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

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1answer
62 views

Angular displacement after full rotation

I was wondering is why angular displacement isn't $0$ after $n$ full rotations?
10
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3answers
1k views

Planets and Pluto? Neptune?

If one of the rules to be a planet is that it needs to clear ALL objects from their orbit, does this also make Neptune a non-planet? Since it has thus far failed to clear Pluto from it's orbit. Or ...
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3answers
286 views

Generic term comprising everything that can be represented with a number and a unit?

I am looking for the generic term comprising all of the following: $23.42\,\text{m}$ $200\,\text{K}$ $123\,\text{MeV}$ $ħ$ with other words, everything that can be reasonably represented ...
2
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0answers
67 views

Which scientists have managed to name their laws/terms after themselves? [closed]

It would be pretty vain for someone to name a scientific law, unit, or term after themselves. "Newtons" as the name for the measurement of force, for example, was adopted in 1948, so I don't expect ...
2
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2answers
218 views

What is the clear cut difference between isotropic and anisotropic spin exchanges?

When are spin exchanges said to be isotropic or anisotropic? I have read several articles on this and can not differentiate these concepts properly.
4
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1answer
69 views

Why is the specific notation used for term symbols useful?

This has bugged me for a long time. Term symbols describe electronic states of atoms which have well-defined total electronic angular momentum $J$ as well as total spin and orbital angular momenta ...
7
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1answer
156 views

Has the Nobel committee mixed up this years prizes for Physics and Chemistry? [closed]

The title of the question is tongue-in-cheek but the question remains: How does the Nobel committee delineate the fields when awarding work which is of such an inter-disciplinary nature. The chemistry ...
3
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2answers
1k views

What's the difference between hopping and tunneling?

My professor made a distinction between electron hopping (the closest wikipedia had an article on) and tunneling, saying that one (he didn't say which, but I assume hopping) was temperature dependent ...
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1answer
50 views

Why is a “Semi-leptonic” Decay Mode called so?

Why is a semileptonic decay mode called so? I mean, if there is one lepton amongst the decay products, it should be leptonic, right? If there are two, that should be called bi-leptonic or something ...
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2answers
939 views

How to understand whether potential energy increases or decreases?

I am confused by how to deal with the negative sign in the equation $U=-GMm/r^2$ in the following problem: If the distance between two masses is tripled, then the magnitude of the gravitational ...
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3answers
4k views

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics?

How is a bound state defined in quantum mechanics for states which are not eigenstates of the Hamiltonian i.e. which do not have definite energies? Can a superposition state like ...
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2answers
231 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 ...
2
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2answers
245 views

What's the symbol for the antiparticle of the delta plus baryon?

It can't be $\Delta^-$ since that is another particle also made up of quarks (not antiquarks). I can think of four possibilities: $\overline\Delta^+$ $\overline{\Delta^+}$ $\overline\Delta^-$ ...
2
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2answers
84 views

Meaning of SIS in accelerators

With reference to accelerator facilities, the term "SIS" is often used. e.g. SIS-100, SIS-300 etc. What does SIS stand for, in this context? (The last S is probably for Synchrotron) Google appears ...
1
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1answer
129 views

How does Dirac form this conjugate imaginary equation?

On page 30 of Dirac's book $$\xi|P\rangle = a|P\rangle\tag{12}$$ He then says Suppose we have a solution of (12) and we form the conjugate imaginary equation, which will read $$\langle ...
0
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1answer
73 views

Friedmann equations question

Friedmann equations for critical density is: $$\rho_c = \frac{3H^2}{8\pi G}$$ Is there any other way to write this equation? For example: $$\rho_c = \frac{3}{8\pi GH^2}$$ I saw the above form on ...
1
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1answer
291 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 ...
3
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1answer
184 views

Use of the term first order dependency

In a question I am doing it says: Show explicitly that the function $$y(t)=\frac{-gt^2}{2}+\epsilon t(t-1)$$ yields an action that has no first order dependency on $\epsilon$. Also my textbook ...
1
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1answer
470 views

Does the Sun “drag the solar system through space”?

In this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHsq36_NTU#t=55 at 0:55, it is claimed that "the sun is [...] dragging the planets in its wake". Is this true? My understanding is that the sun and ...
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2answers
189 views

Rigorous distinction between quasiparticles and collective excitations

I would like to hear your opinion on the question whether there is an accepted distinction between both concepts in condensed matter physics. I would tend to use the word quasiparticle for dressed ...
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0answers
81 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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4answers
2k views

Newton's first law: is his concept of (force of ) inertia still useful and used?

The force of inertia is the property common to all bodies that remain in their state, either at rest or in motion, unless some external cause is introduced to make them alter this state. That ...
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4answers
64 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.
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2answers
379 views

Conservation laws and continuity equations

I'm a bit messed up with conservation laws and continuity equations. This is my understanding: A conservation law describes that a physical quantity $G$ is conserved with time. It does not prevent ...
6
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1answer
366 views

What does “P-wave” mean when referring to a particle?

In scattering theory, P wave means $l=1$, where $l$ is the azimuthal quantum number. However, what does P wave mean when referring to particle states? For example, in this paper (arXiv link), the ...
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1answer
64 views

Can Allan variance be generalized such that the “Oscillator model” is not presumed?

The definition of Allan variance, $\sigma^2[ \tau ]$, which relates to "stability of clocks" is described on the Wikipedia page as being derived in terms of an "Oscillator model": "The oscillator ...
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4answers
978 views

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation?

Is the Big Bang defined as before or after Inflation? Seems like a simple enough question to answer right? And if just yesterday I were to encounter this, I'd have given a definite answer. But I've ...
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3answers
511 views

Is it time or duration? [closed]

Taking this post: "Is there a proof of existence of time?", as a starting point. Therein was mentioned that there is confusion between: "time" and "flow of time". There was a comment (of mine) that ...
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3answers
2k 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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5answers
2k views

Is speed an intensive property?

I remember being taught in elementary physics that while it makes sense to add volumes, masses, or heat, it makes no sense to add temperatures. As I wanted to use that to illustate some other issue, ...
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3answers
951 views

What is the work done against a force?

Suppose a particle travels a path $\gamma : I\subset \mathbb{R}\to \mathbb{R}^3$ subject to a force $\mathbf{F}: \mathbb{R}^3\to T\mathbb{R}^3$, then we know that we define the work done by the force ...
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3answers
344 views

Configuration manifolds and constraints

In Classical Mechanics there's this notion of configuration manifold. Although I've heard about that a lot and although I often use that concept, I'm not sure I really understand them well because ...
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1answer
460 views

Name of battery voltage when load connected/disconnected

If I had a 3V battery, and when no load connected it reads 3.2V, and with a load 2.8V (just a hypothetical example), what is the name for these two terms, with a load or no load? I know the voltage ...
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5answers
2k views

Is 'amp' a technically invalid term?

I've been told to use the term ampere in exams and class (I'm in high school), instead of amp as it's not a valid unit, although I've been using the amp for years along with all of my friends who do ...
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2answers
369 views

Showing that Coulomb and Lorenz Gauges are indeed valid Gauge Transformations?

I'm working my way through Griffith's Introduction to Electrodynamics. In Ch. 10, gauge transformations are introduced. The author shows that, given any magnetic potential $\textbf{A}_0$ and electric ...
4
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3answers
803 views

Definition of a year

Is there an acceptable definition of a year (in number of days)? Google Calculator: https://www.google.com/search?q=seconds+in+1+year returns 3.15569e7 seconds and then ...
0
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1answer
34 views

What are “finely subdivided” substances?

As in the title, what does it mean for a substance to be finely subdivided, or finely grained? For example: It is only in the cases for which the ratio area/volume is very large (for example, a ...
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1answer
73 views

Are there more distinctive names of “null curves” with certain additional properties (absence of “chord curves”)?

In this answer (to the question "In general relativity, are light-like curves light-like geodesics?", PSE/q/76170) a particular example of a curve is discussed whose "tangent is everywhere null" and ...
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3answers
120 views

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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4answers
1k views

Is there a difference between Hertz and 'frames per second'?

It's not uncommon that the term 'frames per second' (sometimes abbreviated as fps or FPS) is associated with, or even equated to, the unit Hertz (Hz). I'm not exactly sure how these two concepts ...
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2answers
538 views

Action and Action integral: Different kinds of variational principles

What are the difference between: the action $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}(L+H) dt$ that we use in the principle of least action, and the action integral $\int_{t_{1}}^{t_{2}}L dt$ that we use in ...
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2answers
69 views

What does the term 'hyperbolic model' mean?

I am reading this non-linear discrete dynamical system paper. The authors mention the term hyperbolic model. What does that mean?
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3answers
634 views

Is a “shift in the meaning” of Accuracy and Precision occurring?

Accuracy and precision are among the most fundamental concepts in experimental physics, and, I always believed, completely unambiguous. Recently I found that the Wikipedia article on Accuracy and ...
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2answers
93 views

Changing from potential to kinetic energy

During a conversation with a friend, I began to wonder if there's is a term for the transformation of potential energy to kinetic energy, and vice versa.Is there a term for the process of converting ...
3
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4answers
98 views

Measurement in reciprocal metres

I'm trying to name a measurement that is measured in reciprocal length, which is in a draft document for vehicle risk management. It currently says: ...
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2answers
223 views

Is fission reaction considered natural or artificial? [closed]

As I learned, nuclear fission doesn't occur without the control of a human made nuclear reactor, by hitting a neutron to a fissile isotope. Thus, the fission reaction is considedred as a part of ...
1
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1answer
240 views

The meaning of “heralded photon”

I am not a native English speaker, and I have just started to study physics in English. However, I came across the term heralded photon while I was reading a review article about optical quantum ...
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0answers
47 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" ...
3
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1answer
115 views

Supersymmetry definition

Can someone outline the difference between supersymmetry and supersymmetric quantum mechanics? I often hear the two used interchangeably but I'm almost certain they are not the same.
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2answers
2k views

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 ...