# Questions tagged [definition]

The definition tag is used in situations where the question is either about how some term or concept is defined or where the validity of an answer depends on a subtle definition of some term or concept used in the question.

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### Fermat's Principle: no first-order change in time?

I was reading the chapter on Fermat's principle in the Feynman lecture series. The principle is stated along these lines: "The correct statement is the following: a ray going in a certain ...
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### What is recessional nonlocality?

In laymen’s terms, what is recessional nonlocality? I understand recessional means to recede or retract away, and (correct me if I’m wrong) I understand locality has something to do with quantum ...
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### How does flavor change in weak interaction works with $Z$ and $W^{\pm,0}$?

How does flavor change in weak interaction works with $Z$ and $W^{\pm,0}$? I'm completely confused of how could weak interaction just "approximately" conserve the flavor, but $u,d,s,c$ could be just ...
1k views

### When exactly is a dimension spatial?

I every so often hear claims like: M-Theory predicts that there are 10 spatial dimensions! Now I'm not really sure what these claims mean. There are three spatial dimensions that I normally ...
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### Is the word 'acceleration' used for both increasing and decreasing velocity? [duplicate]

the question was: "if a particle is accelerating, it is either speeding up or speeding down. do you agree with the statement ?" and this is what our teacher told us: "This statement cannot be ...
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### How could 'rest mass' and 'invariant mass' be the same?

The terms rest mass and invariant mass are often interchanged, however i cannot reconcile these concepts: Consider a photon ...
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### Is a rotating object moving or stationary?

Because it rotates in situ, its center of mass does not move, so it is static, but it is rotating, so it is not static, then is it static or moving?
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### Rigorously define degrees of freedom

I want to understand if there is truly a rigorous definition for the degrees of freedom in a system. Say all of a system's physical states are contained in some set $S$. A seemingly acceptable (and I ...
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### Mathematical formulation of the concept of temperature

We were taught the following. Consider three systems $A$, $B$ and $C$, which have exactly two independent variables each, $(X,Y)$, $(X’,Y’)$ and $(X’’,Y’’)$. Thermal equilibrium for $A$ and $B$ is ...
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### Sensitivity to initial conditions and predictability

Are there examples of chaotic systems that are predictable and at the same time sensible to initial conditions? or would that violate the notion of sensibility to initial conditions? Lets imaginge A ...
67 views

### General definition of symmetry in physics?

I've looked at a number of questions on what symmetries are in physics, such as this one, this one and this one. However, I found the questions and answers to be not completely satisfying because they ...
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### What is the most general conception/formalization of “energy”? [duplicate]

(disclaimer: I am not a physicist). I have been taught about the concept of energy in a fairly ad-hoc way. i.e. I was simply "told" that kinetic energy equals $\frac 1 2 m v^2$, and similarly I was ...
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### Is there a better definition of magnetic field than this?

It may seem a trivial question but the definition of the magnetic field in everyday books is misleading. "It is the region or area around a magnetic material in which its magnetic force can be felt." ...
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### What is irrotational flow? How to judge?

For example, when the wing moves horizontally, the direction of fluid flow changes first to upward at the leading edge of the wing and then to downward at the trailing edge. Does it rotate? If the ...
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### What is a pseudopure state?

In the paper titled "Experimental Implementation of the Quantum Baker’s Map" by Weinstein et al. (Phys. Rev. Let. 89 (2002)), the author says something like [...] the pseudopure state corresponding ...
186 views

### How can I explain what a kilogram is using Planck's constant? [duplicate]

I want to understand what 1 kg represents. For example: I know that 1 second is equal to $9\ 192\ 631\ 770$ transitions from the microwave radiation that a cesium-133 atom (at $0$K) emits, if it's ...
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### What is a Hamiltonian of a System?

What is a Hamiltonian of a System? When learning about Hamiltonian for first time it is an object introduced as Legendre Dual Transform of Lagrangian of the same system. And we learn further that it ...
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### How do I understand Kinetic energy formula? [duplicate]

$$\frac{mv^2}{2}= Kinetic Energy$$ Can you explain me? What is purpose of $v^2$, $mv^2$, I am trying to understand the formula.
36 views