieve weightlessness during a parabolic flight? Because I believe I heard somewhere did you achieve 'near-weightlessness' and not 'weightlessness' (if this is true, why is this?) ...
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2answers
701 views

What does “the ${\bf N}$ of a group” mean?

In the context of group theory (in my case, applications to physics), I frequently come across the phrase "the ${\bf N}$ of a group", for example "a ${\bf 24}$ of $SU(5)$" or "the ${\bf 1}$ of ...
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3answers
307 views

Is it true that an isolated fundamental particle does not decay?

Is it true that an isolated fundamental/elementary particle does not decay? It seems logical to me.
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1answer
2k views

What came first, Rice Crispy or “Snap,” “Crackle,” and “Pop”? [closed]

The fourth, fifth, and sixth derivatives of position are called "Snap" "Crackle" and "Pop". What came first, the rice crispy characters, or the physics units?
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2answers
3k views

Differences between classical, analytical, rational and theoretical mechanics

Can you explain me what are the differences between the four following subjects? analytical mechanics rational mechanics classical mechanics theoretical mechanics
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1answer
101 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 ...