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

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2answers
231 views

Second law of thermodynamics (in terms of entropy)

Is the second law of thermodynamics (in terms of entropy) for closed systems or isolated systems? I thought it must be valid for isolated systems, such as the Universe. But the book Fundamentals of ...
3
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1answer
219 views

How did neodymium magnets get their name?

Like in the question. Why neodymium magnets (Nd2Fe14B) are called "neodymium magnets"? Why not boron magnets? Or iron magnets?
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1answer
30 views

Energy method to solving equations of motion? Why does this method work and what is it called?

Given the stated system in the photo we are suppose to prove simple harmonic motion when given an initial displacement $x$ I first considered the total energy of the system which we will call $H$ ...
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1answer
1k views

What's the difference between binding energy and separation energy?

My understanding of the two was as follows: the binding energy of a nucleus is, classically speaking, the energy needed to put together/take apart that nucleus completely (i.e. a measure of the strong ...
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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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2answers
122 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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1answer
24 views

Vectors finding direction include the difference between “north of east” and “east of north”

In what direction is your friend from the starting point after skiing 3 km east and then 1.5 km north? so far I know that angle= tan-1(opp/adj)=(1.5/3.0) angle= ...
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1answer
135 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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1answer
206 views

Why is the projective symmetry group (PSG) called projective?

As discussed by Prof.Wen in the context of the quantum orders of spin liquids, PSG is defined as all the transformations that leave the mean-field ansatz invariant, IGG is the so-called invariant ...
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1answer
365 views

Brightness of light sources

I would like to know what determines the brightness of light. I'm confused, After hours of reading, I got these definitions mixed up I need to link them together: Light intensity Brightness of ...
4
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1answer
927 views

Difference between inorganic and organic semiconductors: electronic structure or configuration, or?

Organic semiconductors differ from inorganic semiconductors. In organic semiconductors the molecules are held together by weak van der Waals interactions and in inorganic semiconductors by covalent ...
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0answers
28 views

Name of the fourth entropy potential

Wikipedia's "Free Entropy" page lists three entropy potentials: Entropy, $S$, with natural variables $U$ and $V$ Massieu Potential / Helmholtz Free Entropy, $\Phi$, with natural variables $1/T$ and ...
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0answers
22 views

Why is Bohr's explanation called Bohr's model and not Bohr's theory?

I have seen an answer which tells the difference between model (specific) and a theory (general). And it makes sense 'coz Bohr explained it for the hydrogen atom only. But did he not make a set of ...
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2answers
44 views

Is standing wave realy a wave [closed]

We know that at least the waves inside a flute or laser make resonance waves,and simply we know that a standing wave is superposition of two waves that are propagating in oposit direction,for example ...
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2answers
333 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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2answers
108 views

What does naturally mean here?

We often cross the sentence "Kahler geometry emerges naturally in sugra". I have always wondered what does this mean; actually what does naturally mean in that sentence?
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0answers
50 views

What is a Witten diagram?

Recently I heard the terminology of Witten diagram. Studying QFT, I frequently see Feynman diagrams and use them to compute scattering amplitudes, one-loop corrections and so on. In string theory ...
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1answer
61 views

How is father of physics appointed? [closed]

I've tried Google, but couldn't figured out exactly whether its Newton, Einstein or Galileo. What is the criteria for appointment of father for a particular subject?
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5answers
536 views

A reference frame is any coordinate system or just a set of Cartesian axes?

In Physics the idea of a reference frame is one important idea. In many texts I've seem, a reference frame is not defined explicitly, but rather there seems to be one implicit definition that a ...
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0answers
49 views

Why are there a billion “Master equations”? [closed]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_equation The article describes pretty well how many there are and what kind of equations are called "Master equations". Does anyone know where the term ...
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1answer
112 views

What does $L^2(S^1,\mu_H)$ mean?

It's a Hilbert space, $\mu_H$ stands for the Haar measure on $U(1)$, but what does $S^1$ mean? I found it in one of my quantum mechanics books which approaches from a very 'mathematical' way.
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1answer
29 views

How do we call in English scientific terms the Fermat's principle about back and forth light traversal?

We know that the path followed by the light from point A to point B is independent of the direction of propagation of light. This is what is called in French "le principe de retour inverse de la ...
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4answers
53 views

Same equation, different meanings

I went into a physics classroom today and saw this equation written on the board: $$ E = \frac \sigma \epsilon $$ At first I thought it referred to the electric field $ E $ between 2 parallel plates ...
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4answers
477 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 ...
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1answer
85 views

What does “sites” mean in the lattice language?

I acknowledge that this question is quite trivial. But in the lattice jargon, what does a $N$-sites lattice mean? it's a lattice $N\times N$ or it's a lattice with $N$ vertices? another option ...
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4answers
66 views

What is meant by an excited atom?

I want to know how an atom is when it is excited. If an atom, due to collision of another fast moving atom, becomes fast moving as well, is that also an "excited state"?
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12answers
75k views

What is the difference between “kinematics” and “dynamics”?

I have noticed that authors in the literature sometimes divide characteristics of some phenomenon into "kinematics" and "dynamics". I first encountered this in Jackson's E&M book, where, in ...
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0answers
90 views

Which scientist is this?

Okay so I was watching discovery channel, in that i saw a man cleaning live electric wires of 10k volts in the air, he was not touching the ground. They said he was able to do this because of the ...
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1answer
42 views

Doesn't linear motion include curvilinear and rectilinear motion?

From some Portuguese language textbooks, I learned the following definitions: linear motion (movimento linear): motion along a line; rectilinear motion (movimento retilíneo): motion along a straight ...
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0answers
39 views

Terminology - optical (visual) properties of a structure

I am trying to understand few terminological problems that I encounter. Without knowing keywords it is hard to perform search for literature or publications in the area. The area relates to the ...
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2answers
336 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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3answers
53 views

What is the difference between accelerating and boosting?

My professor claimed in class that there was a difference between an acceleration and a boost. I don't really understand the distinction. If you want to go to a different inertial frame of reference, ...
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3answers
291 views

Is net work and total work same?

According to my text book Total Work = Delta Kinetic Energy = KEf - KEi But then work is defined to be dot product of Force (vector) and Displacement (vector). Also to my knowledge work is ...
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0answers
39 views

What is $\mathrm{U(1)}$ vector and axial?

In hadron physics we talked about $\mathrm{U(1)_V}$ (vector) and $\mathrm{U(1)_A}$ (axial) as well as $\mathrm{SU(3)_L}$ (left) and $\mathrm{SU(3)_R}$ (right). There are certain relations between them ...
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1answer
20 views

Prompt gamma emission vs gamma decay

I understand prompt gamma emission to mean gamma emission in a time period shorter than a second. I understand gamma decay to be the relaxion of a nucleus into a lower energy level by emission of a ...
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1answer
129 views

Repeated index in covariant derivative using abstract index notation

The same index showing up twice in the charge conservation law $\nabla_a j^a = 0$, as stated using abstract index notation, highly confuses me. If we chose a coordinate basis ...
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1answer
181 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
119 views

The Einstein-Cartan equation as the “living heart of gravity”?

I recently read in A Journey into Gravity by Wheeler that "The Einstein-Cartan equation gives us the most vivid image that mankind has ever won of the living heart of gravity" (P.118) ...
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4answers
35 views

What is the distinction between a “ray” and a “wave” in optics?

What is the distinction between a ray and a wave in optics? From what I can gather, the only discernible difference is in nomenclature, where a ray simply refers to an EM wave with short wavelengths. ...
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2answers
48 views

Distinguishing real forces and fictitious/pseudo forces in Newtonian mechanics

In understanding the law of inertia I had to consider the motion of bodies screened from the so called "real forces". What characterises these real forces? What makes us call them real? Or what is ...
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1answer
386 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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3answers
62 views

What does “fidelity” mean?

In particular I am interested in whether it is more closely related to "precision" or "accuracy". So a somewhat mathematical description might be appropriate. For example the word "fidelity" occurs ...
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0answers
26 views

Physical intuition on bivector in fluid dynamics

Reading the M. S. Howe's Theory of Vortex Sound I've ran into this exoression and equation: Let $v_A$ denote the fluid velocity at a point A at $x$. The velocity $v_B$ at a neighbouring point B at ...
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3answers
608 views

Should the term Watt's Law be used for $P = IV$?

I'm revising some electrical curriculum for a technical training program. In the curriculum students have to calculate values using Ohm's law and the equation $$\text{Power = Current * Voltage}$$ ...
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0answers
30 views

Names for various color indices in QCD

In Quantum Chromodynamics with $\mathrm{SU}(3)$ there are at least two types of color indices: Indices $a$, $b$, … that index the eight generators of the group $\mathrm{SU}(3)$. In some sense they ...
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2answers
92 views

What is polytropic index?

What is polytropic index? What is the connection between it and work of an adiabatic system? I tried surfing but didn't able to find a proper answer for that.
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1answer
47 views

Difference between escape velocity and speed [duplicate]

What is the difference between escape velocity and escape speed , is their any error if we use them interchangeably?
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5answers
2k views

What is a state in physics?

What is a state in physics? While reading physics, I have heard many a times a "___" system is in "____" state but the definition of a state was never provided (and googling brings me totally ...
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1answer
61 views

What is difference between polarization and polarizability and how do we define it? [closed]

The book of physics that I have, uses the word "polarization" sometimes and sometimes uses the term "polarizability" and I am getting confused. And I even checked the dictionary for the term ...
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5answers
2k views

Difference between circular motion and rotational motion

Are rotational motion and circular motion different or the same? If different then when can we say that a body is in circular motion, and when it's in rotational motion? I find several answers where ...