Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

30

Which year? The sidereal year? The tropical year? The anomalistic year? The calendar year (and whose calendar)? The sidereal year is the average amount of time it takes the Earth to make one complete orbit about the Sun with respect to the fixed stars. The tropical year is the amount of average amount of time between successive spring equinoxes. The ...


17

The definition of a wave is not that it is the oscillation of a medium. Waves are called waves because they are solutions to a wave equation, which is, for a generic "excitation" $A(t,x)$ depending on the time $t$ and some spatial coordinate $x\in\mathbb{R}^n$, of the general form $$ \frac{\partial^2 A}{\partial t^2} = c^2\Delta A$$ where $\Delta$ is the ...


15

A fermion is any particle, elementary or composite, that obeys Fermi-Dirac (as opposed to Bose-Einstein) statistics relating to how identical particles behave when you swap two of them. Due to an important but complicated result, this is taken to amount to having half-integer spin. A lepton is one type of elementary particle with spin 1/2. The only leptons ...


13

What is “special” and what is “general” in Relativity? The "special" in special relativity refers to the fact that it is not a universal theory. Predictions made by special relativity only apply under certain special circumstances. Those special circumstances are where gravitation is not present or can essentially be ignored. Initially I thought in ...


13

If I saw the word "amp" written as such in a paper in my field (astrophysics) it would strike me as a bit informal. I would expect to see the full "ampere" written. That said, it is rare to actually write out the full name of a unit; usually it follows a number and is given its standard abbreviation. When abbreviated to e.g. "$5\ \mathrm{A}$", I would ...


12

First, you have system with some energy, named $U$ by physicists. You think you have all the information you need to characterize the system but then some guy comes near and says: "Whoa, that's bad, the volume of your system can change." You say: "No problem, we just add here $pV$. Our new energy is $H=U+pV$." "But hey," they say, "your temperature can ...


11

SR: Flat Space-time (Minkowski metric), no gravity, Lorentz coordinates transformations (usually $\Lambda \in SO^+(3,1)$, the proper orthochronous Lorentz group). Acceleration is allowed, but you usually want to work with inertial frames. GR: Curved Space-time (non trivial and dynamic metric tensor), theory of gravitation, generic coordinates ...


11

Technically, apparently, your teacher is correct. BIPM and NIST In the official brochure from the Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM, the keepers of SI units) in §5.1 Unit symbols we find: It is not permissible to use abbreviations for unit symbols or unit names, such as sec (for either s or second), sq. mm (for either mm2 or ...


11

A particle is said to be on-shell if it satisfies the relativistic dispersion relation, $$E^2 = p^2 +m^2$$ in units wherein $c=\hbar=1$. If you graph it, you obtain a parabolic surface for massive particles, and a cone for massless particles, like a photon. This is known as the mass shell, it is quite literally a shell or surface. The momentum of a real ...


10

In addition to the other answers, back in the olden days they were thought of as oscillations in the ether. As a result of the Michelson-Morley experiment back in 1887, physicists began to think that there was no ether. But the term didn't change.


9

Short answer: Gibbs free energy $G = U + PV - TS$ combines internal energy $U$, pressure $P$, volume $V$, temperature $T$, and entropy $S$ into a single quantity that measures spontaneity. With that, I mean that processes that lower the Gibbs free energy of your system will spontaneously occur, and equilibrium is reached when the Gibbs free energy reaches ...


9

A fermion is any particle characterized by Fermi–Dirac statistics and obeying the Pauli exclusion principle. So for example quarks are fermions, as are Helium-3 atoms. A fermion does not have to be an elementary particle. I'm not even sure that it has to be spin $\tfrac{1}{2}$, though I can't think of any fermions that aren't. A lepton is a spin ...


9

The "shift in the meaning" refers to some attempts to reinterpret the terminology that were made by a metrological document, ISO 5725, in 2008. That may be described as a bureaucratic effort by a few officials – really bureaucrats of a sort – and as far as I know, the "shift in the meaning" hasn't penetrated to the community of professionals. The people ...


9

I say "ee-vee per see-squared" or "ee-vee over see-squared." If it's convenient to assume $c=1$, I'll say "ee-vee" or "electron volts." I can't remember ever having said "electron volts over see-squared." For MeV and GeV I'll say "em ee vee" or "gee ee vee." I know people who say "mev" or "jev", to rhyme with the first syllable of "Beverley", but in ...


9

The Big Bang was originally defined as the zero time limit of the FLRW metric, so it's a mathematical construct and not primarily something physical. We have chosen to apply it to the zero time limit of the universe because we thought the FLRW metric was a good description of the universe, but then inflation gatecrashed the party and spoiled the fun. So if ...


9

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? This is a somewhat common misconception of the meaning of the term "clearing the neighborhood". None of the planets could be called "planets" if clearing ALL objects from the vicinity of the orbit was what that term meant. ...


9

Below follows a handful of excerpts from the book Introduction to the Classical Theory of Particles and Fields (2007) by B. Kosyakov. Controversial/misleading/wrong statements are marked in $\color{Red}{\rm red}$. We agree with OP that the statements marked in $\color{Red}{\rm red}$ are opposite standard terminology/conventions. Some (not all) correct ...


8

Neptune actually is the dominant gravitational force in the region of the Kuiper belt in which Pluto resides. In fact, if you look at the image below, the belt is being cleared out by Neptune: In fact, there is a class of objects, suitably named the plutinos, that have been captured by Neptune. Solar system models have actually shown that Neptune was ...


8

Special relativity is physics in a $3+1$ dimensional Lorentzian spacetime, with the additional requirement that the spacetime is flat, which determines spacetime completely. General relativity is physics in a $3+1$ dimensional Lorentzian spacetime, with no additional geometric requirement. An equation for the metric is required to determine the spacetime, ...


8

OK I don't understand anything.when I placed my mobile phone on the ground, its accelerometer shows nine point something m/s^2. So is that the value of its acceleration? That is the value of the phone's proper acceleration. From the Wikipedia article "Proper acceleration": proper acceleration is the physical acceleration (i.e., measurable ...


7

what does memorylessness mean? Essentially, it means that the length of a rod and the rate of a clock depend on their current state only. The alternative would require that, e.g., two otherwise identical clocks at rest with respect to each other may run at different rates if their histories differed.


7

Such an ordering arises from the fact that they are arranged chronologically, i.e., according to the dates they were "discovered". The principle quantum number $n$ entered the picture with Bohr's theory of the Hydrogen atom in 1913.Bohr introduced $n$ in his quantization of angular momentum postulate where $n$ is the allowed orbit. Mathematically, $L = ...


6

A 'moment' is quite a general term, and its use ranges from electrostatics (e.g. dipole and other multipole moments) to mechanics (moment of force but also moment of inertia) to huge stretches of statistics. The general intuition is that you have some amount of 'stuff' (charge, force, mass, probability) with some distribution function $s(x)$, and the various ...


6

The term 'equation of motion' is somewhat subjective as it depends on the context, but for any given context there is usually one single equation, or set of equations, which can be described as an equation of motion. These are typically differential equations in time, usually of second order, and for simple objects in Newtonian mechanics they do not involve ...


6

The more common names for what you are talking about are the abbreviated action $$S_0[q] := \int p \mathrm{d}q$$ versus the action $$ S[q] := \int_{t_1}^{t_2}L(q,\dot q,t)\mathrm{d}t$$ Both are used in different formulations of classical mechanics, and deliver a different "flavor" of solutions. On both one can do variations calculus and obtains the ...


6

Microscopically, i.e. in the quantum theory the scattering with radiation is a collision of particles with photons such as $$ e^- + \gamma \to e^- + \gamma$$ The momentum vectors of the particles above are $$ \vec p_1+\vec p_2= \vec p_3 + \vec p_4$$ where the identity holds due to momentum conservation. But in general $\vec p_1\neq \vec p_3$ and $\vec ...


6

Annihilation is the word you must be looking for. When a low-energy electron annihilates a low-energy positron (antielectron), two or more $\gamma$-ray photons are produced, the process is called annihilation$_1$. If a $\gamma$-ray photon materializes into an electron and positron pair, the process is called pair-production.$_2$ Probably you must have got ...


6

Energy is conserved; energy is neither created or destroyed, but, rather, converted from one form to another. Matter (invariant mass) is, on the modern view, simply one of many forms of energy. Matter isn't converted into energy; matter can be converted to another form of energy and, another form of energy can be converted into matter.


6

$mr^2\dot\theta$ is the angular momentum, which is conserved. The quantity $r^2\dot\theta$ is conserved if $m$ is independent of time, but it doesn't have a name that I know of.


6

In the sense of "Copenhagen Interpretation", what exactly is an interpretation? What purpose does an interpretation serve? I would describe interpretations of quantum mechanics as part of the philosophy of physics. Here is a well-known quote by Bertrand Russell: "As soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible